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Food and the Family What Americans are Eating. Sheila R. Cohn, RD Manager, Nutrition Policy National Restaurant Association OVERVIEW. Industry Forecast 2002 Who we are Customers Drive the Industry!. Restaurant Industry 2002. Locations………………..858,000

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Food and the family what americans are eating l.jpg

Food and the FamilyWhat Americans are Eating

Sheila R. Cohn, RD

Manager, Nutrition Policy

National Restaurant Association

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  • Industry Forecast 2002

  • Who we are

  • Customers Drive the Industry!

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Restaurant Industry 2002

  • Locations………………..858,000

  • Employees………………11.6 Million

  • Share of Food $……......46.1%

  • Meals………..……………54 Billion

  • Typical Person………….4.2 meals / wk

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  • 11.6 million employees

  • Largest private sector employer

  • 9% of those employed in the United States

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  • 1/3 of all adults in the United States have worked in the restaurant industry at some point during their lives

  • Total annual wages and benefits equal $47 billion for fullservice restaurants and $37 billion for limited-service and snack establishments

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  • The typical employee in a foodservice occupation is:

    • Female (57%)

    • Under 30 years of age (57%)

    • Single (70%)

    • Working part-time and averaging 25.6 hours a week

    • Living in a household with two or more wage earners (81%)

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Eating-and-Drinking Places are Mostly Small Businesses

  • More than seven out of 10 eating-and-drinking places are single-unit (independent) operations

  • One out of three eating-and-drinking place firms are sole proprietorships or partnerships

  • More than seven out of 10 eating-and-drinking places had less than 20 employees in 1999

  • Restaurants account for the largest share of economic activity in travel and tourism, an essential sector of the nation’s economy

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Our Commitment

  • Cornerstone of Community involvement

  • 9 out of 10 tableservice restaurants are involved in charitable activity

  • Restaurateur’s philanthropic activities are most likely to be directed to community health programs

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Local Support

  • Youth athletic teams

  • Fun runs and races

  • Local sports leagues

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Restaurants Provide a Ladder to Management Opportunity

  • More than eight out of 10 salaried employees at restaurant started as hourly employees

  • Eating-and-drinking places employ more minority managers than any other industry

  • Two-thirds (66%) of supervisors in food-preparation-and-service occupations in 2001 were women, 13% were African American and 11% were of Hispanic origin

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Restaurants Provide a Ladder to Management Opportunity

  • Eating-and-drinking places rank second, based on sales volume, among retail establishments owned by African-Americans and Hispanics

  • Foodservice-and-lodging managers account for the largest number of managerial employees in the country – 1.5 million

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Restaurants: First in Daily Customer Contact

  • The typical person (age 8 and older) consumes an average of 4.2 meals prepared away from home per week, or 218 meals per year

  • More than 54 billion meals will be eaten in restaurants and school and work cafeterias in 2002

  • As income increases, consumers eat away from home more frequently

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Proportion of the Food Dollar

Spent Away From Home







Source: National Restaurant Association

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Who Drives the Industry ???

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Customers Are The Driving Force

  • A restaurant doesn’t “create” a niche, it taps into one

  • Any restaurant that fails to meet customer demands will not survive

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Meeting Customer Expectations

Nearly four out of five consumers gave an ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ rating to the value they received for the price they paid

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Industry of Choice

  • Virtually all restaurants allow customers to customize their meals, whether it is food-preparation method or substitution of food items to meet their needs

  • Restaurants provide a variety of sizes including appetizers, half-portions, full portions, and even double portions

  • Over 70% of consumers are more interested in customizing their food choices today than they were two yearsago

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Customer Expectations

All age groups identify food as the most important attribute when dining out

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More than two out of three adults agree

that going out to a restaurant with

family/friends gives them an opportunity

to socialize and is a better way to make

use of their leisure time than cooking and

cleaning up.

