How Much Time Shoppers Spend On Food

Articles
November 17, 2011

How Much Time Shoppers Spend On Food

The Food Institute reports on new research from the Department of Agriculture on How Much Time Americans Spend on Food that sheds light on what Americans actually do regarding their meals and is of interest to everyone in the food industry from manufacturers to retailers to restaurant operators.

The Food Institute reports on new research from the Department of Agriculture on How Much Time Americans Spend on Food that sheds light on what Americans actually do regarding their meals and is of interest to everyone in the food industry from manufacturers to retailers to restaurant operators.

Here are just a few tidbits the Food Institute culled from the report and a bit of their own insights into the findings. We will tell you how to get a copy of the report shortly.

Families apparently do eat together but far from all of the time. USDA reported that for people living in multi-person households (two or more people) 56% of the time they ate their primary meals together, and 36% of the time they consumed their so-called secondary eating with one another. Secondary meals are those consumed while doing everything like watching television, driving or preparing other meals. We are obviously a nation of multi-taskers!

And talking about prepping for meals, on an average day, Americans age 18 and over spent 33 minutes in food preparation, including cleanup. But the primary person preparing the meals spent just over an hour on this activity. Sounds like that means consumers certainly are time starved, according to The Food Institute, which notes that year after year convenience products that can shorten meal prep time are constantly among the most predominant new products introduced - a trend that is not likely to change any time in the near future.

Retailers also have to realize how time starved those consumers are. USDA found that  on a typical day, only about 14 percent of Americans age 18 and over shopped for groceries, so it is far from an everyday occurrence. Looking at that statistic another way, the Food Institute notes that most people appear to shop once weekly – not exactly a new concept. 

And retailers should note this statistic:  The average time spent in grocery shopping for those who shopped was just 44 minutes. So keeping those checkout lines down is important if you want to make sure customers spend as much time in the aisles filling their carts rather than waiting in line to pay. An extra few minutes saved obviously would go a long way with customers.

The Food Institute notes that some things do not change much at the grocery store, or change very slowly. For instance, women are more likely to grocery shop than men and spent more time shopping than men as well. And those age 65 and over were the most likely of the age groups to shop on an average day. 

It is well worth the time to view a copy of this report, notes The Food Institute, and you can do so by e-mailing April Brendel at The Food Institute at april.brendel@foodinstitute.com.