At A Glance

Noteworthy Characteristics

  • The CNPP Food Prices Database provides average national prices of foods in their “as-consumed” form.
  • Prices are in dollars per 100g consumed.
  • Prices may be updated to current costs using Consumer Price Indexes.

Website

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/usdafoodplanscostoffood.htm

Purpose

To collect data about estimated cost of specific food items consumed in the United States (U.S.).

Target Population

Food items that were purchased by individuals and families in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia.

Conducted

Individual food prices calculated since 2001. Calculated periodically. Last year that food prices were calculated was 2004.

Sponsor

Center for Nutrition and Policy Promotion, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Special Note(s)

Cost of food is estimated “as consumed,” which differs from the cost of food “as purchased.” Cost “as consumed” accounts for changes in weight due to cooking and excludes refuse, such as the peel on vegetables and bones on meat.

CNPP has released two versions of the individual food prices database—2001-2002 and 2003-2004—each corresponding to a 2-year cycle of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Sampling

Sample Design

Cross-sectional survey. Learn more about the sampling design.
Source of Information: The database was developed using information from four different data sets:
• The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)
• The Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Surveys (FNDDS)
• The National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23 (SR-23)
• The Nielsen Homescan® Consumer Panel

Data are representative only to the Census region level. Sample sizes for certain Census divisions are insufficient.

Sample Size

Approximately 4,600 food items.

Special Note(s)

The database estimates national average prices of foods reported consumed in NHANES by using national average food price data from the Nielsen Homescan® Consumer Panel. This panel contains the prices paid for food items by households, selected and weighted to reflect the U.S. population. The food purchases of these households were collected over a 1-year period.

Key Variables

Diet-Related

NameMethods of Assessment
Average national prices for individual foodsCalculated from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data on amount of food consumed by individuals, the Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Surveys, and the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23 information on nutrient content. These data are used to estimate ingredients, which are matched to purchase data found in the Nielsen Homescan® Consumer Panel

Geocode/Linkage

NameMethods of Assessment
Census regionN/A

Data Access and Cost

Data Availability

Obtain data from the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

Cost

Free of charge.

Geocode/Linkage

Geocode Variable(s)

None noted.

Existing Linkages

The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion Food Prices Database can be linked to the 24-hour recall food intake data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). A separate prices database corresponds to the 2001-2002 and 2003-2004 surveys.

Selected Publications

Diet-Related

Carlson A, Lino M, Fungwe T. The low-cost, moderate cost, and liberal food plans, 2007. Washington (DC): U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, 2007. Report No. CNPP-20.

Carlson A, Lino M, Fungwe TV, Guenther PM. Eating a healthy diet: Is cost a major factor? Paper presented at the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association’s 2009 AAEA & ACCI Joint Annual Meeting, Milwaukee, WI, July 26-28, 2009.

Carlson A, Lino M, Juan W-Y, Hanson K, Basiotis PP. Thrifty food plan, 2006. Washington (DC): U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, 2007. Report No. CNPP-19.

Drewnowski A. The cost of U.S. foods as related to their nutritive value. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2010;92(5):1181-1188.

Wen You, Zhang G, Davy BM, Carlson A, Lin B-H. Food consumed away from home can be a part of a healthy and affordable diet. Journal of Nutrition 2009;139(10):1994-1999.

Methods

Carlson A, Lino M, Juan WY, Marcoe K, Bente L, Hiza HB, Guenther PM, Leibtag E. Development of the CNPP Prices Database. Washington (DC): U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, 2008. Report No. CNPP-22.

Resources

Documentation/Codebook(s)

Carlson A. CNPP Prices Food Prices Database 2003-04, Users Guide, USDA, CNPP, 2009