For The First Time, Americans Spend More On Eating Out Than On Food At Home

Tyler Durden's picture

In light of yesterday's OECD news confirming that Americans remain the most obese nation in the world, and as McDonalds' blockbuster results yesterday showed, American consumers are increasingly spending more on food away from home. As shown in the chart below, spending on food at home and food away from home have been converging over the past 60 years, with traditional home-cooked family meals on the decline. In fact, according to the USDA, for the first time ever, the amount spent eating out has surpassed what US consumers spend on food at home.

Here are some other observations on US feeding habits via Bank of America:

  • Consumers are eating alone more often and more "on demand". 47% of US meals are consumed alone and 43% of US consumers say they enjoy eating alone. Given how busy households and consumers have become, it is becoming more common to combine eating with catching up on news/social media, or to consume on the go. It also appears that the trend is for less planning for eating occasions. Millennials account for 40% of those who consume food within an hour of purchase. This is known as "immediate consumption" and accounts for about 15% of all meals. And 65% of instant consumables are eaten at home (source: Hartman Group/Forbes).
  • Consumers are willing to pay a premium for increasing levels of convenience and on demand. Globally, on average, they are willing to pay 14% more for online grocery delivery, 25% more for meal kits, 30% more for prepared meals and 55% more for restaurant take-outs (source: Lux Research).

According to BofA, tech disruption is changing how US consumers spend money, even on "necessary" goods such as groceries.

  • Spending by Millennials at online grocery stores has risen by 750% since 2012 and is running at a 55% yoy pace since 2015. Generation X (330%) and Baby Boomers (240%) have also increased spending at online groceries but at relatively much more modest rates.
  • Major cities see a greater share of food consumption from dining out vs. groceries. The combination of competition from online grocers and greater urbanization may continue to present a challenge to the standard grocery store model.

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SafelyGraze's picture

even weirder is that they buy more food than they sell


espirit's picture

Those 2 for 1 Mickey D coupons go a long way towards feeding a young family.

What a crap article.

ThirdWorldNut's picture

About 15 odd years ago, I read an article that said alarmingly high number of Americans didnt know how to cook. I remember being shell shocked for a good while, infact it took me few years to fully accept that this was indeed the case. How can one not have such a fundamental skill? 

Living with family is synonym with being a loser. Not being able to eat outside is a sign of misery. Americans truly have been gamed big.


TheLastTrump's picture

That last paragraph was especially good, thanks.

101 years and counting's picture

in other shocking news, this has led to 70% of americans being overweight and 36% being obese.  3 out of 8 people in this country are obese.  geeeeeeee, why is healthcare so expensive??????

veritas semper vinces's picture

Americans like to consume crap.It "feeds" their stomach and mind.They are lazzy and don't like to cook(and don't knowhow) and eat real food at a lower price. They are lazzy and accept MSM /Hollywood/Facebook/twiiter crap,instead of reading and looking on the net for real news.

This is why the collapse will go to the bottom,all five stages .

TheLastTrump's picture

Try to generalize more, you're being way too specific.

CJgipper's picture

And the biggest driver?  With both parents working, they're out of TIME to cook and clean at home.

factorypreset's picture

I am not lazzy.  I am lazy.  Don't have enough time for two Z's. 

Eyes Opened's picture

U mean yur 2 LAZZY 2 type 2 zzzz's......

Kassandra's picture

Totally correct..
Case in point. I have had to go to a lot of events the past two months and have gained almost 12 lbs, without even trying or having fun trying. It's the crap food out there.
Back on the "cooking at home and watching portions plan."

So much easier to gain than to lose.

TabakLover's picture

I always feel sorry for people who don't want to, or do not know how to, cook their own food.  There is something de-humanizing about that.

tgatliff's picture

If I could actually eat out and it be healthy and somewhat cost effective, I would never cook again.  Not cooking saves time and allows me to focus on things that I am specialized to do.  The problem is that you can rarely find truly "healthy" pre-prepared food because most people dont want to eat healthy.  Whether they eat out or cook it themselves, the overall issue still remains.

jimmy c korn's picture

The problem I have with eating out is that you usually can't see into the kitchens where the food is being prepared and how nasty the kitchens really are. Most restaurants know when the Heath dept inspection is due and act accordingly. And do you really think that all employees wash their hands after taking a trip to the bathroom?


ThirdWorldNut's picture

Plus on top of the margin of the eatery, you also pay VAT (20% in UK) to the govt.

I refuse to willingly indulge in anything that feeds those leeches.

TheLastTrump's picture

There's a local liberal town that I refuse to stop for a quick burger in because of their 7% food tax. Fuck feeding the beast.

unsafe-space-time's picture

Side dish of tape worm with bird flu and herpes on top. 

TheLastTrump's picture

ANY salad bar anywhere.


Eat crap processed foods for a few days, then eat salad for a couple days.


You can FEEL the difference, it's amazing.

kochevnik's picture

Humans did not evolve design for high meat diet

unsafe-space-time's picture

I evolve every time i get high on meat. Spontaneous evolution. I wish they let horse meat into the food chain.

Eyes Opened's picture

Move to France...

