Among Rural U.S. Counties, Those With Recreation-Dependent Economies Had Most Options Per Capita for Dining Out in 2019

August 25, 2023 Anne Byrne, USDA ERS

Rural U.S. counties differ from urban counties in marked ways, but they also can be distinguished from one another. For example, rural counties have different leading industries, such as farming, mining, or recreation. The availability of restaurants and other food-away-from-home (FAFH) outlets varies across rural counties, and those that depend on natural amenities, tourism, and recreation generally had more options for dining out leading up to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

New Analysis Approach Illuminates Differences in Food Spending Across U.S. Populations

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affected the way U.S. consumers acquired food. Early stay-at-home orders limited access to foodservice venues, or food away from home (FAFH), which had been a significant source of food for U.S. consumers. Households shifted their spending from FAFH to food at home (FAH) by shopping at grocery stores or other retailers such as mass merchandisers, discount retailers, and liquor stores.

U.S. Fruit and Vegetable Industries Try To Cope With Rising Labor Costs

To produce fruits and vegetables in the United States, a human touch is required to sort, pot, and plant seedlings, train young plants and prune older ones, and harvest and pack the crops for shipping. That means hired labor is a critical component of the fruit and vegetable sectors. Labor’s share of the cost of production can run as high as 38 percent for fruit and tree nut farms and 29 percent for vegetables and melons.

A Disaggregated View of Market Concentration in the Food Retail Industry

The food retail sector has experienced substantial consolidation and structural change over the last three decades.

USDA ERS Food Expenditure Series

December 27, 2022 USDA ERS

The Food Expenditure Series is a valuable tool for government agencies, academics, and private sector stakeholders to assess and track developments in consumer food purchasing behaviors and the food supply.