Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System
The USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System (FADS) includes three distinct but related data series on food and nutrient availability for consumption: food availability data, loss-adjusted food availability data, and nutrient availability data. The data serve as proxies for actual consumption at the national level. The food availability data series serves as the foundation for the other two series. Loss-adjusted food availability data (LAFA) are derived from food availability data by adjusting for food spoilage, plate waste, and other losses to more closely approximate actual consumption. This second data series is considered preliminary because the underlying food loss assumptions and estimates require further improvement. The nutrient availability data series calculates the daily food energy and 27 nutrients/dietary components of the U.S. food supply. This third series is no longer updated by USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP); ERS provides archived tables of this data series through 2010. Documentation is available for each of the three data series.
The food availability data include estimates for more than 200 commodities, including: individual fruits, vegetables, grains, added sugars & sweeteners, dairy products, nuts, meat, poultry, and seafood. Due to the discontinuation of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census’s Current Industrial Reports (CIR) in 2011, data are no longer available for added fats & oils (except butter), durum flour, and candy & other confectionery products. Because of this data limitation, certain summary estimates—such as per capita daily amounts of calories, food pattern equivalents (or servings), and food loss at the retail and consumer levels in the United States—cannot be calculated beyond 2010.
Following the discontinuation in 2015 of detailed data for certain canned and frozen vegetables by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, ERS continued to estimate these breakouts using historical relationships. After 2019, ERS discontinued these estimates and folded canning and freezing into “all processing” supply and availability for the affected crops (asparagus, snap beans, lima beans, carrots, sweet corn, green peas, and spinach).
Because of this data limitation, loss-adjusted food availability estimates for the seven affected vegetables—such as per capita daily quantities, calories, food pattern equivalents (or servings), and food loss at the retail and consumer levels in the United States—cannot be calculated beyond 2019.
See the Food Availability Documentation for more information.
The loss-adjusted food availability data include estimates for over 200 commodities. In 2017, ERS contracted with RTI International to form a panel of academic experts to review seven critical technical issues and seven data gaps in the LAFA series. In the report, Expert Panel on Technical Questions and Data Gaps for the ERS Loss-Adjusted Food Availability (LAFA) Data Series, the panel recommended approaches and methods to improve the series. Two of the recommended changes are included in the current update: (1) new loss factors for individual fresh fruits and vegetables, and (2) a new “edible weight” estimate at the consumer level for all commodities. See the Loss-Adjusted Food Availability Documentation for more information.
Errata: On March 29, 2021, the Dairy (fluid milk, cream, and other products) Loss-Adjusted Food Availability files were updated to correct the retail weights for half and half, eggnog, total miscellaneous cheese, and total dairy products. No other data were affected.
Errata: On July 21, 2021, the Loss-adjusted Food Availability dataset’s fruit files were revised to correct the 2019 primary weight for fresh oranges.