Americans spent nearly 8% less on food in 2020

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 8:06 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant slowdown in the economy meant Americans spent almost 8% less on food in 2020. Taking the biggest hit were restaurant sales which were down by one fifth as total food sales last year totaled almost 1.8 trillion dollars—down 100 billion from 2019. The USDA study also showed that for the first time since 2003, consumers spent more at the grocery store than they did at restaurants as grocery store sales reached $877 billion—up 69 billion—while restaurant spending came to $813 billion—a drop of $165 billion from 2019. The average American household spent just over 73 hundred dollars on food last year—down over 800 dollars from 2019.

China’s hog herd, which was devastated by African Swine Fever, has been rebuilt. New numbers show pork production in China was up 43% for the July through September quarter—their highest production levels in 2 years. Most of the increases came about because of Chinese investments in new hog operations around the country even though hog prices are down 65% in China this year.

The Agricultural Research Service has finished a study showing that eggs, live poultry, cattle, hogs and many insects like flies and mosquitoes are not able to replicate the Coronavirus and pass it on to humans. They found that only white tailed deer are susceptible to the virus. Scientists at the Agricultural Research Service did not study companion animals like dogs and cats for their research. But the American Veterinary Medical Association has said those pets, including hamsters, can contract the virus but there are no confirmed cases of those animals passing the virus on to humans.

The state Department of Public Instruction has hired a new Agriculture and Natural Resources education consultant. Sally Albers Ladsten who is currently teaching agriculture and biology at Sauk Prairie High School will take the job starting January 31st of next year. She is a graduate of the UW-River Falls and was also the 2015-2016 Wisconsin FFA President. Besides her consulting work, Ladsten will also serve as the Wisconsin FFA advisor. She succeeds Jeff Hicken who passed away earlier this year. Hicken also left his teaching position at Sauk Prairie when he took the consultant job at DPI.

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