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Lazy Americans Are Blowing Tons of Their Money on Food Delivery

An industrial vat of glow-in-the-dark sex jelly, a dime bag of what are supposedly John Goodman’s toenail clippings, and a half-eaten dinner roll found in Betty White’s cryo-chamber. The year is 2015, and pretty much everything is readily available for...
July 29, 2015, 5:15pm
Photo via Flickr user Quinn Dombrowski

An industrial vat of glow-in-the-dark sex jelly, a dime bag of what are supposedly John Goodman's toenail clippings, and a half-eaten dinner roll found in Betty White's cryo-chamber. The year is 2015, and pretty much everything is readily available for delivery online.

Especially when it comes to food. But maybe that's not always so great.

A new study by, of all people, Butterball—the folks that bring us those pre-brined frozen turkeys—says that the average American spends $1,100 a year ordering food online. That's a lot of cash money, considering that the average American earns around $42,700 annually (pre-taxes).

Just two years ago, another study found that people were spending about $200 per year less than the new study revealed; today, the average weekly order of food online is almost $21 per person. This could be due to the advent of urban delivery and takeout apps such as Seamless and Grubhub that have become increasingly popular over time. Still, over 50 percent of Americans say that their favorite way to eat is to cook at home. Sure. And I totally don't have a bust of Tim Curry made out of marzipan tucked away in my closet.

In the new survey, Butterball asked 1,000 people about their online food-ordering habits. One in 20 turned out to be real addicts, ordering in every one or two days. And one out of four Americans eats delivery or takeout at least once a week.

Why are Americans ordering their food in? Well, they'll admit to the following: cravings (52 percent), laziness or tiredness (35 percent) and not knowing what to cook with what you have in the house. Almost half say it's just easier to order in. That may account for the 90 percent who are willing to admit that even though their fridges are full, they still willingly order in like some sort of delivery-devouring manborg secretly being puppeteered by The Jim Henson Company.

All of this begs the question, is cooking at home actually a thing of the past? At the very least, it seems like consistently cooking at home has gone the way of the Furby. Less than a third of those surveyed cook at home every day of the week, even though 62 percent know that what they order in is less healthy than what they could cook.

READ: Eating at Fancy Restaurants Makes You Just as Fat as Hitting the Drive-Thru

Even Thanksgiving and Christmas aren't sacrosanct. A full 35 percent said that yup, they order in then, too. Hey, America: you say you enjoy the holidays because they're homey and cozy—and then you order in? Is there nothing we hold dear anymore? Astronauts used to be heroes, and holiday eating was once king!

Now that I have that off my chest, and ignoring the fact that I was almost certainly just possessed by Andy Rooney: 55 percent of the respondents also admitted to being overweight, or at least believing they were. No surprise there.

Butterball, which obviously would like you all to stay home and cook a few dozen of their self-basting turkeys, had this to say: "We live in an age of temptation, where so many things are done for us." Like the plucking, freezing, and basting of turkeys, perhaps?

Bridget O'Malley, a Senior Manager of Consumer Promotions and Advertising for Butterball, continued: "And though the ease of online ordering has led people down often less healthy and more expensive roads, it's heartening to know that home-cooking is still America's favorite way to eat."

GrubHub is indeed the most popular method of ordering on line, at least among these survey takers. Most of the respondents use apps to order their food, and 64 percent said downloading the app led to more online ordering. The survey takers were also asked what would get them in the kitchen more, and many responded that a tricked out kitchen with all the bells and whistles would help, as would better deals on groceries.

Sure, people. Tell yourself whatever makes you feel better. But the truth is, you really want to know the answer to this burning question: Who delivers now?