Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Way We Eat

This morning, online I read a press release about the growth of our sustainable food system, an article about GMO foods, more news on the government’s proposed sodium reduction legislation, etc.  Let’s throw into the mix numerous articles about our snacking behavior.  What is with the way we eat?

Read On:
Let me begin with a direct quote from the president of NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) whose organization sponsored a sustainable food event in Los Angeles at the end of May: 

“Americans are realizing that if we change the way we eat, we can change the way the food system works.” 

Valid point!  As a result, more consumers have joined the debate about GMO foods and labeling.  More companies and restaurant operators are working hard to reduce the amount of sodium in their products.  The USDA reported there were 8,144 farmers markets in the U.S. in 2013 compared to 1,755 in 1994 when they first began publishing the National Directory of Farmers Markets.  The top three trends according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2014 Culinary Forecast were locally source meats/seafood, locally grown produce and environmental sustainability, respectively.

American Eating Behavior Facts:

·         50% of all our eating occasions at home and away-from-home are considered snacks (source: Hartman Group).

·         50 million consumers who snack between meals indicated salty snacks are their favorite snacks and 90 percent of the households reported eating salty snacks in the last thirty days (source: Lab42 survey).

·         New findings from Pulse at the Pump: Road Trip (source: Outcast) revealed that 61% of this summer’s road trippers indicated they will temporarily set aside healthy eating for QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants).

Due to some of my travel experiences and observations, I have witnessed that most cultures are defined to a large degree by the food they eat.  Some busy Americans are beginning to slow down, thus are trying to define the way they eat.  However, it appears based on our current lifestyles that we are evolving into a “grab & go” culture. 

Have you defined the way you eat? 


  1. Hi Jim, snacking and grab-n-go can be a result of people having less time in their hectic schedules and since we must eat; a lot of times we are looking for quick and easy (no fuss options). Additionally our bodies crave salt, sugar and fat and companies use marketing tactics to allure us to their products by promoting a quick energy fix so we can keep going. Resulting in The "busy bee" syndrome...

    I love seeing all of the "pop-up" farmer's markets but the majority of people don't have access to enjoy the benefits of farm to table produce...

  2. Great post. Our culture has evolved into a "grab & go" lifestyle. Consumers now eat more on the go then ever before. With "convenience" a priority for a lot of busy consumers it's hard to begin to slow down and eat. Thus, it's hard to control what you eat. I agree with you that there is a snacking revolution occurring, which has already begun to change our eating habits.

  3. Certainly have Jimmy. A diagnosis of Hereditary Haemochromatosis followed by an episode of acute pancreatitis and subsequent gall bladder removal necessitated a red meat and alcohol free diet plus a permanent low fat diet. Consequence being a 10% weight reduction, lower blood pressure and a move away from fast foods due to high fat and high salt content. Forced to make time to prepare own meals, and it is really not that hard when it becomes a priority for one's health sake. Fortunately, I weaned myself off a high salt intake many years ago and don't have salt cravings. I have also found that it is possible and actually quite easy to prepare very tasty low fat meals by the judicious use of herbs and spices and experimenting a lot with various unusual vegetables.

  4. "Convenience " isn't all bad. A growing number of colleges and universities have combined the convenience format with healthier eating options. I, personally, am entering into a project of changing the offerings in a convenience chains hot food/deli from traditional fried and prepared items to more healthful, made in house selections. Don't get me wrong, the rest of the store is what we are used to seeing. I feel over time that will morph as well.