Changing Eating Habits Part 2

Changing Eating Habits Part 2

Changing Eating Habits Part 2. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.
Back in the 50’s when the housewife picked up her briefcase and went to work, America’s eating habits changed. Fewer meals were eaten in the home. Today there is a reversal of that as fewer people are grabbing a meal out and more meals are being prepared at home. But America still loves convenience. Harry Balzer a widely-known industry expert on people’s eating habits.

BALZER: We like our homes make no mistake about this. 72% of all our meals come from home, 19% come from food service, 7% of all meals are skipped and 2% of meals – I have no idea where they came from. The biggest challenge that faces us is how to prepare that meal. If you take all those meals and say where did they come from the number one, 65% of all meals you prepared them or somebody in the house prepared the meal. Again maybe it was just putting a pizza in a microwave but you had to do something. It wasn’t prepared for you.

This is where that convenience part comes in because we like it to be convenient. One of the ways that people make that meal easier is by getting rid of the side dish. Balzer says that in the past 70% of all meals had side dishes and today that number is 58% but it has leveled off as more meals are again being prepared at home.

BALZER: And what are the top side dishes in this country? Number one, and I call it vegetables. I separate vegetables from potatoes, I put vegetables up there. Number two would be potatoes, number three would be a salad, number 4 would be bread. Are any of them growing? Not even salads because it has nothing to do with the food, it has to do about the behavior, the lifestyle, the change and if you want to be contemporary you want to make my life easier. That’s what I’m looking for and if I have to make two items and main dish and a side dish you’ve not made my life easier.

What America eats has been slowly changing over the last 50 years as well. Health concerns have been an influence but convenience is the major factor.

BALZER: The real issue on how our eating habits is not about how we behave, is it? It’s our health and we act on our health. Most American’s are overweight, there’s not surprise about that. The government stepped in and they gave us this nutritional labeling law because if you were an informed consumer you’d be healthier, you’d make wise choice wasn’t that the idea?

Balzer says that while the nutritional information is good and the intent was there, it didn’t do what the government set out to do. Obesity levels have consistently risen since the program was put into effect. What did Balzer find was the answer?

BALZER: Make it cheaper. We’re trying to do this; we’re trying to tax the bad foods. The truth of the matter is it’s going to be something that will be an immediate benefit to me and I can see immediately. If you don’t believe me look at the dairy industry. Their industry is dominated by low fat but when I was a kid it was all whole fat. Why, because the low fat was always cheaper.

Balzer was addressing the 2010 Potato Expo in Orlando, Florida.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.

Previous ReportChanging Eating Habits
Next ReportGetting More From Bio-refineries