Oh wait... they're having a little "visitors" issue right now,  best stay home & forego the horseburgers....

Bad Goy's picture

We're the children and grandchildren of boomers... the most selfish generation.  Mothers who made TV dinners instead of teaching their children how to cook, clean, and basic nutrition.  The knowledge they should have passed down has been lost, maybe forever.

Stormtrooper's picture

Learn how to read and get yourself a cookbook.

Bad Goy's picture

I made cereal for dinner.  Top that!

M O B's picture

Yes, the boomers came of age in a terrible time for food habits, but that doesn't stop us from teaching them.

My mother is a terrible cook, and my father can only BBQ. They did not have much to pass on, but that doesn't stop one from finding recipes online, waching cooking shows, or just plain old experimenting. Now my parents (mid 60s) love learning new recipes from me for when they will entertain their friends next.

It's not hard--it just takes some time.

TheLastTrump's picture

Give me a fucking break with your trite boomer hate.


People live the way others of their generation do, same as you're doing TODAY.


Hidsight is 20/20 & because you have got it does not mean you're a genius.


BTW, fuck your goyisms.

yogibear's picture

Paying $20 and higher for a meal adds up.

Maybe they can borrow more on thier credit cards at 20% plus interest rates and be more broke.

a Smudge by any other name's picture

Would be interesting to see how this breaks down against income levels. This would speak to the actual diets people are consuming.

Where I'm at it's 100% franchise restaurants. We got all the low grade ones. They repeat ever 5 miles. Every now and then there's a Denny's or Applebees for fine dining.

If I had to eat that shit more than once a week I'd want to die.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Cooking is sensual. My husband brought home a trout and I made pan seared trout on sautéed spinach with blood orange sauce from my tree. Served it with a local rose. Put on some nice French cafe music and had a magical evening.

It's sad people are content with a crappy chemical burger infused with essence of diseased cow. How far have we fallen.


Robert Trip's picture

Forget the blood orange sauce next time.

A lemon beurre blanc infused with lightly fried capers is a nice alternative.

A light sprinkling of fresh dill will make the dish magical.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I had just harvested 40 lbs of blood oranges and was trying to utilize them though I admit I could have fed an army's diet not dented my haul. I added a little lemon, dug up some of my shallots and added a large pinch of saffron and some of the Rose. Reduced and blended it. Added a tbsp of butter. Just amazing! I had never pan cooked trout before. Seared it and basted it with ghee. Turned out well.

I've never been formally shown how to cook. Just trial and error and a willingness to experiment. Perhaps the formality of my profession has helped. Someday before I die I'd love to explore the cooking greats and not just be a wannabe. At least my animals are always willing to consume my failures.


TheLastTrump's picture

These are dependent people. That's not America. Do for yourself & take pride in your own efforts, THAT'S America.

venturen's picture

does this include SNAP? When I see my local fast food outlets...there are outrageous numbers of SNAP recipients. The rich non-SNAP's are eating at home

the6thBook's picture

The Rich SNAP participants order their food on their obama iphone 7's and take uber rides home.

yogibear's picture

Shitcago's soft drink tax doesn't apply to those on  SNAP .

PhiBetaZappa's picture

Must be the people with the 8 year car loans, spending the extra money they don't have, eating out.

Stormtrooper's picture

Yeah.  It all goes on the newest credit card.  No wonder the dumb fuckers don't have two nickels to rub together.

jimmy c korn's picture

Yes. And there are some who own home mortgages who max-out their credit cards, remortgage their home to pay off the credit cards, then start maxing out their credits cards all over again.

Lostinfortwalton's picture

Well, I just read another article that said year over year restaurant traffic was down significantly as people can no longer afford to eat out as much, not to mentiom that the quality, portions, and service in restaurants has declined.

Postal's picture

I would love to eat out more, but even with more expensive, healthier options, I am not going to tip lazy waitstaff for poor service. Bad service is the number one reason I do not eat out very often.

Eyes Opened's picture

Do you go POSTAL on 'em... lol

LeftandRightareWrong's picture

Since the 08 mortgage bond fraud, people have been eating out for entertainment.  Instead of flying to Hawaii and going to Dennys and Costco, they do so from home now.

Mr. Pain's picture

I think this article is bullshit. Trying to buy confidence in a market that is suffering a downtrend.

chunga's picture

Me too. FWIW we hardly ever go out to eat and our Gen Z kids love to cook. TV shows like chopped are very popular.

Yen Cross's picture

  These numbers are 100.00% bullshit! If you call eating out a slice of pizza and a candy bar "dining out".  Shopping online for groceries is fine, but the meals still need to be prepared.

PeeramidIdeologies's picture

Harrowing prospect, but I do think the data inaccurately respesents true consumption habits. Namely through inflated restaurant prices and big agriculture efficiency.

White Knight's picture

My generation definitely doesn't know how to cook at large. Heck, my own brother and his wife never really learned. Their kitchen skills are atrocious and typical of millenials, from where I'm standing. I admit that my skills aren't the greatest either. In my case, its because I am on my own. I find I am highly motivated to cook if its for someone else, but for me? Nope. LOL maybe instinct. Idk.


Depressing statistic to be sure.