Saturday, July 19, 2008

Grocery Shopping

I really enjoy shopping for groceries. This week, I went to Walmart, and spent about $50 on groceries for the week. When I got home, I was curious about what I had gotten. I was hoping I actually had a whole week's worth of food; it seemed to me as though I had far more than a week's worth.

Here is what I bought (click for a giant version):

So, I was curious how this compared to my calorie intake. Assuming I might eat about 2000 calories per day (and ideally I would eat a bit less and lose weight, but in fact I think I eat a bit more, so I just chose this as a nice round number), I need 14,000 calories per week.

The groceries above come out to 12,475 calories - not quite a week's worth.

Of course, some of the groceries above will likely be wasted, some (like the jelly) will last beyond the week, and some rely on ingredients not shown but that I already own (like peanut butter to go with the bread and jelly, and pasta for the spaghetti sauce). And I also have other food in my house.

Assuming I eat about 2000 calories per day, the per-calorie cost of this group of groceries suggests I will spend about $8/day on food. It is, of course, quite possible to eat more cheaply than this - even much more cheaply, depending on your willingness to make more food from scratch and/or eat the very cheapest boxed dinners and the like.

But $8/day appears to be about my comfortable average, under present circumstances.


Sally said...

I loved looking at your picture and considering the juxtaposition of the various products - fried fish, organic pasta sauce, Lean Pockets, frozen veg, etc. I've been doing a ton of reading this week on food choice (pursuant to my organic food paper) and enjoyed this concrete example of the complexity involved. There's an ethnographic study of grocery shopping photos opportunity in this somewhere.

It's interesting also that your $8 per day figure includes some high quality options (e.g. organic milk) and overall, an amazing level of luxury (in the sense of being yummy, having variety, and satisfying the major nutritional needs).

rvman said...

I'm sure the decaf tea brought the average price per calorie up a bit.

Tam said...

And I don't even drink it with sugar, which would at least bring the cost per calorie down into a more reasonable crazy range.

I love stuff like these photos of families around the world and their groceries for a week.

In my own photo, I think I am captivated by seeing the different brand logos. No idea what that means.

You should do this sometime, Sally! Take a picture of your grocery shopping for the week.

Tam said...

Oh, and I did a very (very!) rough count of servings of different food groups, which came out as follows:

dairy - 18
meats/beans - 18
vegetables - 23
fruit - 8
bread - 28

This means I bought nearly enough servings of fruits and vegetables to have five per day. (Keep in mind that those servings are often pretty small. 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce is more than 1 serving of vegetables, for instance. And of course this was a very rough count.)

Debbie said...

I'm not Sally, but I added a picture of my grocery shopping for the week to my blog.