Thanks to a tweet by Action Against Hunger and the World Food Programme, I came across this incredible infographic that maps global food spending. This map illustrates what percentage of people’s income goes to food expenditures. Why is this important? When food prices rise, people with higher incomes are in a better financial position to cut “non-essential” items from their budget and invest more money on “essentials,” like food. However, people affected poverty aren’t able to shift around income expenditures. For example, in America, only 6.9% of a family’s income is spent on food. That’s plenty of financial wiggle room compared to a family in Kenya, where 44.9% of the family’s spending goes to food purchases. In the United States, the average amount spent on food per person is $2,208. In Kenya, this average is $243 per person. It’s also important to remember that according to World Bank estimates, 1,345 million people live on less than $1.25 a day. It’s heart-wrenching to imagine how rocketing food prices can shake a family subsisting on this income.
This iconograph reminded me of a TIME photo series that has always fascinated me titled “What the World Eats.” Photographer Peter Menzel traveled around the world capturing images of families with their weekly groceries in their home. It’s incredible to compare a family in Sicily, Italy to a family in a refugee camp in Chad. If you have a few moments to spare, I highly encourage you to scroll through the photos in this series. I’ve included some samples below, but the entire album is worth exploring! Each photo includes the family’s name, home city and country, weekly food expenditures, and favorite foods.