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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Previous comments

Are you serious? I live right on the Canadian border and see many obese Canadians over here shopping.

Ethnic diversity means that people are going to be eating a wide variety of foods. If there is a large South Asian population in your town, many of the older people will probably be shopping at Indian Grocers and eating a diet that is considerably different from your average white family.

"Canada are so ethnically diverse "
LOL another Diversity Sheep. Canada is a European-founded, European culture and has only become "diverse" in the last decade or 2 max, thanks to leftist social engineering. BAA-AA--AA-AAAAA!

That picture doesnt portray American families as eating lots of "GMO's, prepackaged foods and junk food"... it shows them eating at least 4 dinners as take out. There is a huge difference between the garbage people cook and the garbage sold as fast food. I am not saying the majority eat healthy, they just dont eat as that picture portrays. I have friends and family from all aspects of life, different race, different class, etc. and NONE of them eat out that much. Even my sister, who is a one armed, single mother of two high school boys living on disability and the minimum child support manages to feed her kids better than that. Your average family cant AFFORD to eat out that much. That table could possibly be believable if it was for a single bachelor. But it really irrates me that they pass that farce off as what the average U.S. family eats in a week.

No offense HBRI, but you are wrong on all accounts. That picture is propaganda, I also was in a military family and lived with and near people from all over the US, I also lived in half a dozen states unrelated to service and I can most certainly tell you the average family does not eat like that. College students maybe, young bachelor/bachelorette maybe, but the average family, no not even close. Also America is not even in the top ten of most obese countries!

I was raised in a traditional Canadian family. Junk food was a taboo. Sugar and kids, bad mix. My Mom made sure that my brother and I, had healthy snacks, no pop, no chips etc. That junk only came around during a birthday, Easter, Halloween and Christmas/New Years. She fed us well, since we were a set of growing boys that needed as much energy possible. Thanks to her teachings, we both have long since incorporated what she taught us, into our adult lives. At least with the Canadian family's photo, you don't see the amount of Junk Food the American family displayed. You can tell by the other images, they know how to eat with little or no junk food showing at all. Hmm, perhaps the American family could benefit simply by changing how they consume and choose a more tasteful menu? Yeah I know, wishful thinking on my part.

"Wishful thinking on my part"
If you lead such a healthy, glorious lifestyle and you don't make any of the poor dietary decisions that the family depicted does, why do you need wishful thinking? Clearly you're doing fine, it's absolutely not your problem what these people are doing. Your gratuitous comment is not going to solve anything and the depiction you've provided of your wholesome upbringing has by and large taught us all nothing. The family seen here, and millions of others like them, are not going to see the light because you decided to be self-righteous in the comments section of this article. And furthermore, we live on an incredibly overpopulated planet. If Americans want to kill themselves off with tons of processed crap, more power to 'em.

Oh please. Canada is terrible, they just happened to pick a 'good' family. Get off your high horse. Or are you still snowed in.

Wow. How grown up of you Jayne...

Actually, I just wrote a comment stating the average American family is more like the Canada family photo. the American photo does not represent the average American diet at all in fact it's so out there it's an obvious joke. You do need to get off your high horse. Most Americans are raised the same way you described pastries are for birthday, candy is for Halloween and Easter and people tend to eat more heavy on the holidays or on vacations.

SusyQ, I think that picture is pretty accurate of a large portion of our country. Unfortunately, time requirements, convenience, cost and other factors make this processed, unhealthy food easier and cheaper. So for many, they are a great option. Unfortunately, long-term repercussions to our health are not considers and usually not adequately communicated via our corporate-based media.

There is an entire book that goes along with these photographs - the photos fail to tell the whole story. The story behind the american family is really interesting. They were trying to be healthier and so they joined the gym as a family. After 2 hours of working out after work/school, they found they didn't have time to cook their own food and resorted to junk. Eventually, they bought a treadmill and started going for walks close to home so they would have time to cook more healthfully. The photograph was taken during that transition, but before it was complete.
Also, the book includes multiple families from some countries. I remember Australia, specifically, also had a photograph of a more well-off family in Sydney, I think. They had much healthier food, of course. The australian family shown in this series of photos lives in the outback without a lot of access to fresh fruits and vegetables, but there's a McDonalds in town, of course.

