20 Eating Out vs Cooking at Home Statistics for 2021

Picture this: you come home from work, starving. You open your fully stocked fridge to pick out the ingredients but then realize cooking would take at least another hour. You grab your keys and wallet; it’s Chick-fil-A o’clock, again.

The latest eating out vs cooking at home statistics confirm that many people go down this spiral.

However, some prefer to cook their meals and enjoy every minute of it. But first things first — let’s see what top stats our menu has to offer.

Top 10 Eating Out vs Eating at Home Statistics

Statistics on Eating Out vs Eating at Home

Frequenting restaurants and ordering takeout or delivery is ingrained in the American lifestyle and culture.

However, as home cooking statistics for 2021 reveal, most Americans still prefer to prepare meals independently, aware of the health benefits and cost-efficiency of cooking at home.

1. Food costs take up 12.5% of the average American household budget, according to the statistics on cooking and eating out.

(HuffPost, BLS)

Recent consumer spending statistics show that, along with housing and transport, food is in the top three things that Americans are spending their annual household budget on.

BLS stats on eating out vs cooking in America show that during the reporting period, average spending on food at home increased 4.2% compared to the previous year, amounting to $4,725.

In turn, eating away from home saw a drop of 12.8% in 2020, with an average expenditure of $2,994.

2. Home cooking statistics from 2019 reveal that more than 36 million people in the US used smartphone apps for food delivery.

(Statista)

The food delivery industry flourished due to the pandemic through apps like Uber Eats and Grubhub that bring food to your doorstep, convenient for both customer-deprived caterers and consumers under lockdown.

According to home cooking statistics for 2020, the number of food delivery app users rose 25.2% in that year, and it is predicted to hit 53.9 million in 2023.

3. The US dining out trends for September 2021, suggest that sit-down restaurants witnessed a traffic decline of 8% year-over-year.

(Statista, Forbes)

The six biggest national sit-down chains, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Applebee’s, Chili’s, Denny’s, and Outback Steakhouse, suffered a major traffic decrease of 48% in the week of December 21, as dining out statistics reveal.

During the investigated period, Denny’s saw the sharpest decline of roughly 50%, while the least damaged was Longhorn Steakhouse, with a drop ranging from 20% to 30%.

4. Statistics on home cooking reveal that Americans discard 30–40% of the purchased food and beverages.

(AAEA)

An average American household throws away an annual amount of food worth around $1,866. This leads to an average annual loss of over $240 million, as home cooking statistics for the USA confirm.

Fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products, and meat, poultry, and fish products have the highest loss percentages.

5. Statistics on Americans eating out from 2018 suggest that away-from-home food sales amounted to $931 billion.

(Farm Bureau)

And restaurant food sales captured 73% of this amount.

In addition, facts about eating out point out that US consumers also turned to food services in educational institutions, hotels, and various recreational centers, which make up 15% of total sales, or $139 billion.

A significant portion of away-from-home food was purchased through airlines, equating to $45 billion.

6. As per the US eating out vs cooking at home statistics for 2018, grocery store sales totaled $460 billion.

(Farm Bureau, Invesp)

The second most popular channel were the warehouse clubs and supercenters, which, together with grocery stores, accounted for 80% of total sales, amounting to $628 billion, as cooking at home statistics show.

In the same year, online shopping statistics showed that 48% of shoppers said they are already making their purchases online, while 59% planned to do so in 2019.

7. 15% of millennials used meal-kit delivery services during 2020.

(Report Linker)

Eating out vs cooking at home statistics reveal that every fourth millennial in the US cooks only once or twice per week, or never.

Being inexperienced cooks, they mostly learn via the internet, but they are also taking up the trend of meal kits.

Statistics on eating out vs eating at home for 2020 show that a gratifying 70% of consumers noted improvement in their cooking thanks to this service, but the concept is still novel and yet to thrive among the wider population.

8. Statistics of Americans eating out for breakfast show a decline as 45% of Americans eat their first meal at home more frequently.

(Supermarket News)

A survey by Acosta reports that 47% of American shoppers plan to cut down on eating out for breakfast or drop the habit altogether.

The pandemic resulted in an decreasing the general rate of eating out in the United States, as more than half of respondents have concerns about eating out and opt  for eating at home, the same survey finds.

9. Over a third of Americans report cooking every day, according to statistics on cooking at home for 2020.

(Report Linker)

Reports found that the most likely daily cooks include stay-at-home persons and retirees.

Additionally, 50% have reported cooking from three to six days per week. Of this, 58% have full-time jobs.

10. Home cooking statistics show that 40% of shoppers have a hard time planning what to cook every day.

(Supermarket News)

Moreover, the biggest concern surrounding homemade meals is COVID-19 exposure during grocery shopping, cooking at home trends from 2020 suggest.

Other home cooking challenges include lack of ingredients, insufficient cooking skills, time management, and providing enough food for all household members.

Although a quarter of respondents are fed up with the additional meal prepping, an encouraging 35% claim they have rediscovered their love for cooking.

Demographics of People Eating Out

After taking a look at American cooking and eating out habits, let’s delve into the demographics.

Which generation is more likely to eat out, who pays most for their meals, and how do income, gender, or geographical location influence eating out preferences? Keep reading to find out.

11. People with a $40,001–$50,000 yearly average income spend approximately 12%–15% of their earnings in restaurants.

(Yahoo Finance)

Statistics on eating out vs eating at home also reveal this amounts to $117.82 per week.

This is more than the amount spent by those with an income range between $50,001 and $60,000, who statistically eat out the most — almost four times a week on average.

