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
grantsformation's picture

This is hardly "proof" of a widespread ban on brown bag lunches.

clamentine's picture

Greenville, MS where I teach.

Adam Phillips's picture

Varies by school district. some just have forbidden certain items like soda and candy, some have forbidden home lunches (sometimes health reasons like pest control problems) some have hired dieticians to produce lunch menus that are healthier. it varies state to state, county to county, district to district, public or private.

Kathy Bampfield's picture

Wow, I never heard of that rule. My public and parochial schools allow lunches to be brought in. What type of school are you referring too? There is something wrong about that.

waleeper's picture

What school district do you live in that bans home packed lunches. I have lived many places and never seen this.

Also the breakfast is also usually part of a low income program to make sure the kids even get a breakfast.

shelly's picture

It is not a mandate in USA to send our kids to public schools. We have a choice!

julyjulyjulyjuly's picture

Yeah, sure, if you can afford private school.

shelly's picture

Or homeschool! I homeschool my four children, and it can be practically free! Just takes time and effort. And when we choose to have children we should be ready to be responsible for their education and upbringing. If the public offering of it is unacceptable, we need to be ready to find another solution.

It's called home schooling.

Marie Antoinette Ortega Reyes's picture

nothing except maybe time and knowledge, some people arent really aware of whats unhealthy for them esp ESL families

bonkerslite's picture


Remembering my lunches. Mom packed a sammich, usually tuna, egg salad or PBJ (I don't think she ever gave us processed meats), and, the part that makes me nostalgic, a sammich bag with sliced carrots seasoned with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Hahaha...we didn't have those ziplocks at the time, so invariably my paper bag looked a little wet by the time lunch rolled around. I was that kid with the "greasy bag", while other kids had neat, perfect bag lunches (and of course it wasn't greasy. Soon as I ate, the bag dried off quickly enough. But appearances are everything!). I think maybe she mixed in a yogurt and a piece of fruit now and again.


I think I will go call Ma right now.

HBRI's picture

Your killing me. Sandwich not sammich. Like your take on lunches. Getting back to real food is a must.

bonkerslite's picture

LOL. I know, but "sammich" is just fun to say.

(Uh...it doesn't mean anything else that I don't know about, does it? I thought it was a nonsense word. Imagine my chagrin if it means something like "He Who Scratches Others' Armpits")

Naji's picture

*You're*, since you're being pedantic

kimberly caballero's picture

it is a shame when i see MANY americans taking advantage of the food stamp program....they dont offer that in chad, or any of the other pooer countries listed. whole foods and trader joes BOTH participate in the food stamp program, by the way. i know a woman with 6 children, unemployed, that lives a street away from trader joes and a block away from an aldi. she recieves close to 1200.00 per month and buys junk food from aldi. the food is cheaper there, she can feed her family pretty close to how the family listed above eats, yet still sells about 350.00 per month in food stamps for cash....her kids eat steak from a frozen carton, and mashed potatoes from a box...drink.capri son and soda.....she also goes to SHEETZ and buys icees and made to order cold foods that are extremely unhealthy yet quick to offer to her hungry kiddos. ...the option is THERE for MANY americans to purchase from a mofe expensive food chain. it is just that many american people have grown accustom to hand outs and are too lazy to actually prepare a meal. ..oh, and if anyone cares to respond regarding time and taking care of business all day long(i.e. kids, work, etc) whole foods offers a cold prepared foods section, allowing food stampers the option to utilize as well. ....those that do not get assistance and STILL dont havpe the time to prepare need to consider getting together with a few friends once a week and prepare healthy, freezable dishes that can simply be taken out of the freezer and thrown into the oven....im sorry, but cutting up some peppers, lettuce, tomatoes and opening a bottle of low fat dressing takes less than 5 minutes..i dont buy the *to busy* excuse...it is laziness...someimes finding a few extra hours out of our week is well worth the overall health and well being for our families.w friwnds once a week and

bonkerslite's picture

hahaha...."sammich" is just fun to say.

