Is the Home Cooked Meal a Thing of the Past?
Food Safety FHC Health
Mike Parker

In 1992, the U.S. Census Bureau started tracking how much money Americans spend at such places as restaurants and bars and grocery stores. In that year, Americans spent around $1.62 in grocery stores for every $1.00 they spent eating out. The gap between the two has gradually, but consistently narrowed, and in 2015, for the first time, Americans spent more eating out than they did preparing their meals at home.
Does that signal the death of the home-cooked meal? Not so fast, says the U.S.

Department of Agriculture. According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures of economy-wide inflation, food prices were 0.5 percent higher in April 2017 compared with the April 2016 level. But the degree of food price inflation varied based on where the food was purchased. The CPI for food purchased away from home (i.e. restaurants and bars) CPI was up 2.3 percent from April 2016; but food purchased for preparation/consumption at home (i.e. from grocery stores or supermarkets) fell by 0.8 percent from April 2016. This comes on the heels of food-at-home prices declining overall in 2016, falling 1.3 percent below 2015 levels - the first annual decline in supermarket prices since 1967.

One result of the price differential? Americans appear to be eating out less…at least at lunch time. “Restaurant Hospitality” magazine reported a 4 percent decline in lunch visits from 2015 to 2016. Maybe the home cooked meal will hang around for a bit longer.

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