Packaged Facts Defines Dining Habits In America

A market study takes a close look at the generational differences in eating habits of Americans to help the retail and foodservice industries 

Packaged Facts released a report that analyzes America’s mealtime tendencies and eating habits.

The study titled “How We Eat: Retail and Foodservice Opportunities in When and Where America Eats” reports that age is the most important factor in determining food principles. 

Adults under the age of 45 claim they live busier lives than the Baby Boomers and Seniors, making snacking and the consumption of fast food far more common due to the portability and convenience of these foods. 

Snacking is also integral to the lifestyle of Millennials, adults under age 30, that Packaged Facts considers thema  driving force that will propel the U.S. snack market to sales of $77 billion by 2015. The downside to this tendency is that younger adults could end up with poor eating habits or extremely unhealthy diets as they are more likely to feel too busy to care for themselves as they should. 

On the other hand, Gen Xers, adults between the ages of 30 and 44, are more likely to be conscientious about their mealtime habits. They are more likely to resort to home-cooked meals, ready meals or frozen foods. They are more in control of their nutritional health of both themselves and their children.

Both the Millennials and Gen Xers are frequent indulgers in what is dubbed as the “Fourthmeal,” which occurs between 10 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. This is more of a social dining experience, strongest linked with the college crowd.

Boomers and senior citizens are very conscientious eaters as well, who prefer to know the nutritional values and ingredients in their foods. They are also more willing to pay extra money for quality goods than the younger adults. They rarely snack, but if they do indulge, they choose healthier snacks. Meals-at-home are most common for them. 

The latter generation is also more fond of dining early, especially seniors who are active eaters from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Both the seniors and Boomer generation consumers are more likely to eat meals alone than younger generation consumers. 

For more information from this report, visit


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