Americans Skip Fewer Meals Today and Snack More, Says NPD Group

Filed under: Bites & Bits , Author: Caron Golden , October 6, 2012

U.S. consumers are less likely to skip their breakfast, lunch and dinner meal times today than they were five years ago, but these meals are often described as mini-meals rather than full meals, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company. A recent NPD food-market-research report finds that although Americans still carve out main meal times, the number of items consumed at each main meal has declined over time and consumers snack in-between meals often.

The average American today has 4.1 food and beverage items at dinner compared with 5.3 items in 1985, and dinner is the only meal in which a majority of the meal occasions are considered by consumers to be a full or complete meal, according to NPD’s Snacking in America 2012 report. The report finds that snack occasions fill the gaps between traditional main meals, with morning showing multiple eating occasions. One out of every five eating occasion in the United Sates is a snack, and more than half of Americans (53%) are snacking two or three times a day.

“Our frequent snacking is a result of our hectic lifestyles, need for convenience, increasing desire to eat healthier foods and simply to enjoy what we eat,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food-and-beverage-industry analyst.

Source: The NPD Group/National Eating Trends® and CREST®, year ending Feb 2012. (Does not include skipped meals.)

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Caron Golden


Founder of premier organization of personal chefs inspires students to follow their dreams of culinary entrepreneurship.

Candy Wallace, executive director of the American Personal & Private Chef Association (APPCA), today was recognized by Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies as its 33rd Distinguished Guest Chef.

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