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.

[Via Time]

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Simon's picture

Pretty obvious why the US is at the top of the list for depression, obesity, and heart disease. Start eating real food people!!

Kyle Hale's picture

The people in the US photo look pretty healthy to me.

Simon's picture

Looks can be deceiving.

Kyle Hale's picture

So I assume you believe every family in this picture is unhealthy?

Simon's picture

If what is on their table is actually their weekly diet, then yes, I think they are likely unhealthy.

Raymond Larose's picture

I love the differences and the art of the photos. I especially admire the diet in Mongolia. The US diet is just pathetic - and it sadly looks like my shopping cart some weeks - though I am trying to do better with it (aspire to have my cart more like the Mongols.)

John Tan's picture

You will be interested to know that Mongolia has the same rate of coronary heart disease deaths as the US, and six times the rate of stroke deaths than the US.

Susan Petrone's picture

Also look at the quantity of food relative to the number of people in the family/household. Ecuador, Bhutan, and Mali in particular would come out to very small portions per person. If the photo from Chad doesn't make you feel terrible enough, consider that the average U.S. household probably throws out as much food in one week as the family in Chad has.

Diana's picture

It seems like every country but the US has an ample intake of fresh fruits and veggies. We consume far too many processed foods and junk.

Jason Cuba's picture

clearly the kids in Germany were dis-pleased with this photo project.

Clay awesome man's picture

how old are u?

Julia's picture

How old are you, Clay awesome man? That's a pretty distinguished title you've given yourself, I'm guessing 12.

Clay awesome man's picture

i am 12

Deedee's picture

I am an American and do not eat 90% of what the USA picture depicts.

Unfortunately all the sugar and chemical filled foods are much less expensive, it is the lower income families that eat that way. It costs as much for a bag of string beans as it does for a large frozen pizza that would feed 2-4 people. America makes it cheap and easy to eat the worst food out there. God forbid you don't have a garden in the back of your house and have to buy "organic" foods...if you want chemical free anything or pesticide free anything it costs 3 times as much. It is terribly frustrating and completely backwards.

From the pictures, I would rather live in Guatemala or France.

And seriously, the world needs to get it together and help those people in Chad.

Antonio Carrasco's picture

It's another "person surrounded by items" photo project! Yay, how original!

Julia's picture

Yeah! Hey look! Another snotty comment from someone who thinks they're superior to someone who did something interesting and of merit! Yay, how original!

lacrossestar83's picture

"could of"

laura c's picture

A week? Almost every picture showed enough food to feed my family for a month! And some had enough soda to last us a year!!

Brandon Rooney's picture

One common theme: so much plastic packaging. No wonder the oceans are ruined...

KunsanJuiceySlayer's picture

Or just peoples laziness to recycle.

Katie Geary's picture

What other ways can we use to package these foods though?

Clay awesome man's picture


Clay awesome man's picture

i think that its sad in chad how little food they have.

Bellz Webster's picture

Thanks for this. Butan, Ecuador and Turkey look like they live on mostly fruits and vegetables. Guatemala looks like they too have a lot of fruit and vegetables in their diets and looks the best.
The people in Chad are the worst off and Mali don't appear to have much either.

Jason Kucherawy's picture

I'm glad they included the milk in a bag in the Canadian photo!

Debbie Dean's picture

Wish I could be as happy as the folks in Ecuador!

Madeline Nutting's picture

Blargh. I eat nothing even close to what the week of groceries in the US looks like.

Julia's picture

Sorry Madeline, we can't all enjoy life at the top, can we?

Karl Wilder's picture

Disturbing the amount of crap eaten in the American home.

Hawaii Portrait Photographer's picture

that's a lot of food!

SC's picture

we live in the US, but our groceries look much more like Canada's. I don't know anyone who would buy the quantity of junk food that the American family is portrayed as having. I do especially like the look of the Turkish and Indian family's groceries though; looks delish! :-)

