Food For A Week Photo Essay

There's a lot of talk about the combined problems of food waste, obesity and, paradoxically, unprecedented hunger, but nobody has been able to put food politics into perspective as succinctly as Oxfam America. With an aim to raise awareness of issues of poverty and injustice throughout the globe, Oxfam staff snapped up photos of seven different families from as far afield as Azerbaijan and Zimbabwe and the food that each family will consume in one week. Browse through our gallery of Oxfam's images and compare your weekly food consumption with each of these families.


Photo: Tom Pietrasik/Oxfam

The images include families from seven different countries, including Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka, Armenia, the United Kingdom, Tajikistan and Zimbabwe. Some of the families own their own land and others don’t, and they each have a different number of dependents. Naturally each family has access to different crops depending on their location, but as Oxfam puts it, the series is strung together by one central fact: we all have to eat.

Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Oxfam

Perhaps most shocking is the image from the United Kingdom. The only photo in the series to depict a family from the developed western world highlights the prevalence of processed foods. While all of the other families eat food in its original state—harvested straight from the ground or tree depending on what it is—the family from London sits in front of a pile of processed food provided by a local food bank.

+ Oxfam International

The great global food gap: Families around the world photographed with weekly shopping as they reveal cost ranges from £3.20 to £320

  • Snapshots of families' weekly shop from countries around the world shows the food gulf between nations

By Daily Mail Reporter

Published: 18:32 GMT, 5 May 2013 | Updated: 11:18 GMT, 9 May 2013

A study of what 30 families living around the world eat in one week shows the huge gulf between the diets of different nations.

Crisps, biscuits and chocolate treats dominate the shopping basket of the Baintons from Britain who spend an average of £155 every week to feed their family of four.

Other items on their shopping list include ready meals such as baked beans as well as convenience goods like ketchup, teabags and mayonnaise.

These pictures of their weekly food shop shows the sharp contrast between the eating habits of those in the UK and others around the globe.

Britain: The Bainton family of Cllingbourne Ducis spend £155 on their weekly food shop. They list their favourite foods as avocado, prawn cocktail and chocolate fudge cake with cream

Chad, North Africa: The Aboubakar family from Darfur, Sudan, spend £37 a week on food to feed six people

Japan: The Ukita family from Kodaira City with their £200 weekly food shop

Egypt: The Ahmed family from Cairo who spend around £43 a week on food

Luxembourg: The Kuttan-Kasses of Erpeldange who spend around £298 pounds a week on food

At a refugee camp in drought-hit Chad, north Africa, six members of the Aboubakar family are forced to last an entire week on a few bags of grain, air-dried mutton and a few jerrycans of water, costing around £37 a week.

Families in Ecuador, South America, such as the Aymes, also struggle to survive on their measly provisions.

They have just £20 to buy a week's worth of food - usually cabbage and yams for soup - to feed a family of nine.

But in other developed countries, the shopping lists resemble those of the UK.

America: The Revis family from North Carolina spend £220 on the weekly food shop which includes several fast food take-aways

Australia: The Browns pictured with a week's worth of food costing £242

Poland: The Sobczynscy family from Konstancin-Jeziorna who spend around £99 on their weekly shop

Mongolia: The Batsuuri family of Ulaanbaatar who spend around £25 a week on food

India: The Patkars of Ujjain who spend around £25 a week on food

Mali: The Natomos of Kouakourou spend around £16 on food

The Revis family in North Carolina, America, spend £220-a-week buying fast food such as pizza, Burger King and McDonald's to feed their family of four.

In Japan, the Ukita family spend £200 on their weekly shop which includes large amounts of expensive fish to cook dishes such as sashimi.

The Manzos family in Italy appear to have a more balanced diet with the fish, pasta and fresh fruit and vegetables appearing on their weekly £167 shopping list.

But the Melanders from Bargteheide, Germany beat them all with £320 spent on their weekly shop to feed four people.

It is world's away from what the Namgay family from Shingkhey Village in Buhtan have to spend to feed 13 people - a mere £3.20.

Italy: The Manzos family spend £167 a week on food including fish, pasta, fruit, vegetables and soft drinks

Ecuador: The Ayme family pictured with a week's worth of food costing £20 at their home in Tingo

Kuwait: The Al Haggan family from Kuwait City with their £140 weekly shop

Guatemala: The Mendozas of Todos Santos who spend around £48 a week on their weekly food shop

Canada: The Melansons of Iqaluit, Nunavut Territory, who spend around £220 a week on food

These unique snapshots of global eating habits are the subject of a new book, The Hungry Planet byPeter Menzel.

Menzel visited 30 families in 24 countries to research the book with his wife Faith D'Aluisio, who said: 'We hope this is a culinary atlas of the planet at a time of extraordinary change.'

Each family's profile includes a detailed description of their weekly food purchases and a portrait of the entire family surrounded by a week's worth of groceries. 

Bhutan: The Namgay family from Shingkhey Village with their weekly shop costing around £3.20

Germany: The Melander family from Bargteheide who spend around £320 on their weekly shop

Mexico: The Casales family from Cuernavaca who spend around £115 a week on food

China: The Dong family from Beijing who spend around £99 on food every week

United States: The Caven family from California who spend around £103 a week on food

France: The Le Moines of Montreuil who spend around £269 every week on food

Greenland: The Madsens of Cap Hope spend around £177 a week on food

Turkey: The Celiks of Istanbul who spend around £93 a week on food

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