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As Americans continue to feel the after effects of the recession, more consumers are eating meals at home instead of restaurants, representing one of the single biggest changes in the nation's eating patterns in the last five years, The NPD Group found.
According to NPD's 29th annual "Eating Patterns in America Report," Americans purchased 191 meals per person from restaurants for the year ending August 2014, the slowest pace since 1993.
Although the report reveals that Americans are eating more meals at home (eight out of 10), this does not necessarily mean they are cooking more meals, according to Harry Balzer, VP of The NPD Group and author of the report.
Speaking to the increasing popularity of grocers' fresh prepared sections and easy meal solutions, Balzer said, "We are still leaving the cooking to others," noting that as restaurant visits shrink, "the manufacturers of our foods are filling more of that need."
Noting the change in not only where consumers are eating, but also what they're eating, Balzer said that the "real ‘Foods of the Decade’ are not hummus, quinoa, nor kale, and not even Sriracha. The real foods and beverages of the decade are those that have increased the most in the American diet," including dietary staples like yogurt, bottled water and pizza in the top spots, followed by poultry sandwiches, Mexican food, fresh fruit, bars, frozen sandwiches and chips.
The annual Eating Patterns in America report is based on The NPD Group's National Eating Trends (NET), which has been continuously tracking the eating habits of U.S. consumers since March 1, 1980. The annual NET sample consists of 2,000 households containing approximately 5,000 individuals.