It would have been interesting if the photos were taken of families who were in the same socio-economic class, with the same income relative to a broader economic measurement and lived in the same type of environment (urban vs. rural vs. suburban). Need an apples to apple comparison - no pun intended!

I agree. Though, I don't think the major point of the original journalism was for direct comparison of healthfulness, I think it was more of a comparison of food culture in general. It talks about how long each family works to prepare each meal, the percentage of income they spend, and where their food comes from, which is interesting when you see that many of the rural families are subsistence farmers.

You might keep in mind that other cultures may not have the same socio-economic classes, so in fact, this might be spot on if the photographer is trying to portray the average family for each of these cultures.

I agree, but it may be hard to find the same socio-economic status in the US vs, say, Chad.

Hi Elizabeth

What is the name of the book?

Thanks :)

It's called "Hungry Planet" by Peter Menzel. It's a really great read, and it's good to be reminded sometimes that lists on the internet are incomplete (though fascinating to look at, I admit!)


Informative and factual. I like it Elizabeth.

SuzyQ- Hopefully people look through these photos to learn from them, and are enlightened in some way- if they weren't already. If you eat well and are from a 1st world country, then you should be proud of yourself. But as the old saying goes, "the team is only as good as its weakest player". Hopefully this disgusts junk food eaters enough to stop the cycle between GMO corn based (packaged) products and the 'mysteriously linked' health problems. I agree it sucks to live in a world with nothing but bad news, but if that's what it takes to raise our standards, so be it. This is a very accurate, although not perfect, representation of select country's average diets. Some families do much worse, some do much better. It's an average. But keep it up if you're eating organic, local, non-GMO, free range food. Personally, I'm surprised at how much these families have to eat. I never had that quantity, but then again I always had quality so who needs quantity then? I find it very interesting that as the pictures progress into 3rd world countries, the amount of food lessens and the sizes of families grow. But again, it's just an average. I bet the Mali and Bhutan dinners are incredible. And Guatemala's picture has it spot on!! After this, the saddest thing for me is seeing third world countries drinking soda. Because you know that was influenced from a 1st world country, when some company actively made the decision to create a new market on toxic, sugary, corn based drinks in a poor country, instead of to provide clean drinking water. In a place that isn't polluted with the nasty piggish habits of north america.

Wow, you're attitude is disgusting! Your information is just plain wrong, I guess it just shows the world how ignorant you are!

Exactly, we did not eat that much junk food as a nation back "when you were a kid". We also didn't have the embarrassing obesity problem we do now. I have no idea when you were a kid but the situation has absolutely gotten worse thanks to corn subsidies by the US government.

Amen, I do not ever have burger king pizza and taco bell, and if i did i wouldnt go and buy them all in one day

Not Mexico- did you see all the bottles of Coca-cola! Ugh.

As I told my Doc, I don't make enough money to eat healthy. Our Gov spends more money in subsidies to corn producers, the people who give us animal feed, HFCS which we use in candy and soda, and now auto fuel.

You can't afford basic staples? Maybe you need to learn to cook rather than reheat in a microwave.

" I don't make enough money to eat healthy" LOL someone play the tiny violin for Fatty here! Denial us not a river in Egypt.

I was eating like that family until very recently, which is funny because we always had home cooked meals growing up. It took me some research and time to change my eating habits for the better. One can only hope others in the country can take a minute to examine how they eat and make the same change for the better.

I agree and disagree. There are many, if not most, families in America who eat garbage like the family in this pic. I did some research for Burger King about a decade ago and the studies found that BK was providing a lot of the time the only "vegetables" (through lettuce, onion, tomato on the burgers) than most kids got in a week. Are there opposites? Absolutely. Anyone with half a brain and who even knows the fundamentals of cooking pull sin a ton of veggies and fruits, but there are a lot of Americans who eat absolute garbage, like this family.

I agree... I don't even buy Soda. We get one bag of chips a month. I mean seriously with the fresh Pizza! LOL On another note those people from Chad eat like birds. I don't know if I could do it... It also appears that Mexico only drinks Cola...

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