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What Do You Think is the Most Popular Food in the US?

When people visit the US from other countries, one of the first things that they are apt to notice is which foods are popular here. That isn’t surprising since it is common when Americans visit other countries, they do the same thing. In fact, it is often a culture shock to visit another country and find that they don’t have foods that are exceptionally common in the US. However, many Americans don’t even know what the most popular foods are in the US.

This also isn’t surprising because there can be considerable regional variations. For example, the southeast US is well-known for Creole food and Gumbo. While these can be found in the Pacific Northwest, they aren’t nearly as popular here, and thus, aren’t as common. On the other hand, the US truly is a melting pot of different cultures and this has a bearing on the popularity of the foods throughout the nation.

If you were to guess what the most popular food of all is in the US, what would you say?

Chances are that if you asked random Americans this question, they’d have a tendency to say that the most popular food is a burger, with or without the fries. This is undoubtedly a very popular food in the US. According to the USDA Economic Research Center, Americans consume 50 billion burgers a year. That is 75 burgers per second for every second in the day, 365 days a year. Would it surprise you to learn that burgers aren’t the most popular food in America, though?

Pound for pound, easily the most popular meal food in the USA is pizza. On average, Americans consume 23 pounds of pizza per year for every man, woman, and child. That is an average of about 350 slices of pizza per second! That’s a lot of pizza.

Since Mozzarella cheese is likely to be cooked on pizza, it isn’t surprising that it is the most popular cheese in the US, either. Americans eat about 11.5 pounds of Mozzarella per year, per person. Cheddar is the second most popular cheese at about 9.6 pounds per person per year. 

The most popular vegetable in the US is easily potatoes with the average American eating over 52 pounds per year, normally eaten as a side dish rather than a meal. Tomatoes are second (ignoring the fact that tomatoes are fruits). Americans eat a little more than 30 pounds of tomatoes per year, per person. That is a little deceiving, though, because this includes tomato sauce, tomato juice, ketchup, and so forth. Since pizza sauce is primarily tomato sauce with herbs added for flavor, this no doubt accounts for a lot of the tomatoes that are eaten. Oranges and Apples are the most popular fruits, mostly in the form of juices (28 and 26 pounds per person per year, respectively.) Bananas are a distant third at a little more than 10 pounds per person per year.

Incidentally, in case you are curious, the USDA ERC also lists the consumption of sweeteners consumed by Americans each year. This includes sugar, corn syrup, other syrups, stevia, and artificial sweeteners. The number is staggering. Americans consume about 130 pounds of sweeteners per person, per year.

Still, the most popular food in the US isn’t burgers, it is pizza.

  • Would you have guessed that the most popular food in the US was pizza?

    • Yes
    • No
    • I love pizza
    • I don’t like pizza

What do you think?

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Written by Rex Trulove

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