Watch Out Restaurants!

The Lempert Report
September 20, 2017

Americans are eating more home-cooked meals than restaurant meals.

That finding from the Benenson Strategy Group’s 2017 Food Attitudes and Behavior Study. Here’s what they found: 

  • One-quarter are eating a pre-made meal from a grocer at least weekly (lunch is the most prevalent)
  • Millennials, in particular, are trending toward health-conscious eating, and they’re the biggest ingredient box users
  • Free-from foods are growing in importance, particularly pesticide-free and antibiotic-free
  • 70% are OK with grocers using location-based technology if they ask for permission or alert them first
  • The trend study also found growing concerns around sugar and pesticides, as well as changing preferences that are putting the pinch on quick-service restaurants (QSRs).
  • Lunch, a meal when workers tend to eat on the go – has a huge shift where 82% eat a home-cooked lunch at least weekly, while just 44% eat at a QSR, 32% at a full-service restaurant and 31% grab pre-made food from a grocery store.   

“Americans are changing the way they eat and their appetite for increased control and wellness is impacting the fast food industry,” said Danny Franklin, BSG managing partner. “By eating home-cooked meals, people can control their wallet, but more importantly their wellbeing, and staying in also offers shared personal time with family and friends.” 

Step aside Millennials, Gen Z kids are embracing the role of chef, frequently cooking with and for their families and perpetuating the trend of at-home cooking. In any given week, 72% of parents said they cooked with their kids and 31% ate something their kids cooked for them. Additionally, nearly half – 43% – ate dinner at home with their families at least five times in a week. While the report finds that a desire for unmodified and “free-from” foods is also leading many to cook for themselves. The study reveals that pesticide-free, antibiotic-free, hormone-free and sugar-free ranked high on the list of important food attributes.   

One important lifestyle sign for change comes from BSG finding that 38% of all consumers would be embarrassed seen eating too much at a fast-food chain. The numbers were highest among millennials – 50% said they’d be embarrassed, up from 44% over last year.