Description

This report provides comprehensive and current information and analysis of how Americans eat market research including market size, anticipated market forecast, relevant market segmentation, and industry trends for the What/How America Eats market in the US.

Current market landscape

As the COVID-19 dust settles, consumers are settling back into some old routines and some new ones. The pandemic provided an inadvertent impetus for responsible choices around food, including home cooking, healthy eating, and environmentally conscious habits, but 2022 also appears to be a year that embraces some indulgence, with consumers seeking to regain pleasure, enjoyment, ease, and fun in their lives and their food.

Future market trends in What/How America Eats

Even with a proclivity toward indulgence acceptance, consumers want to be eating healthier. So, while brands will do well to help consumers find joy through their products, going too far into misbehavior will push past pleasure onto guilt and disappointment. Promoting small treats and occasional delights, which include nourishing healthful options, will provide the balance consumers are looking for.

Balance appears to be the way forward near-term, with consumers pointing to natural ingredients and whole foods as the strongest components of a healthy diet (as opposed to restrictive cues, such as low calories, low fat). The trend of meat-free eating slowed a bit in 2022, with half of consumers indicating a balanced diet includes a mix of animal and plant proteins. Brands will do well to provide meat alternatives as options within a diet that also includes meat, and not primarily as meat replacements.

Rising food prices are a limitation to healthy eating for all, and regular eating for some. Consumers who identify as struggling financially exhibit a degree of food insecurity that brands must work to rectify, with fewer than half eating breakfast and/or lunch daily, and only three quarters eating dinner daily.

Read on to discover more about the What/How America Eats consumer market, read our Online Grocery Retailing – US – 2022, or take a look at our other Food research reports.

Quickly understand how America eats

  • American dietary preferences.
  • Meal and snack frequency.
  • Meal and snack motivations.
  • Preparation method by daypart.
  • Factors important to food and drink choice.
  • Attitudes toward cooking and eating.

Covered in this American eating habits report

Brands include: Snapchat, Allrecipes, Reggano, Yoplait, Stouffer’s, Pepsi, Choice Organics, Forager, Lipton, Bumble Bee.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Mimi Bonnett, a leading analyst in the Food and Drink sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to american diet market research, highlighting current trends and adding expert context to the numbers.

Two plus years into pandemic disruption, consumers are looking to reclaim pleasure and enjoyment. Food is a natural go-to for this, especially as price hikes temper spend in other categories. While 2022 is shaping up to be a year of some dietary indulgence, consumers continue to count healthy eating as a top priority. Brands that can help consumers feel like they’re treating themselves without going to extremes will resonate.

Director, Food and Drink, FoodserviceMimi Bonnett
Senior Director, US Food and Drink

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
    • COVID-19: US context
    • Economic and other assumptions
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Natural ingredients and whole foods gain importance; protein loses luster
      • Figure 1: Top factors when shopping for food, 2019-22
    • Help the hybrid worker
      • Figure 2: Attitudes toward cooking and eating, by work location, 2022
    • Lean into lunch as break time
      • Figure 3: Factors motivating consumers to eat meals and snacks, 2022
    • Brands must close the gap between health and affordability
      • Figure 4: Food and drink choice drivers, by financial situation, 2022
    • We’re in the midst of a leftovers revolution
      • Figure 5: Preparation methods by daypart – Leftovers, 2020-22
  3. Market Factors

    • Consumers aspire to lose weight, eat nutritious and whole foods
      • Figure 6: Food and drink aspirations for 2022, 2022
    • Pandemic-spurred bump to scratch cooking has subsided
      • Figure 7: Snapchat Food Scan, 2021
      • Figure 8: Frequency of food behaviors – all or most of the time, 2019-22
    • Vast majority of consumers are comfortable dining indoors
      • Figure 9: Comfort dining indoors, 2021-22
    • Rising food prices may result in more discerning shopping
      • Figure 10: Changes in consumer price indexes for food, 2019-22
    • Consumers want savings, not cutbacks
      • Figure 11: Save money every day, 2022
      • Figure 12: Ways that consumers save money on food and drink, 2022
    • Majority of workers will do some from home for some part of 2022
      • Figure 13: Work expectations for 2022, 2022
  4. Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

    • Natural ingredients and whole foods gain importance, protein loses luster
      • Figure 14: Top factors when shopping for food, 2019-22
    • Natural claims moving in the wrong direction; convenience/economy claims lag
      • Figure 15: Food launches viewed as “good value,” 2021-22
      • Figure 16: Top claims among food and drink launches, 2019-22*
      • Figure 17: Fastest growing claims among food and drink launches, 2019-22
    • One in five consumers is interested in trying plant-based proteins
      • Figure 18: What are consumers eating and drinking, 2022
    • Provide guidance in the kitchen to retain loyalty
      • Figure 19: Drizzling olive oil on everything for the rest of our lives, 2022
      • Figure 20: Interest in improving cooking skills, 2021
  5. The Consumer – Fast Facts

