Student Work

  • Data Visualization (MS)

    Rik Ghosh

    A Century of American Food

    Americans are thought to be fond of fad diets, paradigms of eating often based on novel, ever-changing nutrition research. This project is concerned with how American food consumption has actually changed throughout the past century and illustrating to what extent it has responded to historical events. It considers the distribution of foods in the American food supply, which foods Americans desire to eat, and ultimately the foods that are available for them to eat. Tracking this over a span of 100 years, the visualization consists of a timeline exploring this changing distribution, which is punctuated by qualitative information about significant events in areas like nutrition research, agricultural technology, trend diets, and official dietary guidelines. The project superimposes all of the information to create an honest depiction of the history of the food supply (and, indirectly, food consumption) in America. Avoiding reductive statistics and statements, it curates previously uncombined sources of data and portrays them clearly and plainly, inviting readers to discover relationships between them.