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.

[Via Time]

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I care's picture

some of them consist of way o much soft drinks and junk food. Better off teaching kids better habits when it comes to food choices

Carmel Dunham's picture

USA is horrible!!! Pics from Mongolia on down I would eat!!!

Elona Revers's picture

There is probably more actual nutrition in the Chad meals than the US meals. It looks like dried legumes, etc mostly. US white flour, sugar and salt.

Joe's picture

It looks like, the lower the income the more nutritious the food is

Demetris Christodoulides's picture

When was this taken? i doubt people in Western countries still buy this load.

Jeff Fisher's picture

I live in america PA to be exact and we dont eat even close to that amount in the American photo in a week holy crap.

Kristian Theresa Vario's picture

The picture of America makes me ashamed of my country. My weekly food intake would NOT look anything like that...of course I am only one person but i try to eat as little processed food as possible..In my pic there would be lots of rice,quinoa, chia, lentils, beens, lots of greens (kale spinach bok choy), celery tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, apples bananas, pears, lots of Skyr (icelandic yogurt), goat cheese, cheddar cheese, jams, hummus (oh the hummus there would be!) frozen fruits for smoothies, juice for smoothies,organic canned soups, salsa, quacamole, water, coconut water, Reisling wine, and non gmo corn tortillas and maybe a gluten free frozen pizza...NO MEAT,NO SODA (havent had soda in well over 10 years), no processed cookies crackers, chips, sugary drinks, artificially flavored crap, anything like that......my gluten intolerance forces me to not buy processed foods.....
also can I just say that I love the fact that Germany has a section just for beer.....HAHHA....
Also I would have loved to see what Icelands week of groceries would look like.......
obviously noones perfect and sadly working class and poor families are often forced to shop at price rite and walmart and buy prepackaged processed crap to fill them up, while the more wealthy can spend 400 dollars at whole foods......I am able to feed myself better because i have no kids....if i did there might be more processed junk in there.....

Tammy H's picture

I normally don't respond to comments or articles, etc. as I feel it's all about drama, etc. But I am actually annoyed with this. I don't even understand what the underlying "article" is about?! But from what I gathered, it's to insinuate that Americans are pigs and eat like crap. And I'm really getting sick of comments about how Americans are rude, uneducated, etc that I keep seeing all the time on different articles because it seems to me that every chance anyone has to jump on the band wagon of bashing Americans, they are all over it. To me, I find the photos interesting just for the simple fact of learning what other cultures eat, etc. I didn't look at the pictures to see how bad, stupid or fat Americans are. Anyway, here are some responses to some of the comments made here: Why do people immediately go to bashing the American family and so far, no one has made one comment about how much Cola the Mexican family consumes?! The "neon green" stuff appears to be 7 UP, not Gatorade, FYI. Also to get a TRUE comparison wouldn't you need to have families that consist of the same make up? Meaning the American family has two teenage boys and personally, I have a teenage son, so I know how much food they eat just for themselves AND how much of that is unhealthy, etc.....little kids are going to eat a lot less and have less choice made available to them, so therefore, they would by default, eat healthier! Also, just something that I noticed - the American family pictured seems to be a fairly healthy weight, unlike some of the other families picture, some of which shows a healthier selection of food for their picture?! Just an observation. PS since it seems to matter to all the commentators, I am an American and I am white, so if that makes my comment any less credible, there you have it.

Toad's picture

Maybe it's just me, but a lot of these look wildly exaggerated for families of these sizes...

Jikkisan's picture

I honestly didn't know they ate cats in France. Or dogs in Poland.

Aron McElroy's picture

Wow, I can't believe how little time it took for all of you to completely change the topic of this and put it upon yourselves. Water has absolutely nothing to do with the pictures that are being shown. This is about the difference in diet, amount, of food, and types of food eaten in a week around the world by "typical" families from that country. Stop talking about yourselves and about water and try to stay focused on what this piece is really about.

Kaz Lea's picture

i hate the australian pic, that is not a respresentation of australian diet AND the 2 cartons of smokes...umm no...our weekly groceries doesnt look anything like that, how much mince do they have sheesh...

Jessica C's picture

What about all of those individual water purifiers that the missionaries are always passing out to the kids?

Jergins's picture

The kid in Germany is like, "They forgot the poptarts"

Lillian Ristich Hultz's picture

I see lots more fruits and veggies in most other countries...and Chad was so little for a whole week!!!!!!

shazangell's picture

Who the hell picked these people for the US? I certainly don't shovel that kind of crap in my body.

purple bean's picture

Look at the fruits and grains from the different countries. The US mostly packaged stuff. Hmmm.

Shannon Housman's picture

The photo on Great Britain, is the amount of food that i have for the whole month. And i'm an American.

GmaGardner's picture

I like Mail. Ecuador, Bhutan's diets the most. look how many people all healthy & smiling & not obese are fed on these diets!

BarbL's picture

I think all of our stomachs dropped when we saw Chad. Very sad with the abundance of food in this world that anyone is ever hungry. It could be different if only we had 'leaders' with hearts. So we, as citizens just have to do as much as we can to help others.

Brandy Galindo's picture

the amount of food these people buy in a week would last me and my teenaged daughter a month!

Amanda Faglie's picture

Seems like Mexico has the most food.

