Nutrient Content
of the U.S. Food Supply


Food Supply Home

Food Availability

Food Composition Data

Food Supply Methodologies

Food Supply Database

Frequently Asked Questions

Related Publications

The U.S. food supply, a historical series measuring the amount of nutrients per capita per day available for consumption, is the only continuous source of food and nutrient availability in the United States with extended data back to 1909. Per capita food supply estimates provide information on the amount of food and nutrients available for consumption. They are useful to assess trends in food and nutrient composition over time, for monitoring the potential of the food supply to meet the nutritional needs of Americans, and for examining relationships between food availability and diet-health risk.

Food supply data differ from dietary survey data: food supply data measure food and nutrient availability as national totals whereas dietary survey data (such as USDA's Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals) provide data on food and nutrient intakes reported by individuals and households.

The nutrient content of the food supply provides per capita estimates for food energy and the energy-yielding nutrients-protein, carbohydrate, and fat-as well as for total fat; saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids; cholesterol; dietary fiber; 10 vitamins; and 9 minerals from 1909 through 2004. Additionally, nutrient estimates are provided for 19 individual fatty acids for the years 1980 through 2004. The nutrient content of the food supply is updated periodically by USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP). This update is calculated using data on the amount of food available for consumption from USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) and information on nutrients available in the food supply, from USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Estimates of per capita consumption for each commodity (in pounds per year) are multiplied by the amount of food energy and each of the nutrients assessed in the edible portion of the food. The results from approximately 400 foods are then totaled for each nutrient and presented on a per day basis.

For additional information on the Nutrient Content of the U.S. Food Supply contact John Webster by e mail at:

For more information click on: food availability, food composition data and selected food supply methodologies.