Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Family Dinner is not Dead

In a new study Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ found; “The Family Dinner is Not Dead however it is evolving from cook from scratch to meal assembly.”  Let’s set the table; sales of food for at-home consumption in the US are at $147.3 billion totaled over 50% more than eating and drinking place sales in the first two months of 2015 according to The Food Institute”  But not all food for dinner or meal components come from traditional retail, restaurant, or grocery outlet today. 

Although grocery sales will almost certainly continue to outpace eating out sales for the forseable future, people are eating away from home more. During the first two months of 2015, grocery sales accounted for 61.1% of all food sales while compared to 62.6% a year earlier – down 1.5%. Eating and drinking places’ share meanwhile, rose 1.5% to 38.9%. In short customers are continuing to migrate too Ready-2-Eat from cook from scratch when they can. Consumers first choice is not cooking from scratch any longer.

However a new Gallup study found that most U.S. Families with children under 18 still dine together at home. “The average 5.1 dinners that families share each week is down slightly from 5.4 in 1997, but unchanged from 2001” according to Gallup. 

The study did find “there has been a slight increase in the percentage eating together less than four times per week; this was 16% in 1997, but jumped to 22% by 2001 and has remained at that level since. With unemployment dropping the occasions of eating at restaurants will continue to climb according to Gallup. 
Gallup found “since 2001 married parents report eating dinner at home with their families more often than unmarried ones. Married parents report that their family eats 5.3 dinners at home weekly, on average, compared with 4.8 dinners weekly among those who are not married.”

The same study found “parents who work full time dine slightly less frequently with their families than those who work part time or who don't work (5.0 dinners vs. 5.3). Also, parents who are aged 35 and older enjoy fewer family dinners than do younger parents (5.0 dinners vs. 5.3, respectively).

Remember that 50% of U.S. consumers over the age of 18 are still single when you think about this data. Regular readers of this blog know that we have documented time and time again that cooking from scratch is something from a by-gone era, and meal assembly is home cooking today.  

The family dinner is not dead, it has certainly changed.  Is your restaurant, C-store, or grocery store selling Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared meal component’s that can be mix & matched into a customized family meal?  You should be.  Think Customer Migration, think The 65 Inch HDTV Syndrome

Are you interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: or visit: for more information.

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