January 22, 2013

Energy used in US Food System growing rapidly

Food as a share of the national energy budget grew from 12% in 1997 to 14% in 2002 to 16% in 2007 according to a new report prepared by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

The report states that the increase in food-related energy use was over 80% of the total energy increase nationwide between 1997 and 2002. Food related energy use is the fastest growing sector of energy use in the US economy. 

During 1997-2002, per capita food-related energy use in the United States increased by 16.4 percent. The population of the United States grew by more than 14 million over the period, pushing total energy use up by 3.3 percent and effecting an increase in total food-related energy use of 22.4 percent.

Food processing showed the largest growth in energy use over this period, as both households and foodservice establishments increasingly outsourced manual food preparation and cleanup activities to the manufacturing sector, which relied on energy using technologies to carry out these processes.

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