13 Interesting Facts About America’s Eating Habits

February 8, 2014 Updated: February 8, 2014

Over the past year, consumers have been shifting their priorities when it comes to what they want to eat, when they eat, and where they eat. In the January issue of Food Technology magazine, published by the Institute of Food Technologists, Contributing Editor A. Elizabeth Sloan writes about consumers’ mealtime choices and behaviors in 2013.

1. In a single day, American’s typically eat and drink 14 different kinds of food and beverages from sandwiches, fruit, vegetables, carbonated soft drinks, milk, coffee, potatoes, salty snacks, juices, and ready-to-eat cereal. (NPD, 2013)

2. The largest restaurant chains in America from the highest-grossing are McDonalds, Subway, Starbucks, Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Donuts, Pizza Hut, KFC, and Chik-fil-A. (Technomic, 2013)

3. Forty-five percent of Millennials and 24 percent of Boomers have adopted a special diet (for example, gluten-free or vegan).

One-third of all Millennials’ eating involve global cuisine. Fifty-six percent of Millennials want something healthy for their next snack. (Hartman, 2013)

4. Millennials are round-the-clock eaters. Twelve percent of their eating occasions are for breakfast, 16 percent are for morning snacks, 15 percent lunch, 17 percent afternoon snacks, 18 percent dinner, and 20 percent evening snacks. (Hartman, 2013)

5. Snacking now accounts for just over half of all eating occasions. One in five people eat one snack per day; 41 percent have two, 24 percent have three, 13 have four, and 4 percent have five or more. (Hartman, 2013)

6. Consumers are most interested in savory flavors, including spicy, smoky, and tangy flavors. Sour and bitter flavors are also drawing increased interest from consumers. (Technomic 2013)

7. For the first time, a majority of consumers say they prefer hot or spicy sauces, dips, and condiments and bolder flavors. Chile sauce, cayenne, Sriracha, and habanero and ancho peppers are delivering the “new” heat. (Technomic, 2013)

8. Specialty cheeses account for more than two-thirds of deli cheese sales. Gouda, Brie, bleu, and goat cheese are increasingly strong sellers as are Mediterranean and Hispanic cheeses. More U.S. cheesemakers and retailers are embracing affinage, the art of aging cheeses. (IDDBA, 2014)

9. More than half of adults buy specialty chocolate, oils, and cheese. (Tanner, 2013)

10. The percentage of all meals eaten and prepared in the home in 2013 was exactly the same as in 2012—73 percent, up from 70 percent five years ago. (NPD, 2013)

11. Half of adults bought prepared foods at a convenience store in 2013. Hot dogs, followed by deli sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, pizza, and other breakfast foods were the popular items. (CS News, 2013)

12. Forty percent of specialty-food consumers bought food online. (Tanner, 2013)

13. About one-third of adults are devoted breakfast-eaters who never pass it up. (Technomic, 2013)

From Newswise