What does a week of groceries look like for you? Do you buy a lot of fruits, maybe some vegetables? Or, do you go for the frozen pizza and cookies? Peter Menzel photographed one week of groceries for families around the world. Traveling to places like Mexico, France, Chad, Mongolia, and more, he highlights the differences between the type and amount of food that is bought each week. Some of the disparity is staggering, especially when comparing volume of food and nutritional value on a week to week basis.
Being from the US, I was not surprised at the amount of processed food I saw. In this photograph, there are very few fruits and vegetables. Compared with places like Turkey and India, whose diets are comprised of mostly fresh foods, it was kind of disgusting. Just think about how many preservatives and chemicals there are! Something that’s pretty consistent from country to country is the purchase of liquids each week. Sodas (especially Coca-Cola), juices, bottled water are all things that showed up in nearly every picture. The family in Germany includes several bottles of wine and beer, which doesn’t amount to that much over the week, but together seems significant.
Of course, this is just a snapshot of one family and not necessarily indicative of how an entire country eats. We don’t know the finer details of the subjects, like the city they live in or their socioeconomic status. But, it does point to some trends and cultural habits that exist. It also gives us a snapshot to how other people unlike us live, which is always a good thing to be aware of.