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Knowledge, Attitudes, Wants and NeedsNew Research Describes:

  • How receptive consumers are towards ingredients, flavors and preparations

  • What types of foods and ingredients we can expect a growing number of consumers to be interested in ordering from foodservice establishments

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Outside of the Ordinary

  • Consumers want to be “sold” on menu choices

  • Consumers are more knowledgeable and sophisticated in expressing what they want

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Words that add a lot of interest

  • Fresh, Farm-fresh

  • Home-made

  • Grilled, Charcoal grilled

  • Roasted

  • Char-Broiled

  • Baked

  • Barbequed

  • Marinated

  • Sautéed

  • Hearty

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Making a menu choice less interesting

  • Raw

  • Deep-fried, Fried, Flash Fried

  • Blackened

  • Infused

  • Pureed

  • Flan

  • Jambalaya

  • Poached

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Food Attitudes and Menu ChoicesHow people choose foods at restaurants:

  • How adventurous (or unadventurous) one is about foods

  • How concerned one is about the food one consumes for health, nutrition or some form of dietary regime

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Prosciutto, Duck, Rabbit


Goat cheese, gorgonzola

Balsamic Vinegar, Tandoori

Artichokes, Lemon Grass, Arugula

Couscous, Polenta


Menu Expressions









Adventurous Diners

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Feta, Goat Cheese

Curry, Pine Nuts

Winter Vegetables, Bib Lettuce, Eggplant

Black Beans, Sun-dried Tomatoes, Figs

Risotto, Polenta

Ciabata Bread, Naan

Menu Expressions





Pesticide Free



Hormone Free




Health-Conscious Diners

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Steak, Chicken, Pork

Fresh Mozzarella

Pita Bread


Ketchup, Mustard, Garlic

Menu Expressions








Au Gratin




Carefree Diners

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Steak, Chicken, Turkey

Fresh Mozzarella

Ketchup, Mustard


Menu Expressions

Fresh, Farm Fresh





Farm Raised

Crispy, Crunchy

Pesticide Free


Deep Fried



Traditional Diners

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Takeout Trends Convenience is Critical

  • Growing appetite for takeout food

  • 78% of U.S. households make at least one carryout or delivery purchase in a typical month

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Menu Offerings Convenience is Critical

  • One size definitely doesn’t fit all

  • Customization is in at fine dining, casual dining and family restaurants alike

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Starters Anyone? Convenience is Critical

  • The number of appetizers offered in 1999 yielded an average of nine appetizers per menu

  • Stimulate diners’ taste buds and awaken the desire to experiment

  • Promote sharing

  • May easily double as a light meal for an adult or a child

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Entrée Salads Convenience is Critical

  • More chains offer salads as a meal

  • Wider selection of unique entrée salads available

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Entrée Salads Convenience is Critical

  • Nearly half of tableservice operators report consumers buying more salads than 2 years ago

  • More than 80% of tableservice menus offer main-dish salads

  • Flavor and texture are driving factors - cool, crunchy, colorful

    Source: National Restaurant Association

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A Little Spice is Nice Convenience is Critical

  • A preference for spiciness varies by generation

  • Generation X and Y show a greater inclination to order more spicy dishes than older adults do

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Ethnic Cuisines Convenience is CriticalSignificant Growth Since 1994

  • Italian

  • Mexican

  • Japanese (Sushi)

  • Thai

  • Caribbean

  • Middle Eastern

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Produce Impact Convenience is Critical

  • Rise of organics

  • Locally grown

  • Entrée salads

  • Meatless meals

  • Comfort foods

  • Ethnic fusion

  • Labor savers

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New Tastes Convenience is Critical

Produce tried first at a restaurant and then purchased at a store:

  • Mangoes

  • Kiwifruit

  • Papayas

  • Jicama

  • Pineapples

    Source: The Packer’s Fresh Trends 2000

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Wrap It Up Convenience is Critical

  • Make tonight’s dinner tomorrow’s lunch

  • 95% of restaurants provide take-away containers for consumers that want to turn "tonight’s dinner into tomorrow’s lunch."

  • 43% of consumers sometimes choose a larger portion so they can take leftovershome

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Food and the Family Convenience is CriticalWhat Americans are Eating

Sheila R. Cohn, RD

Manager, Nutrition Policy

National Restaurant Association