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This guide covers resources for the study of the history and social ramifications of food. See the Nutrition guide for other topics.
The NYC Food Policy website was created to share information about how the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy works to increase food security, promote access to and consumption of healthy foods, and support economic opportunity and environmental sustainability in the food system. It publishes the annual Food Metrics Report, and reports on the five borough food flow, as well as information on other food programs and policy initiatives, like Meatless Mondays.
Food Bank’s research and policy analysis helps them engage in public policy discussions at the city, state and federal levels in order to help make impactful, long-term improvements for New Yorkers in need.
The Sanitation Foundation is the official nonprofit organization of the NYC Department of Sanitation. It organizes the NYC Food Waste Fair, Zero Waste programs, webinars and workshops, and has a resource library with podcasts, news articles, books and other resources on sustainability.
GrowNYC's mission is to improve New York City's quality of life through environmental programs that transform communities block by block and empower all New Yorkers to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations. It runs the Greenmarkets, as well as a variety of other recycling programs and educational events.
The US Census also gathers critical national food data, gathered from Health and Nutrition, Agriculture, and Food Business informational categories. Taken every 10 years since 1790, census data can be used for both historical and contemporary research. (That said, data is kept anonymous for 72 years, so contemporary specific business and personage research is impossible.)
Statista aggregates data on markets, industry, politics, economics, and population. Users can export datasets in a variety of formats. Sources include trade publications, market and opinion research institutions, government sources, business and economic databases, reference publications, media sources, and scholarly articles. Include Statista's "Global Consumer Survey", which helps marketers understand consumer behavior and brand interaction.
World DataBank is a portal to access each of the World Bank datasets, including its World Development Indicators, Global Financial Database, Poverty and Equity Database, Gender Statistics, and more. Users can create custom extracts and export data into various tabular formats.
Statistical Insight provides indexing and abstracts for federal, state, and international statistical publications as well as selected business and professional publications containing statistics. Approximately 20% of the federal statistical publications are available in full text. This resource includes all content from the American Statistics Index (ASI), Statistical Reference Index (SRI), and Index to International Statistics (IIS), including Statistical Datasets. Dates of coverage: 1973 to present.
The USDA’s website is a vast haven for contemporary food research. It holds some of the most fundamental gastronomic and agricultural raw data, synthesized data, and organizational information. Some highlights are the USDA’s Economic Research Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service (which holds free and valuable resources like the Nutritive Value of Foods, Home and Garden Bulletin), and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Also incredibly valuable is the National Agricultural Library, which has copious current and historical data and information on food, agriculture, resource management, nutrition, and science.
UNdata is the data download portal of the United Nations. Users can search by country, year, and indicator and create custom data extracts to download. UNData also includes an API that developers can use to query, display results externally, and download to local storage for further analysis. The data portal includes datasets from the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), World Health Organization (WHO), and more.
The Mintel International Group’s Annual Mintel Report is a fundamental resource of any food business and trend data search. Once logged into the website, there are a number of sectors that may interest food studies scholars. These include Drink, Food, Foodservice, and Health and Wellness. Topics are broken down further to product constituencies, like “Poultry” or “Sauces and Seasonings”. This is helpful for a researcher to view professionally analyzed food trends and observations, gathered from many sources of data.
The Big Mac Index was invented by the Economist in 1986 to explain better the concept of exchange-rate theory through "Burgernomics." Although it was meant as a humorous heuristic, it has persisted. For Food Studies scholars, the economic system has extra value, as an immediate index tool for discovering aggregated commodity, labor, and retail values worldwide, as understood through McDonald's and Cheeseburgers. Datasets, which are updated monthly, are fully available for download, but the online tool is interactive and easy to use.