Defrosting Dinner

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After nearly a decade of year-to-year declines in the number of meals Americans prepared at home, that figure inched up last year for the first time since the recession years of 1991 to 1992. This is one of the key findings by Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research firm The NPD Group in its Report on Eating Patterns in America. Researchers at NPD found that the increasing quantity and quality of easy to prepare frozen dishes are contributing to the decline in restaurant dining. The number of annual meals eaten in a restaurant, per person, dropped from 66 in 1999 to 64 in 2000. According to NPD, 12 percent of suppers prepared at home in America in 2000 featured a frozen dish, up from 9 percent in 1996. During the same period, the number of take-home dinners from restaurants remained unchanged at 7 percent. Are we seeing the peak of a trend or is this just the tip of the iceberg?

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