Yes. Real food will help make us a happier, healthier society. Easier said than done, of course.

Ralph's picture

You're a moron

shelly's picture

"You're" not Your

And YOU'RE killing me with the use of "your"!

Brooke Leach's picture

Since we are nit-picking, the grammatically correct usage of "your" should actually be "You're" Have a great day.

J Rose's picture

I am a nutrition worker in a school kitchen and we do not serve unhealthy food! All our food is incredibly streamlined to get the best food out there to those hungry kids. The menu is worked on time and time again to perfect it. If your child chooses to take unhealthy food to school don't blame it on us. And really the nutrition services department cares more about the kids diets than most parents.

HBRI's picture

J Rose, I would love to know what public school you speak of. If anything comes out of a box or can you are NOT serving healthy food. The US currently, as of February 2013, does not have food regulations in part that qualify as healthy. French fries are considered a vegetable. Iceberg lettuce is served in salad bars. Prepackaged vegetables are served, frozen foods are served. It can be done healthier but the system is broken. My son, 5th grade, just spoke to our state capital representatives concerning the food quality in school. He (as a 5th grader) is disgusted with the options. Pizza, chicken nuggets, french fries, ice cream offered at every lunch. He told the State of Connecticut that he would like to see some other color than brown, yellow, beige or a tone or shade there of added to the lunch program. He takes his lunch to school.

What is your menu?

HRenee's picture

Well, you aren't in MY school district then. Guess what the kids at school had for lunch yesterday? A little bag of fritos with a little bit of greasy ground up meat, a little shredded cheese, and a little lettace thrown in. "Walking taco" is what they called it. That was it. Tell me how that is "the best food" and "perfect"?

Walter Wolenski's picture

Refined flour? check, sugar? check, canned veggies?, check pre-made entrees?, check packaged "fruit" drinks? check..

ok so if any of that food is GMO, or contains any type of pesticide on the produce, how are yall making a difference? My question is do you get the food from the government? Because if you do its probably all GMO. which is not healthy since the Government doesn't seem to notice that GMO's will kill us off eventually

Marie Antoinette Ortega Reyes's picture

hfcs is scary and toxic...it should be banned

Luke's picture

Actually there's no solid science to suggest that hfcs is any worse than sugar when used in appropriately servings (anything used to excess is bad).

Peter's picture

Finally someone who gets that hfcs are just as bad as sugar. Just for the record aspartame is completely safe. Believe me I spent countless hours going through many peer reviewed articles and meta analysis. TO overdose requires cans of pop a day in the 20's. The only evidence that shows it is "bad" is done on animals and have not been replicated. People get their data from pseudo sources. Go to the source and look at peer reviewed. If it can't be replicated there is a good chance the data was faked.

Noah's picture

Aspertame can be bad for you (aside from the controversial and speculative cancer stuff) because it tricks your brain into thinking you're eating a lot of sugar, so a bunch of extra insulin gets pumped into your blood stream with no sugar to break down. this can screw up your sugar regulating mechanism and lead to things like diabetes.

Peter's picture

Well it can cause that in large doses, but over eating in general can cause diabetes also. The reason aspartame is used it because it is about 1000 times sweeter than sugar, so less needs to be used and less calories is used. Aspartame still has a caloric value, but not nearly as much needs to be used.

Random Guy's picture

"Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious, including seizures and death." Source: Mercola

Peter's picture

show me a source that is not based on the opinion of one doctor...

Stefáuni Diamond's picture

exactly!!! this stuff is the silent killer in america!

Aspartame is indeed BAD for you, just as all the artificial lab created sweetners. I ate one cup of aspartame sweetened yogurt a day for 3 days and each day within 20 mins I had a headache, stomach cramps, dizziness, and couldn't think clearly. Any other product that has it and I am unaware, I end up with the same reaction. I am not the only one.

