What A Week Of Groceries Looks Like Around The World

What A Week Of Groceries Looks Like Around The World

It seems as a people, we have a fascination with photographing our food. From Henry's series of riders, to looking on instagram we cant help but document what we consume. Photographer Peter Menzel started this intriguing series of one weeks of groceries from around the world, taking traditional food photography to a much larger scale. In his book Hungry Planet, Peter explores both the cultural differences of diets around the world as well investigating how prosperity and poverty influence the diets of different nations.

hungry planet food around the world

Here is the book description of Menzel's amazing project:

The age-old practice of sitting down to a family meal is undergoing unprecedented change as rising world affluence and trade, along with the spread of global food conglomerates, transform eating habits worldwide. HUNGRY PLANET profiles 30 families from around the world--including Bosnia, Chad, Egypt, Greenland, Japan, the United States, and France--and offers detailed descriptions of weekly food purchases; photographs of the families at home, at market, and in their communities; and a portrait of each family surrounded by a week's worth of groceries. Featuring photo-essays on international street food, meat markets, fast food, and cookery, this captivating chronicle offers a riveting look at what the world really eats.

what people eat around the world

Great Britain

View the entire series Here in Menzel's Book Hungry Planet.

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Previous comments

Actually your the only one being racist and classicist it goes both ways bud. How is John being racist by saying trashy people eat trashy foods. Race has nothing to do with it whatsoever, unless you're trying to suggest that how that American family eats is how all black people eat in America. Your response shows the whole world the way you think, and speak volumes about your character.

These days anyone who thriws around an accusation of racism is almost guaranteed to be full of horse dung.

Thanks, although you completely ignored the photographer's request to comply with his Terms of Use for these images.

This was a very popular series of images. I think even Buzz Feed of all places did a spin off article on it. That's probably where you saw it. http://optimizedude.com/photography-wordpress-themes/

Todd Douglas's picture

I haven't seen it before but it's a really interested photo project idea that makes you stop and compare between the countries. And yes, Chad is a tough one to view...

Why? They've eaten like that fir milleniae. Actually, they're eating FAR better now than they've eaten for milleniae. Your racist, condescending attitude is boring.

The photo from Chad is a bit of a reality check for sure.

The "food" from Usa is a reality check.

agreed 100%, studies show people with less varied diets have increased longevity too...

i have studies that say the opposite and also what exactly are you talking about with less varied diet. Do you think an African with just those grains lives longer than us? Which planet are you on?

I think an African with on-demand clean water, hospitals, a GP, free medicine, condoms, anti mosquito nets, education and "just those grains" might well live longer than a fat, "well" fed American.

It has been proven that if you eat a less varied diet your overall health is better. Obviously these studies take into account a balanced diet and are not taking into account other factors like the poverty level of some of these families, or access to clean drinking water and health care.

Tami Baker's picture

No need to be rude, Luke.

I could be wrong, but im pretty sure those studies are for more simple diets. Like eating fruit, veggies, grains, meats. Leaving out all of the other items we can't read. If you only ate rice all your life, you would die. There has to be some kind of balance. Some spices are very good for you. I agree that the photo from Chad is hard to look at, I'm sure it isn't there choice to eat so little and with so little to choose from. But at the same time I was amazed at how much that family eats fast food in just a week in the USA! These pictures are fun to look at, but they do not represent every household in each of the countries.

Give me a break. He picked a junk food family from the USA. We could do that in other countries, too. Most of the people I knew, grew up with, or had as neighbors did not eat all that junk food. Most had lots of fruit and veggies.

Yeah seriously.... they eat a lot of garbage... depressing to see the lack of vegtables and fruit...

SuzyQ, I truly think that they hit the nail on the head with the family from the United States. Reasearch show the US as the largest consumer of GMO's, prepackaged foods and junk food. The United States has the largest percentage of obese people by a huge marker from the nest highest. I would have loved to have grown up where you did. I am a health nut and my family eats very healthy. On the other hand my family, mother, father, brother, brothers now imediate family, friends and other realitives eat exactly like the people represented in this photo. We are a military family and relocate often. The majority (not all) eat as the family does in this photo. I think that you and I and a low percentage of people here in the US eat healthy. Makes me sad. Hoping for a healthier future for our country and the ban of GMO's.

I have to admit, I was completely shocked by the American family! Is this actually normal? My three sisters and I was not raised this way and I did not raise my child this way either. I too am a Military spouse, and first thing I do is find a good farmers market in the area. The American family photographed, from what I could see, only had grapes, a couple of tomatoes, and I think I found a few potatoes. I didn't see any grains and only canned veggies (I hope some of those cans were veggies). Very sad. So much junk food, chips, pizza, McDonald's...every week? And, Really, what is the point of Diet Coke, that I will never understand, you can't "diet" with Coke. Wow!

