Vegetable Consumption Dropped in 2023

Clint ThompsonVegetables

Field of cabbage.

Vegetable consumption dipped in 2023, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) Situation and Outlook Report. USDA ERS data indicated that the domestic availability (proxy for consumption) was 155.4 million pounds, a 2.2% decrease from availability in 2022.

Per capita availability of lettuce actually increased by 3% to 31.5 pounds in 2023, though there were differences in lettuce varieties. Per capita availability of field-grown leaf and romaine lettuces increased 6.4% to 18.1 pounds, while the per capita availability of iceberg lettuce dropped 2.2% to 13.4 pounds.

There were also significant decreases in the per capita availability of major brassica crops. Cauliflower dropped 19.2%, cabbage dropped 2.8%, and broccoli dropped 7.7%.

Per capita availability of some non-brassica crops increased, while others declined. Celery declined by 5.3%, while cucumbers reached a record high, increasing by 3.9% to 8.5 pounds per person. Bell peppers decreased 3.3%, as did carrots, 2.4%; pumpkins, 8.5%; and squash, 2.4%. Sweet corn increased 2.9%, and tomatoes increased 1.3%.

Trends indicate that consumers are influenced by a combination of health considerations, culinary preferences and environmental awareness.