Peter's picture

The brain is a powerful tool. Placebo effect is a real thing. I am not discounting that you had those symptoms, but I am going by what 85%+ of all case studies and other valid sources tell me. Some people take the one result they want and discount the rest. I know because I had the opinion of aspartame is bad before doing countless hours of research and found that it "could" be bad, but as of right now the studies that are being conducted that say aspartame is bad have not been able to be replicated. For fun try and do a blind study and have someone give you aspartame on some days and sugar on the other days, but not tell you which is which. This should take the placebo effect out of the picture : )

The problem with HFCS is that its in EVERYTHING.

twhite6878's picture

Same with GMOs. Peer reviewed articles state that there is nothing inherently bad about genetically modified foods or hormones. But people don't do their research and go to sites like natural news.

JustSomeGuy's picture

You're kidding, right? HFCS has been directly liked to diabetes,
obesity, and metabolic syndromes. It is metabolized to fat in your body
more rapidly than regular sugar because of the way its been formulated
into a liquid. Not to mention, it is made with genetically modified
corn, which adds insult to injury. If you feed HFCS to your children,
you are contributing greatly to any future health issues they may have.

Luke's picture

1) Sugar is linked to diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndromes. Correlation is not causation...the fact that "everything" we eat is packed full of sugar or hfcs is the problem along with various preservative chemicals.

2) Fat doesn't form any more rapidly than anything else once it's in your body - extra calories are extra calories that get stored.

3) There's nothing wrong with genetically modified corn. (Legal processes and politics aside).

4) The generally "bad" American diet and sedentary lifestyle are far worse than some corn syrup.

5) I prefer my corn to be turned into whiskey. The next thing you're going to try to do is convince me the sugars remaining from the grain are worse for me than sugar from a bag.

julyjulyjulyjuly's picture

Well, I guess it's like you said--legal processes and politics aside, and unfortunately, those play a huge role. Also, I think that even IF you can argue that the GE corn itself is safe, the process required to grow it isn't. It's very herbicide intensive, and will only get more so; farmers are now dealing with a growing number of Round-Up resistant weeds. Monsanto has applied with the USDA with a new product people are calling 'D-4' or 'Agent Orange' corn, as the chemical that treats it (replacing Round-Up) is one of the major components of Agent Orange (which, in case people forgot, is one of many products Monsanto also produced in the past and told the government and the public was safe).

Peter's picture

Oh my goodness, it is not the HFCS. The problem is indeed sugar, processed food and overeating. HFCS get a bad rep because people correlate this with the obesity epidemic. Many forget eating habits have drastically changed.

julyjulyjulyjuly's picture

Actually we already are. The dictator being corporations who have the government under their thumb, subsidizing corn so they can create really unhealthy, cheap products for consumption while healthy products stay expensive. Not to mention that BigAg companies like Monsanto control a large amount of the food system (they produce the GMOs that are 80-90% of all corn and soy consumed in the US, and if you think, hey, it's just corn, remember what I just said about it being added to everything, not to mention that if you consume dairy, meat, or eggs, it's what feeds all those animals too).

grantsformation's picture

Read "
Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the food giants hooked us" and you'll see who the "dictators" are - it's the food mfrs.

Ricci Smith's picture

sorry to butt in TWO months later but...... you DO realize high fructose corn syrup IS a sugar, right? that's what the "ose" means.

I'm not saying it's not bad for you, my understanding is that it's one of the worst ones. But saying more corn syrup than sugar means nothing.

Caroline's picture

In a lot of places soda is both cheaper and cleaner to drink than water. Sad.

Jenny's picture

That's a bunch of bull. Just get a Brita filter instead of bottled water, ffs.

julyjulyjulyjuly's picture

Yeah, but what if you don't have running water?

disqus_TjVZbVTR22's picture

Yeah, 'cause Brita filters just ABOUND in developing nations. I bet that family in Chad will just waltz down the street to Target and pick one up, then run polluted water through it and call it good. Stop being the stereotypical ignorant American. It's not like that family has that single jug of water because they think it'd be fun to minimize -- that is the maximum amount of safe, clean water they have access to for that WEEK. When it's gone, it's gone.

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