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Americans Eating Out More than at Home for the First Time in History

posted January 17th,2018

An article posted on USA Today caught our eye in July 2017 when they reported that Americans are now spending more eating out more than ever before. We are in fact spending more eating out than we spend for the grocery items we bring home during the course of the week!

We decided to investigate further and came up with several of interesting statistics about where we’re at when it comes to our dietary habits and where we might end up.

From 2015 to 2016 - for the first time since they started keeping records on these sort of measures, Americans plopped down a whopping $54.85 billion dollars for bars and restaurants compared with $52.5 billion for groceries ( The Motely Fool).

The Motley Fool goes on to note “according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, the average American household spent $2,787 on restaurant meals and takeout, compared to $3,971 on groceries. But in 2015, the average amount spent on restaurants and takeout jumped $221 to $3,008. Grocery spending, by contrast, increased just $44 per household to $4,015.”

Reasons why we’re dining out so much - no cooking or clean up. The time factor has become instrumental in our change in eating habits. Another reason key reason – The Federal Reserve Bank economic research shows that the civilian labor force participation rate for women has risen from a 1950’s level of 32% to 56% today. With both partners at work there’s much less time (and seemingly energy) available for routine daily tasks like preparing meals.

In addition, Millennials (those between 16 and 34) who make up a significant portion of our population today are used to eating out – their Moms are just as likely to be working as their Dad, and dining out or consuming take-out three or more times a week is normal for them. As they move on from home they take that habit with them. There’s even been some speculation that the popularity of celerity chefs discourages “ordinary, boring day-to-day home cooking."

This has all kinds of implications for what America may look like in the future and how we as a society interact with each other. It’s most likely our trend toward demanding instant gratification, our increasing obesity and even more importantly, rising levels of loneliness will grow as we spend only short intervals stopping for fast food on the way to and from work - with few if any meals at home to anchor us in time and place to our families.

The trend towards narcissistic behavior, shorter life spans, and growing costs for health care will continue to increase rapidly thanks in part to this growing behavior. Ultimately, we can expect that no one will be able to afford to live much beyond forty to forty-five years of age. We’ll all be fat, jobless or under-employed (as more and more companies turn to contractors or part-time help to avoid paying benefits), or just too sick to do much of anything. Maybe American society completely collapses as workers demand a living wage while sales plummet because no one can afford to buy much (and employers catch on too late)! Or not. What do YOU think?