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


Mexico
00175372
Great Britain
00175382
USA
00175392
Australia
00175402
Germany
00175412
Italy
00175422
Canada
00175432
France
00175442
Japan
00175452
China
00175462
Poland
00175472
Kuwait
00175482
Mongolia
00175492
Turkey
00175502

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

[Via Time]

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917 Comments

Previous comments
Luxarazzi's picture

Having lived in Europe, I doubt it. Different types of food are more expensive in Europe than in the USA. Also, the monetary exchange rate for such a swap would need to be considered.

donnadaisyduke's picture

The sheer dickishness of Steven Bannister's gross comment is not as well-cloaked in your passive-aggressivenss as you think it is.

Adam L's picture

*speechless*

Karadjordje's picture

And in what category do you place yourself? For someone who can write something as shallow as this you certainly fall into a special category. This obviously didn't cross your mind but would you say that people ALSO buy what they can afford?

Most Americans, white or black, CANNOT afford to buy food at Whole Foods (not that they would even if they could afford). Poorer people eat cheaper and unhealthier foods, and larger percentage of African-Americans are poor, therefore they eat cheaper and unhealthier foods. It's education and affordability. The well-off people in America are slimmer, because they're better educated and wealthier. The poor are fatter and sicker, because they are less educated and obviously poorer. A lot can be said about the US by seeing the way people eat, and understanding why they eat what they eat. Eating healthy in the US is a privilege, just like health care and a number of other things.

BTW, and unrelated to the rest of the comment, I have seen these pictures many, many times, and the only one that feels sadder than the US is Chad.

Karema Rogers's picture

I love your response. That is exactly what I wanted to say but you just said it so much better.

Erin Owens's picture

Take it from someone who doesn't eat a quarter of the average amount shown in the American photo, eats healthier than that, and yet is still morbidly obese, eating healthy is NOT everything. Of course, if you live on twinkies and coke, you'll pay for it, but even those that eat healthy and exercise might not be able to lose weight. Just pointing out that choice is not the only factor in being obese or healthy, though I admit it's an important part of it.

Viola's picture

you're morbidly obese and you eat healthy? have you considered iron overload which causes insulin resistance? studies have shown women with PCOS have higher ferritin. my boyfriend tried to poison me with iron pills and it made me balloon up ten pounds in about two weeks. i've been donating blood since then to get my weight down. watch out for foods with "enriched iron." even if blood tests show you have low iron, you might have paradoxical iron overload anemia, which means you have a lot of biounavailable iron stored in your organs that your body can't utilize (this can be caused by bioavailable copper deficiency which your body needs to utilize iron). i really think this is the cause of US obesity, and not so much overeating, as i know a lot of people who are overweight who eat less than i do.

Erin Owens's picture

Hmm... that might be worth investigating. I do have iron in the high ranges (nearing hemochromatosis). Even when I lost a TON of blood awhile back (yeah, I won't go into details to spare people), my iron level went down three points and I still wasn't anemic. I'll have to research that. Thanks for the info!

Bob_Lees's picture

All said by clearly, the dumbest POS in this entire thread so far.

Rose_Campion's picture

What an obnoxious git. You don't mean to stereotype? What do you mean to do, exactly? Poor people in affluent societies often eat junk food because it's cheaper than good food. You should educate yourself. And the difference between those who shop at Whole Foods is not IQ-based - it's income based. It really comes down to money. Rich people can eat healthy, poor people get cheap calories. And smart people don't write nonsense like yours, unless it's for propaganda purposes.

Jen H's picture

what an a%^^ you are Steven. The POOR eat poorly. The RICH eat well. Have you looked at the prices at Whole Foods? Even Safeway/Bel Air. Healthy organic pure foods are extremely expensive. Unhealthy, corn syrupy, GMO foods are very cheap. You are the one who is dumb, dummy.

Laurie Swenson's picture

The black people you see in the grocery store is a statistical blip compared to "black people in America." Your description sounds like a lot of young people/young families. Perhaps part of the situation is that you notice what's in their carts because you're paying more attention to them because they look different from you.

Like Krissy said, making healthy food choices is more about knowledge/education than intelligence. It's also about personality/choice/taste/self-discipline/etc. Many people are smart and well-educated but like pizza rolls, Kraft dinner and Twinkies.

It's also about poverty. The very poor are never going to sharp at Whole Foods. They don't have that kind of money. They'll shop at Walmart and dollar stores. Poor people will buy canned fruit instead of fresh because it's cheaper. They will fill up with cheap, starchy foods like potatoes, pasta and white rice. Poverty can also make people feel discouraged and lose hope. Why bother eating for a future that looks so bleak you don't want to think about it?

This is way more complicated than you seem willing to comprehend.

RJohnstonAZ's picture

Correct, in a way, but has nothing to do with IQ, there are many members of Mensa, who has a very poor diet. there are a lot more people on skid row with college and graduate degrees than most realize. It depends on what type of reading you do, what you learned about nutrition, and how you use it, not IQ.. The photo of the United States has almost nothing in it that we eat, and it does not have a lot of the fresh fruits and vegetables, that belong in the American diet, but I do not have a Mensa IQ I just read a lot..

Joel Amaro's picture

Better than the 12 2 liter bottles of soda in the mexican photo.

Latromi's picture

I found the one from Mexico far more alarming. That is a TON of soda.

Guest's picture

the Mexican one was pretty terrible too.

meinerHeld's picture

see also Britain, Australia, and kind of Mexico too. all that Coke!

