Market Overview

Family Meals Month Serves Up Significant Consumer Impact


Family Meals Month Serves Up Significant Consumer Impact

PR Newswire

ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- This September marks the fourth annual National Family Meals Month ™ which the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Foundation launched to encourage Americans to strive for just one more family meal per week at home.  Over this short period of time, the movement has grown to include approximately 200 partners – food retailers, manufacturers and community organizations – and an annual tracking study by The Nielsen Company shows that the drive is having a significant impact.  According to Nielsen, among those who saw the campaign, 84% took action such as eating together more as a family and cooking more meals at home.

More Matters - at the table and on your plate.  More family meals nourish the spirit, mind and health of all family members. More fruits & vegetables help you and your family be at their best. #FamilyMealsMonth, #MoreMatters

The National Family Meals Month survey was conducted by the Nielsen Harris poll within the U.S. among 2,185 respondents. The sample was weighted to be representative of the total U.S. Harris poll and was used for a comparison to previous years' survey results and trends.  Awareness of the family meals movement is consistently growing from the 2015 launch until today.  According to the research, 15 million households had heard about National Family Meals Month in 2017.  And among those who saw the campaign, there has been significant behavior change:

  • Forty-two percent (42%) of consumers report they are cooking more meals at home.
  • Thirty-six percent (36%) of consumers report they are eating together more often as a family.
  • The same percentage – 36% -- report that they are making healthier food choices.
  • Thirty-five percent (35%) report that they are purchasing more fruits and vegetables.

"It is exceedingly rewarding to have witnessed the lightening-speed growth of this movement and the initial, significant impact on consumer behavior," said Sue Borra, RD, executive director of the FMI Foundation.  "Based on our ongoing research, we know that the majority of consumers (63%) across every generation – Millennials, GenX, Boomers and Matures – and across income levels believe it is important to eat at home together with their families/household.  Even more, 85% of consumers with kids at home believe it is important."

The research to which Borra is referring is the Food Marketing Institute U.S. Grocery Shoppers Trends 2018 report conducted by The Hartman Group.  This study demonstrates that:

  • Among meals eaten each week, only eight (approximately) are eaten with family/household members – approximately two breakfasts, two lunches and four dinners.
  • Among those meals, only three dinners are eaten at home.

This same study also showed that regardless of generation or income levels, American shoppers share the same top-four obstacles to having meals at home with their families more often:

  • Forty-nine percent (49%) cite differing schedules;
  • Twenty-two percent (22%) report that they don't have enough energy or are too tired;
  • Nineteen percent (19%) say they don't have enough time to prepare meals; and
  • Eighteen percent (18%) report that too many distractions get in the way such as television, social media or homework projects.

"We get it," Borra continued.  "There are lots of barriers that get in the way of our desire to have more family meals.  But that is exactly why this movement started – to help consumers confront these barriers and to demonstrate easy ways to squeeze in just one more family meal per week at home with items from the grocery store.  For example, it may be easier to target breakfast as an opportunity for a family meal rather than dinner.  It's not the time of day that matters, it's the family connection that counts.  The potential benefits – physical, emotional, educational, societal– are well worth the extra effort." 

The FMI Foundation encourages Americans to join the National Family Meals Month movement by pledging to share one more family breakfast, lunch or dinner at home per week using items from the grocery store.  Shoppers can post pledge photos, mealtime pictures, favorite recipes and shopping tips or even post a selfie wearing a favorite oven mitt with the hashtag #FamilyMealsMonth.  In addition, the FMI Foundation has developed a website, with consumer tips and links to numerous partners committed to helping consumers achieve their increased family meals goal.

A copy of the Nielsen research and the U.S. Grocery Shoppers Trends 2018 report is available here or by contacting

About the FMI Foundation
Established in 1996, the FMI Foundation seeks to ensure continued quality and efficiency in the food retailing system and is operated for charitable, educational and scientific purposes. To help support the role of food retailing, the FMI Foundation focuses on research and education in the areas of food safety, nutrition and health.  For information regarding the FMI foundation, visit


  • More Matters at Your Table & On Your Plate

Media Contact: Heather Garlich
(202) 220-0616

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SOURCE FMI Foundation

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