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Munchies

Americans Now Spend More Money at Restaurants than on Groceries

According to data collected by US Census Bureau and USDA , Americans are relying more and more on food not prepared at home, and it's having an impact of public health.

by Nick Rose
Jun 20 2016, 2:00pm

Photo via Flickr user Elsie Hui

Ever stare into your empty fridge at the end of the week and ask yourself why you didn't stock it with groceries instead of going out for lunch, and maybe even dinner, all week long?

And then the weekend rolls around and you end up indulging in the obligatory boozy dinners and brunches with friends. It's a just a couple bucks here, and a couple bucks there; you've worked hard all week and earned it, right?

READ MORE: Millennials Can't Cook and Don't Care Who Knows It

Still, all that spending and no food in your home. You beat yourself up over these lavish food expenditures and, soon enough, start feeling as cold and empty as the Maytag buzzing away in your kitchen, gently reminding you that your diet and financial situation are essentially the same as they were in college.

Well, if that's the case, you're not alone. According to data collected by the US Census Bureau and USDA and compiled by Quartz, this is the situation that many Americans find themselves in. By comparing grocery and restaurant sales over the last 24 years, the Census Bureau was able determine that last year, for the first time ever, Americans spent more money at "US eating and drinking establishments" than at the grocery store.

This historical shift is largely attributed to the factors as disparate as grocers having to compete with the "rock-bottom pricing of dollar stores" and the "surge of female participation in the labor force," according to Quartz.

The USDA also estimates that eating food not prepared at home now accounts for 41 percent of food expenditures and 32 percent of caloric intake. By extension, Americans are, on the whole, increasing their intake of salt, saturated fat, and sodium, as well as lowering their intake of fiber—not exactly good news for America's war on obesity.

So, maybe it's not just Millennials who are too lazy to cook. Maybe they are the only ones willing to admit it.