Starr Lockhart's picture

I'm an American and I don't feed my family that stuff. If you look, they eat lots of fast food.

Alaska Mom's picture

The point of the photo montage is to picture the "typical" household from each country. And I can tell by your comment that you are not "typical".

cancanjody's picture

True--I see no seafood for Guatamala....

lordblazer's picture

yea the food from the US isn't even nutritious. The food from Chad is.

James Reilly's picture

Look at the Aussie family. They've got just as much junk food and about 300 pounds of meat and sausages to boot.

Viola's picture

Meat is good for you, silly. You're still stuck in the carbohydrate-centric outdated notion of good nutrition.

Joel Amaro's picture

The Mexican family drinks TWELVE 2 liter bottles of pop a week? HOLY SMOKES!!! For only 4.3 people?

Piper's picture

Did you notice the 6 bottles of wine and 30 bottles of beer in the German photo? I'm not judging...I'm kind of impressed.
And yes, people in Mexico do drink that much Coke (I'm assuming it has something to do with the water not being potable).

Charles B's picture

I think Chad is a refugee camp.

Pasta Farian's picture

If it is, just understand that that makes no difference. I've been to the DRC...what a disaster.

Yolande Dickinson-Smith's picture

Charles, Chad is a small country in central Africa. Neighbours include Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Lybia and Cameroon.

Alabaman's picture

Well Chad is not a refugee camp. They decided to go to the poorest and rural area of Chad and to get a picture. That is what western media always do.

BrowniePerson's picture

That's a weeks food when there's food, seeing what a weeks food is when times are tough is more than a reality check, it's a whole lot of shame on us lucky people.

Carlene Biunno Buccola's picture

Nothing green for their week, so sad!

JJohnson's picture

Yes, the contrast between the U.S. (and perhaps one or two others) and Chad is stark and shocking. It's not just the quantity, but all the junk food we Americans think of as staples. I am going to do a quick pantry-and-refrigerator inventory. I don't keep soda, but I'm sure I have more pogey bait than I think...or want to fess up to.

TashaRobinson's picture

Interesting how much knee-jerk bias there is against the USA picture here, when the photos from Japan and Great Britain show a similar high proportion of pre-packaged foods and a low proportion of fresh foods, while the GB photo in particular shows a lot more sugary snacks and chips than the USA photo. There's so much to discuss with these photos, about what different countries consider basic staples, about which families consider bottled water a requirement, and about all the different things people eat. (I wish some of these items were labeled; I'd love to know what they are.) It's a bit dispiriting to see how instantly the comments here turned toward people fixating on one photo and sneering at each other about how people interpret it differently.

Caleb's picture

Yeah, I have to agree with you there. Unfortunately I feel that if USA was the most healthiest picture in the montage than most people would instead criticize them for their overabundance. Saying things like, "the only reason they can eat healthy is because they're rich." Or something like that. Studying internet culture has taught me many things, but one huge thing is that, apparently, regardless of reality, Americans are always the worst.

Also loved what you said about the different things we could take away from this instead. Tons to discuss here. For example, it would be interesting to study the availability of certain foods per the average socioeconomic status that was used to determine the families in the photo, alongside the quantity of education regarding what makes food healthy, and what makes food unhealthy. One of the biggest things I remember from going to college is that a lot of my friends from the USA had no idea what comprised a healthy diet. Their parents didn't teach them, school didn't teach them, and the media certainly doesn't teach them, so they just continue to buy the status-quo; they only buy what is readily available.

D/E's picture

cause you could be black eating all this american food in a house, or living in a tent eating out of a burlap sack... the choice is yours

Mark Schlager's picture

Inferior races need not be saved.

Terri Knoll's picture

certainly is wow

Janet Channell's picture

Poor devils look as if they are on starvation diet.

Christina Cordero's picture

and Mali!

wandalee's picture

I agree, big cloth bags of grain with very little fruit or veg and no treats at all, much different from all the colorful junk food packaging in most of the other pics.

dfhsdf's picture

just because there isn't a large variety of food or food like products in their picture doesn't mean they aren't getting enough food. the amount of macro nutrients in that picture is way more than enough to feed, the six people sitting around the food, for one week.

Edgar Aethelred's picture

For you in your sheltered bubble, sure.

Norm Cooper's picture

more developed, more processed foods

Jens Marklund's picture

The first five - that's a lot of sugar. Does every kid drink soda for dinner over there?

RUSS T.'s picture

in the USA it's more High fructose corn syrup than sugar. insanely bad for ya. So very legal to use it there....

Charles B's picture

Legal? It should be outlawed? What are we, subjects of some dictator who chooses what the peasants will eat?

Arturo Mieussens's picture

Yes, we are. Do you know what children eat in school?, not being offered the option of heathy food could be called a dictatorship, as you say.

Sarah Johnson's picture

There's nothing stopping parents from packing their children's lunches. I'm on an extremely tight budget, but yet I still manage to pack a nutritious lunch for my daughter for school every day.

Stefanie Sasinek-Roil's picture

Actually, in MANY American schools children are not allowed to bring lunches and in some they aren't allowed to go home for lunch either. Given that many schools ALSO provide breakfast, with the same rules, that leaves a whole lot of parents with virtually no input on what their child eats for two meals plus one snack five days a week.

catdance's picture

Would you be so kind as to name the school districts / states where children are not allowed to bring lunch from home?

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