On the other hand several of the other countries had a lot of carbonated drinks in the background. While places like Mexico, India, Poland, Kuwait, especially Turkey, had a lot of fruits and vegetables. I'd have to say Turkey and Kuwait looked more well balanced to me, meats/proteins, fish, grains, fruits, vegetables. That looks more like what I would buy and love to eat!

In Turkey they eat vegetables but mostly wheat and dairy with lots of olive oil, an amazingly high amount.

I spent about two years living in Mexico, and I drank a lot less water than I usually hope to. Even in Mexico, the general population consumes more soda or fruit drinks than most Americans because of the water quality issue - sugary drinks actually cost a little less than bottled water does - however they also make most of their drinks with REAL sugar, not all the other crap in American soda.

Well, that makes the US economy and the uncle doctor happy. A lot of money wasted for Coca Cola, Mc Donalds and other crap food and millions of ill people. And this is just the beginning. With that GMO´s and all that other crap junk food, the doctors in the US will be rich as hell in the future. It is the American Dream - riches getting richer and pure people believe in all the advertises - that coca cola and mc donalds are healthy...

Believe it or not, the less you eat the more healthy you are. For me, Japan is the winner here. Germany looks healthy too, unfortunately we here in germany have the problem with US GMO´s too. If you dont watch out, you get poisoned by Monsanto and Co.

Just because some Americans eat healthy, doesn't mean that we all do. I would imagine they loosely tied the photos to some sort of national statistics. Statistically speaking, we clearly do eat a lot of junk food as a nation. Half of us are literally struggling with a disease due to eating too much crap food. Even if a family in the photo wouldn't actually eat like that, and I know families of every race that do, it still is a representation of what we consume as a nation.

Kuwait has a higher obesity rate than the United States. Don't believe me? Look it up.

Grains are not healthy, FYI.

You are very right. Next time you go to the market.... esp a big box budget mkt like Food For Less or Costco etc.... and check out what is in the basket of most shoppers.... processed crap!!!

Actually, there is a general misconception that USA is the most obese country by a long shot. A few months ago, Mexico became the most obese country in the world (at a rate of 32.8 compared to the US of 31.8) with many other post-industrialized nations at or just below 30%. This of course varies depending on the methods of the particular epidemiologic study. Without a doubt America is considerably "fat" but so is the rest of western civilization.

But therein lies the issues at hand - are the above pictures truly that representative? I would say no. But for the following reasons:
1) the USA "on average" (I use the term loosely) probably isn't that bad
2) post-industrial nations such as Canada, GB, and so on are probably worse
3) Nations such as Canada are so ethnically diverse can you really qualify a true average?

Food for thought....

Pun intended

I'm Canadian and the only time I see obese people is when American tourists come around during summer time. Also, what the hell does ethnic diversity have to do with obesity rates?

You are so full of it! My extended family is from Canada and they are just as fat as anyone. Gee I wonder how all those fast food places stay in business in Canada if no one eats it. Poutine is enough to kill ya!

Well, Chris while I do not deny your observations a few points should be made.

First, I can make no assumption about where you live in canada epidemiological studies find that the rate of obesity ranges from 22% to 32% depending on the particular provence. The estimated rate of obesity is now 25% in Canada. This is 1/4 compared to the US which is 1/3

Next, with the above data it would be quite difficult to state that you never see obese people in Canada as 1/4 Canadians are considered obese.

Next, your claim that you only see obese people when American's visit during the summer time. This is a flawed argument for the following reasons.

1) While I am sure it is mostly American's who visit, they are not they only ones who visit.

2) There may be observation bias, i.e. as you know American's are around you notice more obesity

3) Even if you have observed several obese Americans that cannot be used as causality to make assertions. Does socioeconomic factors that effect obesity also effect vacation and travel behaviors? Probably - that's a major confounder.

Finally, making simple and rather mundane observations from a single viewpoint is not consider scientific nor a rational argument especially compared to concrete epidemiological data.

As to my comment about ethnic diversity. Background: Nearly 20% of Canadians are Foreign Born, an additional 18% are first generation Canadians. That majority of which include people from China, India, and a large hodge-podge of people from all over the Middle East, South East Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe

Now I will reiterate my point from the original post since you have regretfully missed it. How can some of these picture be truly representative of a nation's food habits if that nation has a nation full of cultural and ethnic diversity? Canada, as my example, is so diverse and rich in cultural heritage that I would not dare homogenized its food behaviors.

As you will note my comment has nothing to do with obesity and as you will note my comment about ethnic diversity falls under the concerns about the pictures not as a new topic.


Thanks mate for a rational and scientific response. Your comments are a pleasure to read amongst, well, nearly everything else here. I appreciate it!

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