Saturday, January 26, 2008

What is Eaten in One Week..

Many of you must have received an email with that title recently. I did; a friend posted it in our mailing list, but the images didn't appear. So I did an Internet search and found the source: Peter Menzel Photography, who published a book titled Hungry Planet, and the photographs are excerpts from that book. The photos can also be viewed at TIME Photo Essays: What The World Eats
The images are photos from various countries, each features one family with a spread of food/drinks that they consume for one week, accompanied by the cost (in local currencies and in US$) and their favourite dishes.

Although I kind of knew that some nations are wealthier compared to another, and that some nations consume much more resources than the rest of the world, and value for money is different everywhere you go, these photographs show clearly how wide the gap actually is between the first and the latter.
What first came to attention was the number of family members: four people (say, family A) from country A vs eight or more B family members in country B. Then see the stack of food on A and B: A eats at least twice the amount of B! But the price A had to pay is not only twice, but could reach up to one-hundredfolds of what B spent for their food(!).

Then look at the components: the food itself, and the packaging that comes with the food. Artificial vs natural, chemicals vs organic, throw-away plastics vs refillable containers, food that travels overseas vs food that grows in your backyard. You can see all of those in the pictures, and even tell which is which.
All only confirm that we indeed need to be aware of our ecological footprints, so we get the picture about the amount of planets are needed to support ourselves, and that we have to do something to improve the situation. To quote Janine Benyus (non-verbatim), "Nature makes sure that the place they live in can still support their offsprings for thousands of years ahead, while still conducting their daily life"  - so why can't we, the so-called 'smartest species on earth'?

Right, if I keep going on, the subject will enter the zone of ethiques and philosophy. So I'd better stop. I'll leave you with some of the images (if you haven't seen them before).. and we can start pondering together: what have I been eating this previous week?               

Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11

: The Melander family of Bargteheide
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07

United States
: The Revis family of North Carolina
Food expenditure for one week $341.98

: The Casales family of Cuernavaca
Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09

: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna
Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27

: The Ahmed family of Cairo

Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53

: The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55

: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03

: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23


  1. this is interesting..lately theres been alot of talk about food security in the region at my school and the need for more research

  2. waduh.... kalo gua harus motret apa yang dimakan selama seminggu beberapa bulan kebelakang..... dijamin memalukan.... secara dengan alasan survey, 1 hari bisa pindah makan ke 5-6 tempat hehehehehe

  3. Interesting Tita, from those pics we can also compare how much trash (recycle/non recycle) their produce every week...=).btw where's the pics of Indonesian family?

  4. Ulasan yang menarik Ta. Indonesia masuk golongan mana ya?
    Yang tinggi konsumsinya, terlihat dari gambar2 di atas yang banyak packagingnya. Aku sendiri nggak habis pikir, kenapa ya orang2 lebih demen makanan packaging gitu? Nutrisinya nggak ada bikin numpuk sampah lagi. Kalau sekali sekali dan keadaannya mepet, masih bisa dimengertilah. Tapi kalau sampai jadi kebiasaan? Hmmmm....

  5. When I got this chain-mail, i noticed their expression, seems like the family who eats more (yet less healthy) food got wider smile. Or it's just me?

  6. ah... i got chilled seeing the pictures.....

  7. True... It happened to me too. I wasn't sure what to say. I just shivered. But, I like the Bhutanese family. Despite having so little, the two grandpas smile widely! :D

  8. lha gua, waktu ke cihapit itu? dari cakwe sampe rempeyek kacang ijo.. hahaha.. (utk menyembunyikan rasa bersalah: semuanya buatan lokal, radiusnya paling 10km! :D)

  9. I wonder, too. These photos are the ones that have been going around the Internet, so there must be more photos of families from different countries in that Hungry Planet book.

    About the trash: very true! Imagine the energy and resources that go into the garbage processing, subsequent to their (our!) mealtimes.

