20 | Agriculture Fact Book | Chapter 2
America’s sweet tooth increased 39 percent between 1950–59 and 2000 as use of corn sweeteners octupled
Pounds per capita, dry weight
High fructose corn syrup
Other caloric sweeteners
Total caloric sweeteners
Cane and beet sugar
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding. 1Edible syrups (sugarcane, sorgo, maple, and refiner’s), edible molasses, and honey. Source: USDA’s Economic Research Service.
Consumption of Caloric Sweeteners Hits Record High in 1999
Americans have become conspicuous consumers of sugar and sweet-tasting foods and beverages. Per capita con- sumption of caloric sweeteners (dry- weight basis)—mainly sucrose (table sugar made from cane and beets) and corn sweeteners (notably high-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS)—increased 43 pounds, or 39 percent, between 1950-59 and 2000 (table 2-6). In 2000, each Amer- ican consumed an average 152 pounds of caloric sweeteners, 3 pounds below 1999’s record average 155 pounds. That amounted to more than two-fifths of a pound—or 52 teaspoonfuls—of added sugars per person per day in 2000. Of that 52 teaspoons, ERS estimates that Americans wasted or otherwise lost 20 teaspoons, resulting in an average intake of about 32 teaspoons of added sugars per person per day.
USDA recommends that the average per- son on a 2,000-calorie daily diet include no more than 40 grams of added sugars. That’s about 10 teaspoons, or the amount of sugar in a 12-ounce soft drink. Sugar— including sucrose, corn sweeteners, honey, maple syrup, and molasses—is ubiquitous and often hidden. In a sense, sugar is the number one food additive. It turns up in some unlikely places, such as pizza, bread, hot dogs, boxed mixed rice, soup, crack- ers, spaghetti sauce, lunch meat, canned vegetables, fruit drinks, flavored yogurt, ketchup, salad dressing, mayonnaise, and some peanut butter. Carbonated so- das provided more than a fifth (22 per- cent) of the refined and added sugars in the 2000 American food supply, com- pared with 16 percent in 1970.
Food Expenditures and Prices
What does it cost Americans to eat what they eat? Total food expenditures, which includes imports, fishery products, and food originating on farms, were $844.2 billion in 2001, an increase of 3.8 percent over those in 2000. Average food expen- ditures came to $2,964 per capita, 2.8 percent above the 2000 average. Away- from-home meals and snacks captured 47 percent of the U.S. food dollar in 2001, up from 45 percent in 1991 and 40 per- cent in 1981.