Author Topic: Everyone's Eating Out More  (Read 10650 times)

senecando

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Everyone's Eating Out More
« on: February 03, 2014, 08:46:36 PM »
http://conversableeconomist.blogspot.com/2014/01/eating-out.html

From the linked source:
Quote
Consumption of food prepared away from home plays an increasingly large role in the American diet. In 1970, 25.9 percent of all food spending was on food away from home; by 2012, that share rose to its highest level of 43.1 percent.

And by calorie:
Quote
Between 1977-78 and 2005-08, U.S. consumption of food prepared away from home increased from 18 to 32 percent of total calories.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2014, 09:18:12 PM »
Doesn't surprise me. I'm the odd one out in all my circles (social, work, family) as I make most of the food I eat. Most people buy a coffee and muffin in the morning, then lunch, then often as not dinner is takeaway...

I read somewhere that we're eating twice as many calories as we did in the 1950s anyway. Just scary.

Guizmo

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2014, 09:37:58 PM »
And people want to blame politicians for higher health insurance premiums. How about we stop killing ourselves slowly through our food consumption, maybe then, we would have more affordable insurance.

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2014, 09:47:42 PM »
Not everyone. I can happily say I'm eating out less than ever, and I finally enjoy cooking.

pachnik

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2014, 10:24:05 PM »
Wow, I just calculated and my 'eating out' is about 7% of my food costs.   I am doing better than I thought here.   

But then I have always disliked going out for breakfast and thought going through a drive-thru and eating while driving was disgusting.

dragoncar

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2014, 11:01:26 PM »
People eat out more when the economy is better and they feel more secure in their jobs.  So I guess that part is good.

I honestly don't see eating out as particularly evil.  People gotta eat.  If you want to overpay for someone else to cook your food, well at least you are paying that person's wages, and the money likely stays in the US.  Vs., say, buying a new TV every year where you waste resources that otherwise would not be wasted, throw the old one in the landfill, and a bunch of the money goes off to China or wherever they actually made the TV.

It's not a good way to get to FI, but it's one of the less problematic consumerist activities I can think of (similar to using any other local services).

Edit:  I also ran the numbers quickly.  It looks like US per-capita food expenditures outside the home, as a percentage of per-capita income, increased from 6.1% in 1970 to 7.7% in 2012.  So it's not that people are eating out dramatically more.  Instead, it's that the amount spent for food at home has come down dramatically - 12.1% in 1970 to 7.8% in 2012.  Thus, eating out is taking up a much larger share of total food expenditures.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2014, 11:25:57 PM by dragoncar »

randymarsh

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2014, 05:46:51 AM »

kyleaaa

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2014, 06:53:25 AM »
Eating out is awesome, but I've definitely been cooking more the last few years. Slow cookers make pretty much anything delicious and all you have to do is cut things up and throw them in the pot.

avonlea

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2014, 07:09:27 AM »
I honestly don't see eating out as particularly evil.  People gotta eat.  If you want to overpay for someone else to cook your food, well at least you are paying that person's wages, and the money likely stays in the US.  Vs., say, buying a new TV every year where you waste resources that otherwise would not be wasted, throw the old one in the landfill, and a bunch of the money goes off to China or wherever they actually made the TV.

It's not a good way to get to FI, but it's one of the less problematic consumerist activities I can think of (similar to using any other local services).
I agree with you, dragoncar.

Edit:  I also ran the numbers quickly.  It looks like US per-capita food expenditures outside the home, as a percentage of per-capita income, increased from 6.1% in 1970 to 7.7% in 2012.  So it's not that people are eating out dramatically more.  Instead, it's that the amount spent for food at home has come down dramatically - 12.1% in 1970 to 7.8% in 2012.  Thus, eating out is taking up a much larger share of total food expenditures.
Oh, that's interesting.  Thanks for doing the math on that!

kolorado

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2014, 07:27:21 AM »
Dragoncar mentioned the exact same thing I was thinking. Although I don't doubt that people eat out a lot now.

Eating out regularly is not for us. We have $20 a month to spend on donuts, Chinese take-away, or a quick lunch at Sonic. Since I only spend $325 a month for groceries, this represents about 5% of our food costs.

People could lower their food cost tremendouly if they understood the lifelong costs of not being at ideal weight.  Less calories to eat is less calories to buy. Depending on metabolism and activity of course, but as a ballpark, it takes about 150 calories daily in food to maintain every 10lbs of weight. Here's an interesting chart of the cost of food portions at 200 calories: http://www.mymoneyblog.com/what-does-200-calories-cost-the-economics-of-obesity.html Those extra 10lbs could be costing $100 a year to maintain. X however many years you expect to live and that's a lot of money that could be better utilized.

senecando

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2014, 07:47:59 AM »
Never meant to say it was "evil"! This place just felt like the right forum to put the link.

I didn't originally put in any of the stuff about health since that was less interesting to me, but maybe it's more interesting:

Quote
Sure, it's possible to overeat dramatically at  home, too. Sometimes people do sit down in front of the television with a family-sized bag of chips or a quart of ice cream. But most people wouldn't grill a burger or deep-fry chicken for lunch, not to mention the ubiquitous (and irresistable) french fries and a sugared soda. Most people don't go to a restaurant and buy an apple and a bowl of lentil soup, either. The causes of obesity are many and mixed, but it seems plausible that paying others to tempt us with food, rather than spending time ourselves to make food, is part of the pattern.

I just finished working at a restaurant--no one cooking at home ever puts as much, say, salt in a dish as a restaurant would.

(Note: I like to eat at restaurants.)

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2014, 07:57:48 AM »
People eat out more when the economy is better and they feel more secure in their jobs.  So I guess that part is good.

I honestly don't see eating out as particularly evil.  People gotta eat.  If you want to overpay for someone else to cook your food, well at least you are paying that person's wages, and the money likely stays in the US.  Vs., say, buying a new TV every year where you waste resources that otherwise would not be wasted, throw the old one in the landfill, and a bunch of the money goes off to China or wherever they actually made the TV.

It's not a good way to get to FI, but it's one of the less problematic consumerist activities I can think of (similar to using any other local services).

Edit:  I also ran the numbers quickly.  It looks like US per-capita food expenditures outside the home, as a percentage of per-capita income, increased from 6.1% in 1970 to 7.7% in 2012.  So it's not that people are eating out dramatically more.  Instead, it's that the amount spent for food at home has come down dramatically - 12.1% in 1970 to 7.8% in 2012.  Thus, eating out is taking up a much larger share of total food expenditures.

agreed! and very interesting on the second point.

I just checked in Mint and 30% of my total food spending was eating out. yikes! that said, 27.5% of it was actual restaurants, like good, social experiences that support local businesses (we don't really eat at chains... don't need to), as opposed to fast food/takeout/work cafeteria. so I know we still need to cut back, but at least I'm not TOTALLY wasting my money (for me... I understand the priorities of others may vary)

jba302

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2014, 08:26:16 AM »
Yea our eating out % is pretty high too. We went out to eat 3 times last month to fancy local places. So out of 93 meals, 3 were eating out and 90 were home made and we're probably in the 30% range too.

My rationale is that I don't mind a $100 dinner for something that really blows us away and inspires us to learn a new trick at home. The ones that annoy me are the $30 "meh" meals that we should have made at home but got lazy about.

minimalist

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2014, 09:29:29 AM »
I eat/drink out 2x a week on average, which makes up about 9% of my food/drink consumption, but it makes up 47% of my food/drink expenditures. Yikes!

BlueMR2

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2014, 09:58:19 AM »
We're heading towards less.  I still go out to eat with coworkers most Fridays, but if nobody else is interested I don't go by myself (at least not as often).

Not doing the go out to eat date nights anymore either.  We treat each evening as a special time together.  I'm convinced the current push towards regular couples "date night" was invented by the consumer-industrial complex ;-) to part us all of our money.

Hedge_87

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2014, 11:58:44 AM »
One area we need to work on deffinTly. We have really tried to limit this to one a or twice per month. We have found we have more fun cooking together than going out and having to wait close to an hour just to be seated. It is nice on occasion to go out with friends and family though. The inlaws are always going out for dinner and will spend $200+ A meal. Craziness!

Albert

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2014, 12:42:24 PM »
I admit to spending a significant amount of money every month on eating out.  Average s about 350 $/month from which 2/3 is work canteen and 1/3 actual restaurants. It's very rare for me to spend money on take-away and I don't think I've ever been in a fast food place in Switzerland. Sometimes I'd buy some street food like bratwurst or fried chestnuts. Admittedly all this doesn't include eating out during vacations abroad. Anyway not my most mustachian category - I'm better elsewhere :)

Trying225

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2014, 01:21:41 PM »
I've been cutting back on this little by little. Last night my boyfriend and I agreed that we wouldn't do delivery/eating out during the week, but if we wanted to on the weekend, we could. We have odd schedules so it's been a challenge but we're getting there. It's something I judge myself for doing.

Zikoris

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2014, 06:45:31 PM »
Interesting. According to Mint, in 2013 we spent 7% of our food spending on restaurants ($220 out of $3305, two people). However, it worked out to be hardly any of our actual eating - 9 actual meals for the year, divided between two people, with the rest of the spending being fries or movie popcorn or a doughnut here and there.

Really goes to show how ridiculously overpriced restaurant food is.

odput

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2014, 06:19:22 AM »
I eat/drink out 2x a week on average, which makes up about 9% of my food/drink consumption, but it makes up 47% of my food/drink expenditures. Yikes!

Interesting. According to Mint, in 2013 we spent 7% of our food spending on restaurants ($220 out of $3305, two people). However, it worked out to be hardly any of our actual eating - 9 actual meals for the year, divided between two people, with the rest of the spending being fries or movie popcorn or a doughnut here and there.

Really goes to show how ridiculously overpriced restaurant food is.

These stats are fascinating!  I wonder what the breakdown looks like for the average American/European/Australian in terms of percentage consumption vs percentage of budget...anyone know of a study?  A quick Google search didn't turn up anything useful...