Jill Patton's picture

These pictures are wonderful. It's interesting seeing the different amount of vegetables and fruits (if any) in each family. Some of the pictures are even heartbreaking. On the water debate, according to my urologist the amount of water you drink goes by weight and activity level. I am a small person (105lbs) and have low to medium activity level so I am supposed to drink about 105 ounces of water a day for healthy functioning body.

Bonnie Kavanagh's picture

really interesting and yes to the person that said don't paint all with one brush but I think this did portray a really good picture of many cultures and countries. rlfmao with Germany, lots of wine and beer compared to all the other and in the pic of mexico I bet thier cocacola contains real sugar vs our american version with hfcs!

Rebecca Yeong Jen Wu's picture

some of it looks like a month for me. [i am a single.]

Hari Iyer's picture

the US doesn't seem as bad as I expected - to be honest it seems that most all of the developed countries could improve their dietary choices. Did you see all the beer in the photo of the German family? The amount of coke in the Mexican one?

I think what's in the food is worse than the choices themselves. For the most part food regulators in the US have sold the public's rights down the river, and so the US groceries, while they appear the same as groceries in other developed countries, they are filled with more harmful chemicals, hormones, pesticides, coloring, hydrogenated fat, processed sugar, etc. Not to mention that meat in the US is far from safe for human consumption.

The Indian, Ecuadorian, Guatemalan, and Bhutanese diets all look wonderfully wholesome and balanced. We could all take a lesson from them.

Dunspy Onmebra's picture

The poorer countries are the only ones eating legitimate food. Look at how much soda they're drinking in "1st world" countries. Pathetic.

Nathan Daniel Roeseler's picture

All I'm going to say...
I live in the US and I'm SO glad I do not eat that way...
Water, NATURAL juices + milks..
FRESH produce + fruits...
FRESH meats...

no artificial drinks, no "chips", no fast food, and very few "shelf stable" foods..
and I'm FAR from a health nut..... It just tastes a 1000x better than processed!
and by not buying that $2000 flat screen the rest of the country owns.. I can afford it!

Guest's picture

Congratulations on being so special. Here's your gold star.

Nathan Daniel Roeseler's picture

sorry, gold stars are for the pansy liberal/democrat parents of today and their kids who need one for EVERYTHING. Give it to yours.

stacykingggg's picture

I may be losing the point here, but why do they always go the poorest parts of Africa to display what the culture is about?

adonis's picture

Helloo! to all the beautiful families around the world!

FunkyMagurk's picture

Interesting photos...although, one must take into account that in some of these places (particularly Ecuador) people live just like the US, Australia, etc...very few portions of Central and South America are still so remote that they live in traditional livestyle...for better or for worse.

FaqUrNwoBS's picture

Canadian bacon > All

John Arab's picture

Look at the way Mexico is portrayed in the picture. Now know that they are the world's fattest nation. What a load of propaganda. The average US home looks a lot like Canada's actually. Still not healthy but it is not blown out of proportion times 1,000.

martinkerr's picture

The Mexican family shown is pretty fat too. They seem to have a very healthy diet, full of fresh fruit and veg, but they're drinking 24 litres of Coke per week (between 4 people). That's what's making them fat.

El Barto's picture


Harry's picture

It's German beer. The labels kind of look like XX with the naked eye but take a magnifying glass to it. I would imagine that Mexican beer (an import) would cost a pretty penny in Germany. Plus it would be like the French drinking Champagne from California; not going to happen.

Semanticleo's picture

Note that the 1st world countries have a preponderance of processed, packaged food and 3rd worlders have more raw food that actually IS food.

ZombieStomp's picture

I couldn't see any milk in the Canada photo...until I realized that it's in plastic bags (lol) behind the yogurt and sour cream tubs on the right.

Janine Vincent's picture

It's amazing how people think too much which then results to saying too much which result to arguments or conflict which when you think about it, really was/is unnecessary and pointless. Everyone wants to convince everyone, everyone wants everyone to be and think like them, some try to convince others that they are better than them. Not just regarding this article but also in the real world.

They are just pictures of people and food. Period. Enjoy the photographs then stop there. Please.

Tim in SF's picture

I think it's very sad that people in France have resorted to eating cats.

Laurie Vesco's picture


shelby's picture

In terms of package, transformed foods, the US seems to be the worst. Great Britain doesn't seem far behind.

MJBD's picture

The photos look more like a month! There is no way that those families consume all that food in 1 week and stay at that weight.

tenofzero's picture

There is probably a fair amount of food waste !

MJBD's picture


Sarah (JAG) Masterson's picture

The big one that I don't see is sliced, packaged white bread. Seriously. I have four sons and not a lot of money. I pack their lunches for school and lately, I've been thinking that all that processed white bread can NOT be good for them. However, I have one son that can not tolerate whole grains. He is so tiny, but fierce; he's a hockey player and with 2 older brothers, holds his own. It just makes me wonder what other people's children are eating for lunch? I don't buy lunch meat, so they eat a lot of PBJ, Peanut butter and Nutella, cheese sandwiches, cream cheese and jam...

Vincent Morretino's picture

Fedoras for everyone in Ecuador!

Awesomecat911's picture

Wow the South Americans eat naturally.

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