Consumers have reported increased purchases of ready-to-eat convenience foods over the last decade, a new survey reports.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Flexible Consumer Behavior Survey reported consumers in 2015-16 reported purchases of 2.4 ready-to-eat foods in the past 30 days, up more than 25% from 2007-08, when consumers reported consuming 1.9 ready-to-eat foods in the same period.
For 2015-16, the USDA survey found about 89% of adults bought food from a fast-food restaurant and 90% of adults ate at a sit-down restaurant in the past 12 months.
The 2015-16 survey found that consumers reported eating 3.6 food away from home meals in the last week, down slightly from 4 food-away-from-home meals reported in the same period in 2007-08.
For both 2007-08 and 2015-16, less than half of food-away-from-home meals were from a fast-food restaurant, according to the USDA.
The survey said the percentage of adults who saw nutrition information on a fast-food restaurant menu increased from 20% in 2007-08 to 42% in 2015-16. The percentage of adults who saw nutrition information on a sit-down restaurant menu increased from 16% to 27%.
However, the percentage of adults who used nutrition information on a fast-food restaurant menu was 41% in 2015-16, up only 1% from 2007-08. The number of adults who used nutrition information on a sit-down restaurant menu actually declined, from 53% in 2007-08 to 43% in 2015-16.
MyPlate awareness low
The survey found that the MyPlate guide to support healthy eating is not widely known by consumers.
The survey found 24% of adults reported that they had heard of MyPlate in 2015-16, up from 20% in 2013-14. Among those who heard of MyPlate, the survey found the percentage of adults who had tried to follow the recommendations in the MyPlate plan remained stable at 35% over these two time periods.