Many factors influence how we as Americans eat - everything from our age to how much money we earn to whether or not we have children in our lives whose dietary needs or whims must be prioritized daily. As a result our eating habits are as varied and individualized as we ourselves are. Food industry players nonetheless have opportunities to target a wide variety of consumers whose choices often revolve among three key priorities: health, convenience, and variety.
In this data-packed Packaged Facts report, How We Eat: Retail and Foodservice Opportunities in When and Where America Eats, we examine modern mealtime habits and how these three core food priorities combine into a variety of trends that will continue to influence the food and beverage landscape into the foreseeable future. Our look at when Americans eat not only tracks in detail the times when various consumer segments are having meals, but how these patterns influence their tendencies to snack, to eat more than three meal a day, to make unhealthy food choices, and to eat socially or alone.
Our analysis also spans retail and foodservice. Food spending, whether at home or at restaurants, has been driven by the youngest and the oldest adult brackets. seniors are spending somewhat more on both food at home and food away from home than they did in 2007, while younger adult consumers are spending a great deal more on food at home (20%) and food away from home (23%). Spending growth among younger adults is driven by population increases, whereas spending increases among older consumers suggest a lifestyle change - not coincidentally, 2011 marks the first year that Baby Boomers have reached the age of 65. These consumers bring with them not only household wealth accrued over time, but also restaurant engagement levels greater than that of earlier generations, driving spending growth.
The research in this report is based primarily on Packaged Facts' ongoing coverage of the food and beverage retail and foodservice markets. This includes data analyzed from Packaged Facts' proprietary Food Shopper Insights Survey, conducted in March 2011 and based on a sample of 2,000 U.S. adults balanced to census data on measures of gender, age bracket, geographic region, household income level, and presence of children in the household). The report also draws on customized cross tabulations of data from The Experian Simmons National Consumer Survey covering Spring 2007 through Fall 2011. Additional information was gathered from various government, business, and trade media including the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey.