When I was a child, we ate almost every dinner at home; eating out was a treat. Our family wasn’t unusual — eating in was much more common than eating out. But things have changed. Americans now spend more at restaurants than they do at grocery stores. A study by Nielsen found that “the total amount of money spent on food “away from home” (vs. at home) has risen 94% since 2003.”
Check out the below chart. The red line shows spending at grocery stores and the blue line shows restaurants and bars.
Why have Americans been increasing their restaurant spending? There are a few reasons:
- Increasing female workforce participation. As more women work outside of the home, there is less time for grocery shopping and meal preparation (and you know that the guys aren’t going to take up all the slack!).
- The Internet. Finding restaurants and ordering carryout has never been easier. Plus, the recent rise of food delivery services such as DoorDash and GrubHub has made restaurant food delivery super convenient.
- Fewer lines. Waiting in line stinks. The ability to order ahead at Starbucks, Burger King, Panera, and other restaurants eliminates the need to wait when dining out. Plus, restaurants (especially chains) have invested in technology and processes that have shortened the time between orders and food being ready.
The downside of getting more food from restaurants is that the more you eat out the more likely you are to be overweight. This is because food from restaurants tends to come in bigger portions, be more calorie dense, higher in sodium, and contain more high-fructose corn syrup, processed grains and trans fats.
Increasing female workforce participation. As more women work outside of the home, there is less time for grocery shopping and meal preparation (and you know that the guys aren’t going to take up all the slack!).
What kind of ignorant sexist statement is that? Women-centric thinking without any real basis
also the content is pretty vapid. “it costs more to eat out” lol you don’t need a chart to figure that out.
Does this study consider meal prep delivery services like Green Chef etc.? Not a restaurant and not a grocery store…..hmmm….
This measures $s, but not food actually consumed (calories, grams of protein, or somesuch). We spend more at restaurants, but don’t yet eat more. (Tho might be more calories per meal)
Good point Scott. In 1978, 18% of calories consumed were away from home. In 2008 it had risen to 32%. I don’t have data for what it is now. Probably around 40%.