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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nichole's picture

Comments about the Americans having no water. I am thinking due to most American get water from their faucet.

Robynne Catheron's picture

Whoa, way too many arguments about water. The point being made here seems to be that westernized countries eat FAR too much, and most of it is junk.

Kachina Lively's picture

I blame the world leaders, Political and Corporate, U.N. for allowing anyone on this planet to go hungry, homeless or without medical care! We raise enough food around the world to fill the bellies of young and old. What is wrong with humanity?

susanunion's picture

I hear you.

Ken Biscombe's picture

I think this exercise is a great way to understanding healthy eating...Striking the balance between eating to live and living to eat.

Science has done a good job at defining what we need to eat to stay fit and healthy...Science taught us that the purpose of food is to fuel the body of all living things.

My fasting on water only once for seven days cemented that knowledge (water has zero nutritional value). My take on healthy eating is eating in moderation the five food groups Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Dairy, and Protein in basic preparation and yes, fresh clean water. . Everything else are treats and to be appreciated only as such.

alejandra vidal's picture

most of the "first world countries" have a 10% of fruits and vegetables on their weekly groceries, lame. we all should be thankful for the food that we have in our fridges and also to take into cosideration what families in different countries have to eat in order to survive. just saying...

hankbask's picture

As interesting as the food display is, is also the size of the kitchens or rooms these people are sitting in. .. the size of their families..their body types and sizes....Some who have very little fresh food ( but large sacks of rice/ grains ) have surprisingly large smiles....? Nobody appears to be miserable from Starvation ?

steve denny's picture

The UK pic is pretty much spot on, theres no water in the pic as our tap water is great ( should be too, as it costs so much!) Not sure about all that chocolate either plus in our house we eat far more fruit! BUT I am pleased to see Marmite!
We must remember that every family has different eating habits and we can all pick faults but all in all its a great project and has made me realise that some countries have it far too easy compared with others!

Adam Praleikas's picture

Sorry. This American doesn't fit into that stereotype. Nor does anyone I know. Who eats that much shit? If they do they're surely obese.

susanunion's picture

I agree! We Never get that much either and we have a family of four. Plus 5 animals too!! ;)

Skegeeaces's picture

It's interesting that (with a few exceptions like Chad), despite the disparity in the quality/quantity of food, you still find that the people in the pictures vary in size. Even the countries with mostly "paleo" type diets have some folks who are bigger and some smaller.

rhonda morgan's picture

Germany's made me sick! All that packaging and bottled waters! Turkey seems to have it right on! USA's isn't more than everyone elses so at least that's not bad! I love how there was beer in the pic! Lol i really hope EVERYONW recycles especially Germany!

Sarah Day's picture

I like how the Germans have beer and wine as groceries. We do in Australia too, so that photo is not representative!

oracleof jamie's picture

The Canada Table is more in line with what the Average American Family eats for a week, just add more carrots and spinach. As a person who has lived in California, Illinois, Virginia, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida all for extended periods of time as well as abroad with fellow Americans from all over I can tell you right now this is insulting to the Average American family. That picture DOES NOT represent the Average American diet at all! All it does is exasperate negative false world wide views about Americans. Sure the Aug, 2017 figures show 30% of our Adult population is obese ( some due to diet some due to medical reasons) meanwhile 70% of our adult population is not obese. That is not normal in America for a family of four to go to McDonald, Taco Bell, Burger king, KFC, Chinese take out, Japanese take out, and two pizzas in one week, are you kidding me! I'm not saying there are no families who eat like this, but If this is not staged then the family they choose is ABNORMAL. The only produce that is shown for a week that I can see, for four people are two packs of grapes a few onions and tomatoes. Americans are large consumers of banana, apples, oranges, plums, peaches, pears, carrots, spinach, kale, lettuce, potatoes, bell peppers, broccoli,avocados, Corn, let's not forget Corn in addition to the tomatoes, grapes, and onions they already show. American's are the 6th worlds largest consumers of bottled water it is sadly only our second most consumed beverage ( filtered of course is better for the environment). This family does not show their water like several other countries do, but instead shows an impractical amount of juice, each family member would have to consume 2 family sized jugs of juice per week to drink all the large bottles of juice that is visible on that table, not including the 24 pack of beer, the bottle of wine, as well as all the sodas and other types of juice shown (bagged juices). This is seriously just propaganda to show how "bad" the American diet is. I'm not saying the American diet is great but this is a clear false representation of what Americans eat on a typical week. Do not believe it! If you are an American who eats like that (or your friends eat like that ) just know that you/they are not the norm!

John Wake's picture

nice article !

Edgar Aethelred's picture

Some of the families pictured are not representative of the respective nations which throws some unfortunate doubt on this endeavor.
For example, in the USA, African Americans comprise only about 11% of the population. An appropriate family to represent the "data" such as it were would be a Caucasian family, the vast majority. So for USA, the "data" amounts to anecdote.
Likewise for Australia and Canada--again, the families portrayed are NOT representative of these majority Csucasian nations, and the study's legitimacy suffers. It is clear the study suffers from prioritizing PC platitudes over science and therefore this study is part science, part PC propaganda, which is unfortunately quite common these days.

Beverly Bernhagen's picture

My family and I seem to blend more with Mongolia and Canada pictured families in regards to amounts of food and diversity of items. Sugars, sugar! It would have been more informative and interesting to view commenters that described which family they were most like and how their diets or families were different in variation or weekly amounts. I live approx. 25 minutes from Walmart or Hyvee. I am a hair above poverty. The local grocery store is about 2000 sq. Ft. They have in season fresh produce. Being that i live in the country, i put in work to grow our family of fives produce. We make a living using squash and potatoes, eggs (thanks to ten chickens) haha. I live in about an 900 square foot house. We def. Bring home our water from town lol because the well water is pretty sandy/iron filled. Some of the featured photos seem as though the families eat ALOT while others don't necessarily have as much... it would be difficult to eat the amount that some do. However i think i see Germany's beer and Americas budweiser. Looks like Mexico and Australia's pop is a pretty equal ratio (hahah). USA photo, def. Has a lot going on there, lots of pre-packaged stuff and i enjoy me some pizza! Esp. Being that i travel 2 to 3 times a month for groceries. Def. Like Burger king and McD's. Hopefully more community gardens can be put into place. I love the farmers market and Pizza equally. How long has the Hamburger been around anyway?