  10. Salah satu tanda bahwa mereka makin jauh dari sumber makanan asli (ladang, peternakan, dsb). Memang sih sekarang kan kita nggak semuanya bisa punya akses langsung ke sumber2 itu, tapi setidaknya bisa mengurangi makanan/minuman yg full chemicals (contoh: di rumahku, nggak pernah ada - apalagi nyetok - soda literan gitu).

  11. it's mostly self-congratulatory :P

  12. Those grandpas might have reached fulfillment of what they expect in life :)

  13. i got chilled seeing the pictures.....

    me.. all I could do was uttering a soft "haaaa?" in amazement..

  14. does it concern food supply and availability?

  15. haha benaarrr!

    tp ngitung2 makanan di sini beda ya. kita kan 'ngasih makan' orang belakang juga (buat yg punya pembantaian). jadi kalo difoto macem gitu, nggak cuma keluarga kita aja yg nampang, tapi juga para mensenachter.. termasuk supir, satpam, tukang kebon..

  16. kalo di rumahku, eyang + papa + mama + aku + luna + 3 pembantu + 5 satpam + 4 supir + 2 anak pembantu + 2 anjing
    ini baru rumah cipete, belum cinere :))

  17. Itu yang dari North Carolina.... seminggu buat makan lebih dari 350 dolar?? Hmmm..... anak-anaknya sedang tumbuh, kali yeeee.... :D

  18. haha bener banget, keliatan ya.. pada pulang main basket, langsung ke kulkas cari soda, rangsak lemari ngambil kantong kripik, terus selonjor depan tv..

  19. Esdur... gue jadi tercekat ngebayangin perasaan orang tua yang tidak bisa membuat perut anak-anaknya kenyang. Ini baru kenyang aja, belum soal asupan gizi.

  20. nah iya. pas harga susu naik drastis, kan banyak ibu2 ngasih bayinya air cucian beras.. pokoknya biar perutnya pada keisi aja dulu. miris banget.

  21. True.. they look happy there. But hey, with less than $2, they actually got much food on the table! All of those will cost me over $100 here.

  22. Mas Joko semangat banget lihat foto2 ini, dan kita terus pigi lihat foto di webpage Time. Yang kita tandain: hampir selalu ada minuman bersoda di tiap foto... :), dan 'maju' atau 'tidak maju'nya satu negara bisa dilihat dari seberapa mulus pisangnya. Hahahahahahahahhahaaa......

  23. Yeah, because theres predictions of rice shortages. Causing increase in prices. That will lead to alot of chaos- consumers can't afford their staple food. Some people went as far as to argue that rice prices has been the cause of urban riots in the region. UN is apparently encouraging developing countries to switch to potato because its more nutritious and will balance out the rice problem. But I don't think thats gonna work out too well.

  24. Ahuahahhahahahahahah! Karena kalo di negara maju adanya pisang Del Monte gitu?

  25. I understand that we are encouraged to find a substitute staple food (other than rice), but it doesn't have to be potatoes, I hope.

  26. hmmm jadi ngitung nih brapa tinggi gundukan nasikucingku perminggu yak...

  27. Wow...interesting! Kita di sini juga pengin serba-lokal, tapi kadang jatuhnya lebih mahal :( Giant supermarket chains are not ideal, tapi kalo murah gimana? Mungkin utk yg punya pilihan, it all comes down to commitment, ya?

  28. bener banget. baik dari kita (level rumah tangga) maupun dari yg berwenang menjalankan sistem (level mekanisme kota, misalkan).

  29. aku mau mulai ngitung, tapi bingung :P lagipula menu di tanggal tua pasti beda dengan menu tanggal muda. pilih mana? hehe..

  30. hiya ! sempet shock pas liat merk ini bertebaran di toko buah :))

  31. Interestingl! Thanks for posting!

    Hungry Planet? Hungry like a wolf....Planet Earth....
    Sorry once a Duranie always a Duranie ;-)