Frozen Food Fad

Growing up, my family cooked; and we cooked a lot. Making meals and such from scratch was not something reserved for special occasions, holidays, or to impress company; in my household, it was just our way of life. However, once I was old enough, and I started going over to my friends’ houses, I soon realized this was not the norm.  A study done by CBS News found family_cooking_3051495bthat only 43% of Americans reported having home cooked meals six to seven days a week. In fact, roughly half of the money Americans spend on food, is spent on food eaten when eating out.  But it did not used to be this way, in 1984, roughly 75% of the meals eaten at home in the US were also prepared at home. And a graph produced by the Washington Post depicts the decline of home cooked meals in the US since then. So what is causing this decline in preparing meals oneself?supermarket

A major factor influencing this decline is time. On average, Americans over fifteen years of age, spend an hour eating per day. Typically, this time is not solely spent eating either; we are multitasking. It is a rare occasion for an American to be eating for the sake of doing so. We are too busy to relish in meal time, so instead dining becomes a chore which we do while simultaneously doing other things, work, watch television, drive, etc. Making a home cooked meal takes time. One has to select a recipe, go out and buy groceries, do the meal prep, cook alarmclockthe meal, and then eat it. The OECD’s conducted survey conclude that the average amount of time spent on meal prep and cleanup in the surveyed countries other than the United States is two hours and eight minutes per day. Whereas in the United States, the average is thirty minutes. While time dedicated to meal prep is a major factor in the decline of home cooked meals in the U.S., it is not the only factor.

Another influential variable in the decline of home cooked meals in the United States is an economic one. In 2015, less than half of the U.S. population were middle income; 49.9% to be specific. In that same year, 29% of Americans were considered to be of low income, and 21.1% were considered to be of upper income status. This effects the number of meals prepared at home because it is more expensive to be doing so. When shopping in a supermarket , it is less expensive to buy the prepackaged, premade, and processed foods, than it is to buy ingredients to make a meal yourself. A dollar spent on the processed foods, will buy you more calories, than spending it on the ingredients needed to make a meal. Then, from a financial standpoint, it makes far more sense to be buying the premade food rather than the ingredients to make meals yourself, because you can get more bang for your buck. And people do just that. The average American consumes 72 frozen meals annually, and spends $57.10 on said meals per year.


Based on this information, it can be concluded that we are in a shift away from traditional, home cooking, to these new manufactured, ready made meals.

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Can they handle that kitchen task? Yes they can!

2 thoughts on “Frozen Food Fad

  1. Melanie Noemi Campos

    Frozen food was something i did not grow up eating and now that i am in college i feel very fortunate that i was not introduced to this at a younger age. Coming from a Mexican family, food was always more than just grabbing a quick meal. Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners were used to bond and to enjoy a hard worked for meal. When i came to college i realized that people here even cook with frozen vegetables
    ( ) , meats, and sometimes heat up whole meals in a microwave oven. This is something that i was not accustomed to. I feel as though we are living in a more fast paced life here in the United States that we do not take time to truly allow ourselves to sit down and eat a proper meal. In Mexico even if you are poor you eat beans for dinner and it is still seen as family time. I think research should go into comparing the different cultures and how food impacts their health and lifestyle.

  2. Angela Maria Napolitano

    Coming to college and having to eat the food provided here was a huge struggle for me. At home, my family cooks all the time. We have a garden, we grow our own foods, we cook everything (and I do mean everything) from scratch. This meant that even when I wasn’t eating all that healthy, I was still eating healthier than if I had been eating food that was mass produced and not made from scratch like the food they have in the dining halls. So, the dinner I pick up at the dining hall may be exactly the same thing I’d eat at home, however there are soo many other things thrown into the dining hall meal that are not good for me. AND the worst thing I’ve done since I’ve been here is cave and buy all those processed, frozen foods from convenience stores and I’ve definitely visited the vending machines one to many times. I may have gotten skinnier from all this walking, but my diet is definitely worse, so there’s no way I’m actually healthier. I went and looked up some things about processed foods, which I probably shouldn’t have because now I know too much about what I’ve been eating.

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