IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: Bar Chart On Annual Food Expenditure

May 1, 2024 | IELTS Test

The bar chart below shows the annual expenditure on food in five countries in around 2013 and 2023 in five countries. 

Below you will find a model answer for a bar chart which shows a comparison between two different years.

It would be a good idea to try answering the question yourself, before reading the model essay.

IELTS Academic Task One Question

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

The bar chart below shows the annual expenditure on food in five countries in around 2013 and 2023 in five countries. 

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Write at least 150 words.

image of a bar chart which shows the annual expenditure on food in five countries in around 2013 and 2023 in five countries.

The bar chart presents the changes in average annual household expenditure on food between approximately 2013 and 2023 across five different countries. Overall, all countries showed an upward trend in consumer expenditure on food.

In 2013, the USA recorded a food expenditure of $6,602, which rose to $7,316 by 2023. The UK, starting from a lower base of £1,703 in 2014, saw its expenditure nearly double to £3,234 in 2023, marking the most significant relative increase among the five countries, although it still retained the least expensive position. Canada showed a strong increase from £4,760 to £6,307, the highest absolute rise in expenditure, indicative of either substantial price rises or changes in consumption patterns. Similarly, South Korea’s expenditure increased from £4,700 to £6,000, demonstrating significant growth in consumer spending on food. Japan’s expenditure, while also increasing, did so at a more modest pace, from £4,400 to £4,800. 

The percentage increase tended to be smaller the more a country spent on food. The biggest percentage increase coming in the country with the cheapest food.

Analysis Of Our Model Answer

Task Achievement

  • Clarity of Overview: The introduction provides a clear overview stating the general trend observed in the data, which is that all countries exhibited an upward trend in food expenditures over the specified period. This is a crucial element in IELTS writing tasks, as it sets the stage for more detailed analysis.

Detail and Data Presentation

  • Specific Figures and Details: The response effectively uses specific data points from the bar chart, citing exact figures so that a reader could roughly recreate the bar chart by reading the essay.
  • Comparison and Contrast: The essay notes that the UK had the most significant relative increase despite having the lowest initial expenditure. This adds depth to the analysis by not only presenting data but also interpreting its implications, such as the relationship between initial spending levels and percentage increases.

Coherence and Cohesion

  • Logical Flow: The response maintains a logical flow, moving systematically from one country to another. It begins with the USA and progresses through the UK, Canada, South Korea, and Japan. This order helps maintain clarity and makes the text easy to follow.
  • Cohesive Devices: The use of phrases like “Similarly” and “while also increasing” helps in linking the sentences and maintaining cohesion throughout the response.

Lexical Resource and Accuracy

  • Descriptive Language: The response utilizes descriptive language effectively, such as “strong increase,” “significant growth,” and “modest pace.” These terms not only help to vary vocabulary but also provide a clearer picture of the trends.
  • Accuracy: The data is presented accurately according to the chart, and the added analysis regarding the relationship between expenditure levels and percentage increases shows a deeper understanding of the data.

How to Continue Your IELTS Study

If you would like to get some IELTS practice, answer the same question and purchase one of our Writing Correction Packages to get feedback.

If you would like to watch a video about how to write IELTS General Task 1 letters, visit this page.

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