Apparent Consumption of Foodstuffs

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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    The annual Apparent Consumption collection provides a general overview of the supply and utilisation of approximately 130 basic foodstuff groups for the resident mean population in Australia. The information in the series focuses on the major food groups and covers:

    • The quantity of food available (supply);
    • Where the food supply goes (utilisation);
    • The amount of food apparently consumed by each person.

    The broad data groups include meat and meat products, poultry, seafood, dairy products, fruit and fruit products, vegetables, grain products, eggs, nuts, oils and fats, sugars, and beverages. The term apparent consumption is used because it is assumed that all the foodstuffs available are consumed.

    The purpose of this collection is to provide details on the supply and utilisation of the major food groups. In the past the Apparent Consumption of Foodstuffs (ACF) publication has included a Nutrition Table identifying the nutrient intake of Australians. This is no longer published by the ABS however in 1999 the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), in conjunction with the Australian and New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA), undertook to produce nutrient tables from the Apparent Consumption of Foodstuff series for the four years 1994-95, 1995-96, 1996-97 and 1997-98. To date, the AIHW has not released this nutrition data as a publication.

    The Apparent Consumption series is a derived collection and is reliant on source collections. As such, the scope and coverage are determined by these collections. The major collections being the Agricultural Census (AC)/ Agricultural Commodity Survey (ACS), the Manufacturing Survey of Inventories and Production, Merchandise Imports and Merchandise Exports, and Livestock Products collections.

    Currently the ACS covers agricultural establishments with an Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) > $5000. In 1998/99 the sample was about 35,000 establishments. This number covered the broad range of agricultural production with a census for the apple and pear industry, the viticulture industry and the honey and beekeeping industry. The sample is selected to enable distribution of data at the Statistical Division level.

    The Survey of Inventories and Production conducts a census of all establishments that, according to ABS records, are mainly engaged in manufacturing, employ four or more persons, and produce the commodities of interest to the ACF collection.

    The scope of the collection undertaken for Merchandise Exports and Imports concords with that recommended by the United Nations Statistical Division and covers all moveable goods (with some identified exceptions) which subtract from, or add to, Australia's stock of material resources, as a result of their movement out of, or into, Australia.
    Excise data is collected for all goods manufactured or produced in Australia dutiable under the Schedule of the Excise Tariff Act 1921. The only product the ACF uses is the data relating to beer, wine and spirits.

    The Livestock Slaughter survey covers all livestock slaughter houses involved in producing meat for both the local and export market.

    The other ABS collection used as part of the ACF and also conducted by the Manufacturing area is the Flourmillers survey. This is a user funded survey and collects data from all Australian flour millers.

    The ABS Agricultural section send out data requests to the Australian Dairy Corporation, the sugar refiners, the Ricegrowers Cooperative, the Peanut Company, the Apple and Pear Association and the Australian Dried Fruit Association.


    Conceptual framework
    In general, apparent consumption of the various foodstuffs is estimated using the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) measurement for availability of foodstuffs. The apparent consumption equation is as follows:

    Commercial production

    • Estimated home production
    • Imports
    • Opening stocks


    • Use for processed food
    • Non-food use
    • Wastage
    • Closing stocks

    Per capita apparent consumption is total apparent consumption divided by the mean resident population for the period.

    Population data are derived from those published in Australian Demographic Statistics ( ABS Cat No. 3101.0). Figures are revised as more recent data becomes available.

    The consumption equation is not used in those instances where certain components of the general equation are not available. These include milk, some milk products, cheese, rice, bread, butter, sugar, wheaten flour and dried fruits which are estimated on the basis of domestic deliveries, and beer, wine and spirits which are compiled using excise duty and import clearance data.

    Main outputs
    The information in the series focuses on the major food groups and covers:

    • The quantity of food available (supply);
    • Where the food supply goes (utilisation);
    • The amount of food apparently consumed by each person.

    The broad data groups include meat and meat products, poultry, seafood, dairy products, fruit and fruit products, vegetables, grain products, eggs, nuts, oils and fats, sugars, and beverages.

    Broad foodgroups (12) broken down into 130 basic foodstuff groups. The groups have been reduced over the years as a result of information becoming unavailable.

    Other concepts (summary)
    Data are compiled at the national level; hence it is not possible to provide details by State for the various foodstuffs.


    Comments and/or Other Regions
    The methodology used in the calculation of ACF does not provide for the calculation of data at a lower level.


    Frequency comments
    The final publication of the Apparent Consumption of Foodstuffs data (ABS Cat No. 4306.0) was compiled in relation to the 1998-99 reference period.

    The compilation of the series Apparent Consumption of Foodstuffs and Nutrients commenced in the 1930's and incorporated consumption and nutrient information. Since 1994-95 the publication no longer includes nutrition information.

    A major review of the collection was undertaken in 1999. Some revisions were made as a result and some recommendations have been made in respect to any subsequent publications of Apparent Consumption of Foodstuffs (ACF).

    Prior to 1999 the last major review of data items and collection methodology was undertaken in 1983 with revisions undertaken back to 1975. In 1992 a Survey of Home Production of Foodstuffs was conducted to update benchmarks for the calculation of home production. These data were previously calculated using information collected in 1944; it is envisaged that the home production data would be updated on a ten yearly basis.

    Following the 1996-97 Agriculture Census a decision to conduct the Agriculture Census on a five yearly basis was made for a number of reasons, predominantly issues of respondent load. It was also decided to conduct an Agriculture Commodity Survey using a sample approach in the intervening years. The sample size in 1998-99 was considerably reduced and this resulted in some commodities having an Relative Standard Error > 50% at the Australian level. For these commodities production data were not published.

    The Apparent Consumption of Foodstuffs series has now been discontinued.


    Data availability comments
    The nutrient data were not included as part of the Apparent Consumption series from 1994-95 onwards. The most current apparent consumption data available relates to the reference period 1998-99 and was published in October 2000.

    31/05/2007 11:35 AM