NPD Publishes 23rd Annual Eating Patterns in America

— Americans are eating more at home but not using restaurants less

Chicago, Ill., October 13, 2008 – The NPD Group, a leading market research company, announces its release of the 23rd Annual Report on Eating Patterns in America, which takes a  comprehensive look into Americans' eating habits. Eating Patterns in America, which is used by leading food and beverage marketers and restaurant operators throughout the United States, focuses on how the approximately 15 food and beverage choices Americans make every day are changing.

"This is a time of high anxiety for food marketers. It’s clear that what Americans say they are doing to deal with rising food prices is not always what they are really doing,” says Harry Balzer, vice president and chief industry analyst at NPD, and an author of Eating Patterns in America. “Eating Patterns in America is a compilation of all the food-related consumer research efforts conducted by The NPD Group to understand how Americans are really feeding themselves.”

In addition to addressing how Americans are coping with rising food costs, this edition of Eating Patterns in America reveals what and where Americans eat, how they’re trimming food costs and their waists, who prepares what they eat, which appliances they use to prepare food, the most popular foods at each meal, the types of restaurants growing in popularity and what menu items are ordered most frequently.

Among the trends Balzer identified for this year’s edition of Eating Patterns in America are:

  • Americans are eating more at home…but that doesn’t mean they’re using restaurants less.
  • Breakfast bars and yogurt hit a new high at breakfast, but stopping at restaurants for breakfast also hit a new high this year.
  • Americans are losing interest in losing weight as dieting hits a new low this year.
  • Snacking is not as impulsive as you might think. Most snacks are planned more than six hours earlier. There is a shift in when the most snacking occurs — more in the morning and less in the evening.
  • Probiotics is the “new” health topic, as concerns about trans fat fades.
  • Winter is becoming a new grilling season.

Eating Patterns in America includes data from National Eating Trends®, which has tracked the daily eating habits of Americans based on their personal food diaries since 1980; CREST®, which has tracked restaurant usage since 1976; SnackTrack®, which monitors consumption of snack foods, both in-home and away; Dieting Monitor, which captures the top-of-mind dieting and health issues facing consumers today; Food Safety Monitor, which tracks consumers’ food safety concerns, food safety knowledge, and future eating intentions; Recount®, a census of restaurant locations in the U.S. and Canada; and a variety of other NPD food-related studies.

“What makes The NPD Group and its Annual Report on Eating Patterns in America unique is that Americans are telling us what they are really doing in terms of eating,” says Balzer. “It’s not what they say they are doing. It’s what they are really doing.”

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The NPD Group, Inc.
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