    • 90% of Americans eat meat, but many want to be eating less
    • Snacking is not stopping; feed the beast
    • Brands can serve the unique draw of each occasion
    • Enjoyment and pleasure cues gain importance as choice drivers
    • Consumers want to be eating healthier
  6. American Dietary Preferences

    • One in 10 American adults go meatless; meat reduction slows
      • Figure 21: American dietary preferences, 2019-22
    • One in five 18-24s avoids meat, pointing to future growth of meat-free trend
      • Figure 22: American dietary preferences, by age, 2022
    • Half of US adults think a healthy diet contains both animal and plant proteins
      • Figure 23: Attitudes toward plant-based eating, 2022
  7. Meal and Snack Daypart Frequency

    • Snacking sees the largest increase in frequency
      • Figure 24: Meal and snack daypart frequency, 2022
      • Figure 25: Meal and snack daypart frequency – Every day, 2020-22
    • Half of women skip breakfast on occasion
      • Figure 26: Meal and snack daypart frequency – every day, by gender, 2022
    • Youngest adults are most prolific snackers
      • Figure 27: Meal and snack daypart frequency – every day, by age, 2022
    • Financial concern leads to skipping meals
      • Figure 28: Meal and snack daypart frequency – every day, by financial situation, 2022
    • Parents eat whenever they can
      • Figure 29: Meal and snack daypart frequency – Every day, by parental status, 2022
    • Occasional office workers get thrown off the routine
      • Figure 30: Meal and snack daypart frequency – every day, by work location, 2022
  8. Meal and Snack Motivations by Daypart

    • Each occasion has its unique draw; energy boost wins overall
      • Figure 31: Meal and snack motivations by daypart – any meal/snack*, 2022
    • Breakfast is for health
    • Lunch is for a break
    • Dinner is for family
    • Snacks are for treats
      • Figure 32: Factors motivating consumers to eat meals and snacks, 2022
    • Breakfast
    • A quarter of men see breakfast as a relaxation occasion
      • Figure 33: Meal and snack motivations by daypart – breakfast, by gender, 2022
    • Breakfast less relaxing for commuters
      • Figure 34: Meal and snack motivations by daypart – breakfast, by work location, 2022
    • Young adults see breakfast as a social occasion
      • Figure 35: Meal and snack motivations by daypart – breakfast, by age, 2022
    • A third of parents see breakfast as family time
      • Figure 36: Yoplait | Pass them All :30, 2021
      • Figure 37: Meal and snack motivations by daypart – Breakfast, by parental status, 2022
    • Lunch
    • Women see lunch as a break
      • Figure 38: Meal and snack motivations by daypart – Lunch, by gender, 2022
    • Appeal to young lunchers with indulgence/variety
      • Figure 39: Meal and snack motivations by daypart – Lunch, by age, 2022
    • Parents in need of a lunchtime boost
      • Figure 40: Meal and snack motivations by daypart – Lunch, by parental status, 2022
    • Office workers seek a lunchtime break
      • Figure 41: Meal and snack motivations by daypart – Lunch, by work location, 2022
    • Dinner
    • Men seek health at dinner
      • Figure 42: Meal and snack motivations by daypart – Dinner, by gender, 2022
    • Family messaging will resonate with parents at dinnertime
      • Figure 43: Meal and snack motivations by daypart – Dinner, by parental status, 2022
    • Dinnertime is family time for 45+; appeal to 18-34s with friend messaging
      • Figure 44: Stouffer’s Happyfull | Mac & Cheese Commercial, 2022
      • Figure 45: Meal and snack motivations by daypart – Dinner, by age, 2022
    • Snack
    • Snacks are social for under 45s, all about indulgence for 45+
      • Figure 46: Meal and snack motivations by daypart – Any snack*, by age, 2022
    • Parents are drawn to snacks that offer healthy energy
      • Figure 47: Meal and snack motivations by daypart – any snack*, by parental status, 2022
  9. Preparation Methods by Daypart

