We Are Spending More On Restaurants Than Groceries For The First Time Ever

Getty Image

Americans are eating out more. This isn’t necessarily news. Millennials are eating out more — also, nothing new. The choices we make about food often aren’t the best choices. Also, not new, but so, so very delicious.

What is new to the American diet is that we are eating out more and for the first time spending less on actual groceries. We are cooking a lot less. According to a study published by Quartz our attendance and spending at food and drink establishments has risen from “25.9 percent in 1970 to 43.1 percent in 2012.”

Two factors seem to be driving the spending on dining out upward — women entering the work force, and grocery prices remaining stable or falling dramatically.

Eating out is easier than ever. Restaurant culture is at a high-water mark. There are tons of reasons to eat out more than cook at home, convenience being the biggest one. Here comes a big ol’ ‘but.’

Eating out means less handle on what goes in our food. According to Quartz:

It hasn’t been great for American health. As the amount of calories Americans consume away from home has increased — from 18 percent in 1978 to 32 percent in 2008 — it should be noted that food consumed away from home is markedly higher in salt, saturated fat and sodium while lower in dietary fiber.

A study by the USDA suggests our habit of choosing convenience over home preparation has contributed heavily to America’s obesity epidemic. Cooking a burger at home is most likely going to be healthier than heading down to Shake Shack or Micky-D’s. Moreover cooking at home is about 2/3 cheaper than eating out even when we calculate our own labor into the equation.

There isn’t a way to make more minutes in a day. It does seem to be important to organize those minutes in a way that allows us to cook for ourselves more often than not. It is healthier, and more fun!

(Via Quartz)