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Richard Kilgore

Average Food Spending $25-$30 per Day?

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A friend received a snail mail invitation from The FreshDiet.com offering "Gourmet Dieting in the comfort of your own home". For only $29 per day per person (that's the low-priced package - they go up to $45) if you buy the service for a month; much more expensive by the week. According to the brochure, this is such a great deal, because we spend an average of $25 - $35 per day on food.

Okay, when traveling on business I usually spend more than that, but my monthly food expenses are a little less than $900 per month. Someone out there must be spending $4,000 per month per person to off-set my food budget.

I have friends that this may appeal to, but does anyone here subscribe to this? If so, what do you think?

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Bloody hell. For that sort of money you could eat at a fine dining restaurant 2-3 times per week in Melbourne and still eat normally (and I mean eGullet normal, not a jar of pasta sauce) for the rest of the week.

I need that kind of money.


Edited by ChrisTaylor (log)

Chris Taylor

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I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

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I'm wondering about the source of The FreshDiet.com's figures, and whether or not they're also figuring in all the costs of production (gas, electricity, labour, etc.).

As well as their profit.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

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A friend received a snail mail invitation from The FreshDiet.com offering "Gourmet Dieting in the comfort of your own home". For only $29 per day per person (that's the low-priced package - they go up to $45) if you buy the service for a month; much more expensive by the week. According to the brochure, this is such a great deal, because we spend an average of $25 - $35 per day on food.

Okay, when traveling on business I usually spend more than that, but my monthly food expenses are a little less than $900 per month. Someone out there must be spending $4,000 per month per person to off-set my food budget.

I have friends that this may appeal to, but does anyone here subscribe to this? If so, what do you think?

Uhh... $900 per month = $30 a day.


PS: I am a guy.

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Yes, Shalmanese, that was my calculation, too. Was something I wrote unclear?

I know my first take was that you spend a little less than $900 a month but a re-read sees a little tongue in your cheek maybe?


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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I'm pretty extravagant when I buy food, and I just did the math. $9.50/day/person. Of course that doesn't count restaurants, wine and liquor, which would roughly double it. Yikes.


"There is nothing like a good tomato sandwich now and then."

-Harriet M. Welsch

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I suspect the classy invitation was aimed at a small group of people--very affluent, very busy people who would normally eat out but are trying to lose weight and/or eat more healthy meals. The service is a less expensive option compared to hiring a personal chef, which is something they will also do if they have families. The singles are more receptive to this kind of service.

Once I stood in the checkout line at Whole Foods behind a 30-something guy who was buying dinner from the take-out section . He was dressed in casual pants and shirt, seemed out of shape (too much time at the computer), and also seemed very distracted (work). I thought to myself, "software developer" (also, "big six-figure income"). This is what he was buying. Remember, these portions are modest. There are no leftovers.

- 2 portions of entrees

- 3 portions of side dishes

- 1 dessert

- 2 bottled drinks

- 1 box of cookies

What was the bill? Guesses?

I scooted over unobtrusively to check his total on the cash register. It was over $65. My jaw dropped. For people in this situation, the delivery service is a good option. They don't even have to drive to Whole Foods for dinner and attract the attention of nosy people like me.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average 2009 expenditure on food per consumer unit was $6,372, or $17.45/day.

I found this figure quite alarming until I followed the link and discovered that an "average consumer unit" is not a single person but an average of 2.5 persons! That brings it a little more in-line with what seems reasonable. About $7 per person per day.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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On average we spend about $15 per day for two of us. That includes some but not all wine, but not beer or hard liquor. That figure is pretty much based on cooking at home 24/7. We rarely eat out, and when we do it's frugal. I'm guessing the weekly bill edges up in the warmer months because, god help me, I can't resist the Berkeley Farmers Market. Most of the fruit and veggies sold there are mighty pricey compared to Berkeley Bowl. For the price of six servings of red beans and rice you can buy two or three peaches.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average 2009 expenditure on food per consumer unit was $6,372, or $17.45/day.

I found this figure quite alarming until I followed the link and discovered that an "average consumer unit" is not a single person but an average of 2.5 persons! That brings it a little more in-line with what seems reasonable. About $7 per person per day.

This site has a nice graphic representation of how that data breaks down:

http://www.visualeconomics.com/how-the-average-us-consumer-spends-their-paycheck/

It lays out the breakdown of at home food versus food away from home. For folks who drink wine/beer with some meals, I'd include some alcohol spending with one's typical "grocery" bill, too.

The typical eGullet-er probably has higher household and per capita income, and would typically spend more on food than this BLS "consumer unit" household, though. (Personally, I put items like verjus, sodium alginate, air-shipped fresh yuzu and pork belly for home-cured pancetta into my "entertainment/recreation" budget rather than "groceries" in Quicken....)

Regardless, for most Americans' budgets, $900 per month per peson or more sounds totally unsustainable. I have to assume that these services drive a yo-yo pattern for their typical customers - a month or two on, with some weight loss, then the bills add up and they cancel the service, put on the pounds, then repeat the cycle. Nothing about these services teaches you to cook/eat in a sustainable manner - in fact it's just the opposite.

Compare this to a system like Weight Watchers, when you look through their cookbooks, you realize that their typical customer has Sandra Lee level cooking skills. If a large slice of Americans really can't cook, this would obviously contribute to becoming overweight/obese in the first place. (I should say that maybe 1% of WW recipes are actually really good, we have 2 or 3 in our regular dinner rotation.) While WW has lots of prepared-food tie-ins, with that sort of system you have at least some chance of learning to cook sustainability for yourself/family, where these delivery schemes seem doomed to long-term failure (plus racking up debt...)

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