Using actual food sales data, NielsenIQ created a county-level multiplier to reflect the local cost of food. To develop the average cost of a meal, we use this multiplier to weight the national average amount spent on a meal by the food secure – $3.13.

We also use the county-level multiplier to weight the national average of additional money a food insecure person reports needing per week to meet their food needs – $17.64. To calculate the total additional money required to meet food needs in 2019, we multiply the weekly amount by the number of food insecure people in the selected geography, then by 52 weeks, and finally by (7/12) – the average portion of the year in which a food insecure person experiences food insecurity.