    • Fresh foods continue to lead; convenience at retail gains
      • Figure 48: Preparation methods by daypart – Any meal/snack, 2022
      • Figure 49: Preparation methods by daypart – Any meal/snack, 2020-22
    • Fresh leads at meals; shelf stable is snack go-to
      • Figure 50: Preparation methods by daypart – Meal versus snack, 2022
    • Leftovers gain favor at mealtime
      • Figure 51: Preparation methods by daypart – Any meal, 2020-22
    • Close to a third of consumers snack on leftovers
      • Figure 52: Preparation methods by daypart – Any snack, 2020-22
    • The freezer case has the attention of non-meat eaters
      • Figure 53: Preparation methods by daypart – Any meal/snack, by diet, 2022
    • Super categories carry unique perceptions
    • Fresh foods win for those seeking freshness, health, and natural ingredients
    • Shelf stable delivers on convenience and enjoyment
    • Leftovers win the second time around
    • Frozen delivers on convenience and long-lasting
    • Prepared and restaurant options score well for portability, slip on health
      • Figure 54: Preparation methods by daypart – Any meal/snack, by food and drink choice drivers, 2022
    • Women need some assistance with and permission to take shortcuts
      • Figure 55: Stop Chuggin’ Start Sippin’ TV Commercial 2021, 2021
      • Figure 56: Preparation methods by daypart – Any meal/snack, by gender, 2022
    • Use of fresh foods correlates with age; brands can help young cooks
      • Figure 57: Preparation methods by daypart – Any meal/snack, by age, 2022
    • Parents more likely to lean on convenience foods
      • Figure 58: Preparation methods by daypart – Any meal/snack, by parental status, 2022
    • Hybrid workers turn to convenience options
      • Figure 59: Preparation methods by daypart – Any meal/snack, by work location, 2022
    • Tired home cooks are turning to takeout
      • Figure 60: Preparation methods by daypart – Any meal/snack, by tired of cooking at home, 2022
  10. Food and Drink Choice Drivers

    • Desire for pleasure leads and grows
      • Figure 61: Nitro Pepsi, 2022
      • Figure 62: Stouffer’s Yule Logsagna – 10 Hours of Cheesy, Cozy Holiday Ambience, 2021
      • Figure 63: Food and drink choice drivers, 2022
      • Figure 64: Food and drink choice drivers, 2020-22
    • Women are tuned in to taste, freshness, and health
      • Figure 65: Food and drink choice drivers, by gender, 2022
    • Price trumps health for younger adults
      • Figure 66: Food and drink choice drivers, by age, 2022
    • Cost and health are in inverse importance when finances are a concern
      • Figure 67: Food and drink choice drivers, by financial situation, 2022
    • Non-meat eaters resigned to food mediocrity
      • Figure 68: Food and drink choice drivers, by diet, 2022
  11. American Food Habits

    • Food choices
    • Less than half of consumers report healthy food choices
      • Figure 69: American food habits – Food choices, 2022
    • Young adults are leaning into indulgence
      • Figure 70: American food habits – Food choices, by age, 2022
    • Parents are price-conscious
      • Figure 71: American food habits – Food choices, by parental status, 2022
    • Non-meat eaters are more routine-oriented
      • Figure 72: American food habits – Food choices, by diet, 2022
    • Establishing routines may be an answer for the financially insecure
      • Figure 73: American food habits – Food choices, by financial situation, 2022
    • Food preparation
    • One fifth of US adults are snacking more in place of meals
      • Figure 74: American food habits – food preparation, 2022
    • A third of tired home cooks are increasingly replacing meals with snacks
      • Figure 75: American food habits – Food preparation, by tired of cooking at home, 2022
  12. Attitudes toward Cooking and Eating

    • Brands have many routes to easy consumer burden
      • Figure 76: Artisanal Microwave | Choice Organics Grapefruit Honeybush Tea, 2022
      • Figure 77: Attitudes toward cooking and eating, 2022
    • Women drive the charge for healthy eating
      • Figure 78: Attitudes toward cooking and eating, by gender, 2022
    • 25-34s are strong target for healthy eating
      • Figure 79: Attitudes toward cooking and eating, by age, 2022
    • Parents need help
      • Figure 80: Attitudes toward cooking and eating, by parental status, 2022
    • Rising prices limit health aspirations of those in tight financial situations
      • Figure 81: Attitudes toward cooking and eating, by financial situation, 2022
    • Meat eaters are more likely to be feeling the impact of rising prices
      • Figure 82: Attitudes toward cooking and eating, by diet, 2022
    • Demand for portable health is high
      • Figure 83: Food and drink launches with on-the-go claim, 2022
      • Figure 84: Attitudes toward cooking and eating, by food and drink choice factors, 2022
  13. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.

Market

Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.

Consumer

Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.

Brand/Company

Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.

Data

Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

Below is a sample report, understand what you are buying.

Click to show report

Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted. Also, our reports come in PDF, Powerpoint, Word and Excel Databook formats.

Trusted by companies. Big and small.

Bell Logo - Mintel client
Boots Logo - Mintel Client
Kelloggs Logo - Mintel client
Samsung Logo - Mintel client
Nike Logo - Mintel client
Walgreens Logo - Mintel client

Want to speak to us directly?

Contact us on via phone or fill out a form with your enquiry.

Contact Us