Americans Not Dining Out

Most ate most of their meals at home last year, survey finds

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MONDAY, Sept. 1, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Last year, Americans ate almost eight out of 10 meals at home and seemed to prefer such traditional dinners as steak, pizza and spaghetti.

That trend is detailed in an article in the August issue of Food Technology.

For the first time in many years, grocery and retail food sales exceeded restaurant revenues in 2002. American families ate together an average of four nights a week, up from three nights a week in 2001.

While overall restaurant business declined 2 percent in the first quarter of this year, there seems to be modest growth in the casual dining segment. And according to the article, 14 percent of American consumers say they plan to spend more at full-service restaurants over the next few months and 12 percent say they expect to spend more at fast-food restaurants.

Hamburgers, french fries, pizza and Mexican dishes are the most frequently ordered foods at American restaurants.

Last year, one in 10 meals was eaten on the run; 25 percent of take-out meals were consumed in the car and 22 percent eaten at work.

Restaurant portion sizes have increased greatly since the 1970s and daily caloric intake per person has increased 24 percent since that time, the article says.

Cheese consumption has grown nearly 300 percent in the last century. Milk consumption in 2002 was lower than in the 1950s, but did grow nearly 10 percent by volume over 2001.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about healthy eating.

SOURCE: Institute of Food Technologists, news release, August 2003

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