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Redefining three meals a day

Americans are still making time for the traditional three meals a day, but they are supplementing with more snacks. According to the NPD Group's National Eating Trends report, meals are getting smaller as snacking continues rise.

  • Meals have shrunk in size. Only 4.1 food and beverage items are now consumed per meal versus an average of 5.3 in 1985
  • The majority of respondents considered dinner the only complete meal
  • One out of five—20%—of “eating occasions” is a snack
  • 53 percent of Americans eat two or three snacks a day

“Our frequent snacking is a result of our hectic lifestyles, need for convenience, increasing desire to eat healthier foods, and simply to enjoy what we eat,” concludes Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst.

Source: The NPD Group/ National Eating Trends and CREST, year ending Feb. 2012