Megan Branson's picture

my ex-roommate would - for herself, her 3-year old daughter, her live-in boyfriend, & the guy she was renting the couch to - using mostly food stamps. and halfway through the month it would all be gone & she would be trying to borrow money from us for cigarettes. i swear, a "normal" dinner for her daughter was hot dogs & cheetos. we were buying her daughter apples, which she loved, until the boyfriend said she couldn't have them any more as punishment for something. if you are middle class, don't think for a second that what you & your friends eat is average in any way. there is also a big difference depending on where you live in the us - what is normal in the West & Northeast is not normal for the Midwestern & Southern US. When my husband & I visit his family in OK, they eat maybe a can of boiled corn or green beans for dinner & that is it for fruits & vegetables for that day. As far as I'm concerned, if you take some vegetables & first can them & then boil them again to reheat, you might as well not bother for all you're going to get out of it. and when my husband's nieces & nephews get home from school & want a snack, they get a pre-packaged brownie or a bowl of ice cream. and pretty much everyone they know eats like this regularly. sure, i have plenty of friends who don't buy junk or other pre-packaged foods, have big vegetable gardens, & eat what i would consider a healthy diet, but I have moved around enough & have a large & eclectic enough circle of family, friends, & acquaintances to know this is not the norm for Americans in the US. Sorry SC, most of this rant is not directed at you - i have just been scrolling through & seeing a lot of comments where people don't think the average American diet is that bad because they, personally, don't eat like the family in the photo & neither do their friends & I would say that they are pretty sheltered if they think they represent a majority. people who eat a little bit healthier than the average American are probably more likely to be reading this article in the first place, & more likely to be interested in, & comment on this subject than people who don't care or can't afford to pay attention to what they put in their bodies

Kt's picture

retarded project. N=1 per country makes this somehow representative? Please.

that's for sure the American diet

Kt's picture

So this is the only American diet? That's why n=1 here. You compare diets of those in Palo Alto or Seattle vs. Mobile, AB and you will see stark differences. And as an Indian, I know first hand that unless you live on a farm in India, your diet is composed of thick, greasy foods usually loaded with carbs (prathas w/ potatos inside are a staple lunch food); the picture is not at all representative of India.

Kay's picture

Firstly, it's groceries, not prepared dishes, and secondly, not every Indian is Punjabi. Obviously no single picture will be representative of 1.5 billion people from a country with vastly diverse climates, cultures, and religions, and it doesn't have to represent your community. But that is the food a vegetarian, upper middle-class urban Indian family would eat. (Shockingly, yes, we do get produce in the city and not just "on farms".)

Maria Deliyannides Aguilera's picture

I like Chad, Ecuador, Guatemala, Bhutan, Mali, Mongolia, this is how we should all be eating for our health and the health of planet earth and all living things............notice the lack of processed and packaged foods!

Kyle Hale's picture

...Really? We should all be surviving on small bags of grains and be incredibly thin? Are you a model?

I'm not sure the people in Chad even have the OPTION of packaged foods, so it's not like they've made some noble choice regarding their diet. It's all they have.

The Chad example doesn't look bad at all... I'm not sure what everyone is so worked up about. I buy grains in bulk and what I see is plenty to feed them for a week. I'm seeing about 30lbs. of grains and legumes and a decent variety of produce, though I would prefer a larger quantity of each veggie/fruit. But still, not anywhere near hungry/starvation level, that's for sure.

Julia's picture

Grains and legumes are deficient in a lot of necessary vitamins and minerals. That is not a balanced diet.

disqus_JNYIpM2fXD's picture

I don't think it is a very accurate representation - you need to get the same social class as subjects. My husband is from Ecuador and we go there for a month every year and we eat more than that (middle class), with an animal based protein at least 2x a day. The family photographed was an indigenous family - not wholly representative of the entire country. I presume the same is true for some of the other countries photographed.

Catalina Kanter's picture

The one from Chad is definitely an eye- opener, and that's what she has to feed all of her growing children...

erica walters's picture

the photo series itself is cool. but you are not serious with "could of" been done, right? writing fail.

Truthsayer's picture

That may be what the average BLACK family in the USA eats in a week, but I don't eat that much of that kind of crap in a YEAR.

Stomy Weather's picture

Why does race have to come into it? Honestly, they were showing a "typical" family. And a black family that appears to be middle class can be considered typical. Good grief.

Christine Knight-Cunningham's picture

Very interesting. Thanks

Shirley Burke's picture

The people with the least seem to be the happiest! What is wrong with the people in Germany?

Julia's picture

Maybe it's because they're so bad in bed.

Jazhara7's picture

The German family is smiling (except for the teenager). We Germans tend to have rather subtle smiles. Some Germans even smile mostly with their eyes. The little kid seems to be in the stage where the little kid smile slowly progresses to the more subtle adult smile.

Victoria Rodriguez's picture

Why do these stories ALWAYS show USA as the only country that eats fast food? There are fast food and other restaurants in other countries, why is this not shown? Guess another attempt at making Americans out to be fat, spoiled etc. Funny thing is there is more diversity in the USA than about any where else; is this lame article not mentioning all the healthy eating immigrants in the USA? Or is it just the Born in USA folks that are pigs?

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