Chicago The latest findings come as no surprise: Time-pressed Americans continue to seek convenient meal solutions. They're using more home-delivery services and buying more takeout food. While they're not eating out as much, 67 percent still consume their main meal out of the home at least once a week.
So says the latest "Trends in the United States: Consumer Attitudes and the Supermarket, 2001," a survey of 1,000 consumers conducted by the Food Marketing Institute and released recently at the institute's annual show in Chicago.
When they do "cook," consumers tend to assemble prepared or partially prepared foods, rather than use raw ingredients exclusively, according to the survey. Nearly three-fourths said they serve home-cooked meals three or more times a week, but fewer than half prepare these meals primarily from scratch. In the under-40 age group, less than a third are scratch cooks.
To streamline cooking, 38 percent say they use prepared foods at least once a week; 40 percent used bagged salads, precut and cleaned vegetables or marinated meats; and 45 percent used boxed, frozen or canned meals, the survey showed.
To meet consumer needs, manufacturers have been providing a steady stream of convenience foods. This trend continued at the show, where manufacturers' new product offerings also supported other established food trends. In the study, 57 percent of consumers said they use ethnic foods at least once a month, 49 percent use natural or organic, and 45 percent use gourmet or specialty foods.