Albert

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2014, 12:42:09 PM »
These stats are fascinating!  I wonder what the breakdown looks like for the average American/European/Australian in terms of percentage consumption vs percentage of budget...anyone know of a study? A quick Google search didn't turn up anything useful...

I found this rather illuminating graph quickly enough: http://wsm.wsu.edu/researcher/WSMaug11_billions.pdf

As you can see there is a direct correlation between the percentage spent on food and overall wealth of the population. US is a tiny dot, most of Europe and few place in East Asia small as well. Below 15% and you are in a wealthy country, above 25-30% and you are in a poor place. More than 40% and you are looking at a potential revolution.

I myself spent about 8-9% of my net income.

gooki

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2014, 08:10:39 PM »
Thanks for finding the graph.

odput

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2014, 05:50:55 AM »
Hmmm...while indeed very interesting, this isn't quite what I was looking for.  This chart shows the percentage of total income spent on food, which makes sense is a direct correlation to overall income (e.g. you have less money, therefore a higher percentage of it must be spent on basics like food).  What I am curious about is the relationship between percentage of food intake at restaurants/fast food vs percentage of food budget...not sure if that data even exists

mikaty

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2014, 08:42:24 AM »
We tend to eat out once/twice a week and get take-out (usually pizza) about once a week.  I think this is quite a lot but I don't really want to reduce eating out - it's a great time for us to actually talk.  DH is a techno freak and although we eat breakfast together every day at the dining room table he's always playing on his phone while we do.  If we go out I get to have some undivided attention (I don't mind sharing the attention with the actual meal) so I pretty much insist we do it once a week.  Then of course we also go out with friends so that adds in some more meals away from home. 

We're trying to cut down on the take-out (two pizzas cost more than a meal of roast lamb, garlic potatoes with veggies on the side and some dessert) but pizza is my hubby's favourite and I'm the one that's not crazy about the home made stuff (if you've seen what a disaster area our kitchen is after making pizza you might sympathize)

Albert

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2014, 12:11:17 PM »
Hmmm...while indeed very interesting, this isn't quite what I was looking for.  This chart shows the percentage of total income spent on food, which makes sense is a direct correlation to overall income (e.g. you have less money, therefore a higher percentage of it must be spent on basics like food).  What I am curious about is the relationship between percentage of food intake at restaurants/fast food vs percentage of food budget...not sure if that data even exists

I haven't seen such data, but I suspect that would also have a rather good correlation with overall wealth. Wealthier place equals more food spending outside home.

There might be some outliers, though. I remember reading in a history book that in ancient Rome it was the opposite - poor men and women (free, not slaves) ate out much more often than the rich people. The reason being that for fire safety reasons tenement housing in Rome had no kitchens at all and ate mostly street food. Truly wealthy on the other hand had their own cooks and slaves to prepare fresh food for them.

Gerard

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2014, 06:57:09 AM »
Wealthier place equals more food spending outside home.

I would expect the fairly poor to be big eaters of food away from home. Food deserts in poor North American neighbourhoods, and low wages for restaurant or market-stall workers everywhere, make it either much easier or more cost-effective to go out. If you can get amazing street food for a dollar (hello, Bangkok), and living without a kitchen knocks $150 off your rent, why not?

But where I live, with high minimum wages and labour shortages, mediocre restaurants are charging $15 (plus tax and tip) for a plate of mac and cheese. I can do better myself, for one-tenth the cost. I'm working really hard to limit my eating out to places that do something so amazing that I can't get close.

skyrefuge

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2014, 01:32:28 PM »
I would expect the fairly poor to be big eaters of food away from home.

This is not reflected in the US BLS data (PDF), at least not in terms of dollar expenditures. "Food Away From Home" as a percentage of total food expenditures rises rather linearly with income, except there is a bigger jump up for the richest 20%.

Lowest 20 %:  31%
Second 20 %:  34%
Third 20 %:   37%
Fourth 20 %:  41%
Highest 20 %: 47%

4alpacas

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2014, 01:44:06 PM »
I would expect the fairly poor to be big eaters of food away from home.

This is not reflected in the US BLS data (PDF), at least not in terms of dollar expenditures. "Food Away From Home" as a percentage of total food expenditures rises rather linearly with income, except there is a bigger jump up for the richest 20%.

Lowest 20 %:  31%
Second 20 %:  34%
Third 20 %:   37%
Fourth 20 %:  41%
Highest 20 %: 47%

Thanks for the numbers.  When I think about our income and our eating out, we fall in line with the data.  I would also hope that we're spending less in absolute terms and as a percentage of income.  This makes me feel like I need to really squash our eating out budget even more because I've already made huge strides in our grocery budget.

Gerard

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Re: Everyone's Eating Out More
« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2014, 02:36:18 PM »
I would expect the fairly poor to be big eaters of food away from home.
"Food Away From Home" as a percentage of total food expenditures rises rather linearly with income

Cool, interesting. Canadian trend is in the same direction, but with lower rates of restaurant spending overall -- 22% up to 31% -- from numbers I generated myself from the stats canada site at http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a47.
I wonder if my misperception is partly fuelled by my tendency to focus on urban areas.