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Foodservice Spending Back to Pre-Recession Level

The recession is finally behind the foodservice industry. Consumer spending on food away from home rose 2.7% between July 2012 and July 2013, while at-home food spending declined by 0.2%. The increase in away-from-home spending brought foodservice (food-away-from-home) spending back to where it was before the recession.

Source: BLS. (*) 2012 and 2013 are mid-year updates covering July-to-July periods.

Source: BLS. (*) 2012 and 2013 are mid-year updates covering July-to-July periods.

According to the just-released Consumer Expenditure Midyear Update from Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the 12 months ended July 2013, the average American household spent $2,698 on food-away-from-home, up 2.7% from the same period ended July 2012.

Significantly, that exactly matches the $2,698 spent on food away from during full-year 2008, when food-away spending peaked before the recession hit it. Food-away spending declined in 2009 and 2010 before beginning to inch back up in 2011 and 2012 (see chart).

Food-at-home or supermarket spending dipped in 2010 but had been rising until the decline in the most recent BLS data.

Foodservice spending accounted for 5.2% of the average American household’s average expenditures. Supermarket (food-at-home) spending was 7.6% of total expenditures.

The average household income before taxes declined 0.2% to $65,029. Total average expenditures rose 1.5% to $51,408. The largest increase in expenditures was a 6.6% jump in cash contributions, which BLS defines as including payments for support of college students; alimony; child support; and charitable giving.

5 comments to Foodservice Spending Back to Pre-Recession Level

  • Jim Cartwright

    This is the dumbest story I have read in a long, long time!

    Of course spending would be up…but only 2.7% is not an increase at all…it’s actually a significant decline, as food prices have jumped 10% to 20% on the same menu items during that 6 year period…what are you guys smoking?
    At home

  • What don’t you get here? It doesn’t matter how much food prices go up; the question is how much households spend and what shares of total spending supermarket or foodservice represent. So your “of course spending would be up” is nonsense because in 2010 spending went DOWN even though food prices were higher. Spending does not necessarily rise when prices rise.

  • Dave Stahl

    What am I missing here? This information is within weeks of being one year old.

  • You’re missing familiarity with the speed at which the federal government compiles and releases information. Data for period ended last July was released May 23.

  • Dom

    Thanks for posting the story.

    “The recession is finally behind the foodservice industry.”

    This line is inaccurate, and the data is not a good measurement to declare that statement. The restaurant company I work for, still sees traffic counts significantly less than pre-recession levels. Sales have increased and in some areas close to pre-recession levels; however the sales increase is more due to price increases to keep up with commodity and labor price increases.

    The peers i have spoken with have said the same thing.

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