Are you cooking at home more than you used to and eating out at fast-food restaurants less? If so, you are right on trend.
Today, 82 percent of the meals Americans eat are prepared at home, a much higher percentage than a decade ago, according to research from NPD Group Inc. cited by Bloomberg.
At the same time, restaurant dining has declined. The average American ate out about 185 times last year, whereas in 2000 they ate out about 216 times a year, NPD reported. In fact, in 2018, the total number of restaurant visits per person hit its lowest point in 28 years, according to Bloomberg.
So what’s driving the eat-at-home trend? A bunch of things, probably. But a lot of it may be that the money-versus-convenience ratio is changing.
Cooking meals at home is getting more convenient. We stay in and watch Netflix and so eat at home, rather than, say, going out to the movies and grabbing dinner out. Pre-made meals and online grocery delivery are on the rise, Bloomberg notes, making eating at home a cinch.
Meanwhile, eating out has gotten more expensive, as restaurants have boosted prices to keep up with rising labor and rent costs. Add to that the increasing pressure of student debt, the high cost of childcare and a growing interest in eating healthy meals, and home cooking — often cheaper and healthier — starts to look a lot more appealing than forking over for a high-cal fast-food meal.
To mitigate the effects of the changing consumer habits on their bottom lines, some fast-food chains — like Chick-fil-A — are testing meal kits you can buy in the drive-thru lane and cook at home, Bloomberg reports.