12. According to the latest eating out demographics, 72% of millennials go out to drink or eat at least once per week.

(QSR magazine)

When it comes to Americans eating out, statistics reveal that millennials are more likely than Gen Xers and baby boomers to eat out, spending an average of $139 at restaurants every month.

Furthermore, 67% of consumers prefer ordering a takeout or opting for a delivery service, while 41% of consumers who order online prefer curbside delivery.

13. Alaskans spend an average of $3,572 a year on dining out, eating out statistics from 2019 reveal.

(Business Insider)

Additionally, seven more states spend over $3,000 on eating out, some of them being Massachusetts, New York, and Wyoming. Among states not willing to pay over $2,000 are Arkansas, Nevada, and Mississippi.

14. More than 70% of baby boomers are primarily concerned with the taste of the food when choosing a restaurant.

(Food Service Director)

When it comes to Americans dining out, statistics show that boomers also appreciate high-quality food, as 68% report that this is the factor that influences their restaurant selection.

Global Statistics on Eating Out

Frequenting restaurants and cafes used to be a matter of prestige, but nowadays, it’s a matter of convenience.

Global eating out preferences are shifting together with lifestyle changes, but the world’s cuisines are available on every step — or just a click.

Let’s find out more about consumer eating out habits around the world.

15. Eating out statistics for 2021 found that 63% of consumers globally are eating out less at small and locally owned restaurants.

(Ipsos)

The most visible decrease is witnessed in North America and Latin America, with respective drop rates of 68% and 79%.

The situation is slightly less aggravating in the Asia-Pacific region, where just over a half of consumers dine in small and local restaurants less often.

16. European households spend over $710 billion on catering services, as per global demographics of eating out from 2018.

(Eurostat)

Reports show that catering services, meaning cafes, restaurants, and other similar outlets, capture 7% of total European consumption expenditure.

The highest shares of household income spent on catering services were exhibited by Ireland, Spain, Malta, and Greece, as eating at home vs eating out statistics reveal.

Countries which spent the least on eating out were Romania, Poland, and Lithuania.

17. The global online food delivery market was worth $107.44 billion in 2019.

(Statista)

Eating out statistics from 2019 predicted that the sector would hit $154 billion in value by 2023.

Online food ordering services made our meals just a few clicks away, witnessing an increase of 67% in global consumption, especially in the US, where it reached an overwhelming 123%.

18. The highest average bill for a meal outside the home is paid in the United Arab Emirates.

(Prestige Online)

As per global eating out stats, the citizens of this country pay $15.5 when eating out. Ranking second is the UK where the average bill amounts to $15.1, followed by France ($12.4) and Spain ($8.6).

However, the Spanish spend $1,931 per year to maintain their eating out habits, compared to $1,584 spent in the United Arab Emirates.

19. Based on eating out statistics from 2019 for Canada, more than half of Canadians eat out or buy takeout food at least once a week.

(The Grower)

Only 8% reported not eating out for the past month at all, while 39% said they eat out less than once a week. In addition, 49% of Canadians said they mostly eat dinner outside their homes.

20. At least one member in about half of Australian households orders takeout every day.

(Future Food)

Boy, they sure love takeouts in the Land Down Under. Australian dining out statistics from 2019 confirm that most breakfast takeouts were purchased in Melbourne, while lunch was the favorite takeout option in Sydney.

Finally, those in the outback regions of Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia opt for having dinner in fast-food restaurants.

FAQ

What percent of meals are eaten at home?

Meals prepared at home amount to a staggering 82%, as the current home-cooked meals statistics show.

Eating at home has several advantages. It’s definitely a better option for a healthy diet, it’s cheaper, and it’s made more convenient than ever through grocery delivery apps and ready-made meals.

Is cooking at home cheaper than eating out?

According to one study, when comparing eating out vs cooking at home cost, ordering takeout from a restaurant is five times more expensive than preparing your own meal.

Even meal kits that are considered reasonably priced are three times as expensive as cooking a full meal afresh, the same study found.

Don’t forget that you’re paying for the entire service when eating at the restaurant and not just the food you ate.

How much does the average American spend eating out?

The average American pays $232 a month for commercially prepared meals and eats out four to five times a week.

Moreover, the dining out stats also show that if an American eats 4.2 meals out per week, that makes 18.2 meals per month, at an average cost of $12.75.

How many people eat out instead of cooking?

Survey findings suggest that the percentage of people eating out two or three times a week is 56%. In addition, 10% of the respondents reported dining out four to six times a week, and 6% said they do it every day.

Does cooking at home really save money?

It does if you do it efficiently.

Practice doing your shopping weekly instead of daily, cook for the whole family and not for individual members, or prepare your weekly meals in advance and put them in the freezer until you need them.

Bottom Line

Eating out vs cooking at home statistics confirm that there has been a shift in preferences mainly in favor of cooking, but that most working people and younger generations still choose to order or eat out.

To cook, or not to cook remains the question, but the thought of squandering your money away on takeouts is not exactly appealing either.

At the end of the day, you do have to eat, so if you can’t decide — let your stomach decide for you.

Sources

As a translator with a degree in English language and literature, Tamara’s work requires a lot of research, problem-solving, and creativity. Her lifelong objective is to master as many languages as she possibly can — she is fluent in four and is currently learning a fifth language. As a person with a restless and curious mind, she finds the written word is the best way of clearing and expressing one’s thoughts, so she invests a lot of effort and love in her writing. She recharges her batteries by spending time with her dog, reading a good book, finding new music, or traveling.

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