Downturn Influences Meal-Planning Trends

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SANTA MONICA, Calif., Dec. 31 (UPI) — The Great Recession changed many things about U.S. family life, including how families spend their time, what they buy and what they eat, a food expert says.

Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst, trend watcher and creator of the Web site supermarketguru.com, said because of the economy, more men are at home caring for children and have gone from breadwinner to breadmaker — 41 percent of men are doing the food preparation as compared with just about half that percentage in 2003.

In addition, a Boston College Center for Work and Family survey of 1,000 professional fathers from Fortune 500 companies in four different industries, found contemporary dads associate being a good father just as much with effective care-giving as with the traditional role of breadwinner.

“These men want to be engaged parents and successful professionals, yet find conflicts as they try to achieve both objectives,” Lempert said in a statement.

Economic pressures are resulting in men and women choosing to eat at home to save money, which occurs in any recession, but shoppers are continuing to buy local. They want to know more about how their food is grown and who grows it — many farmers are staying in touch with their customers via Twitter and Facebook pages, the survey found.

Also, there will be more interest in extreme home cooking — with families challenging themselves to eat more home-cooked meals, with a goal of cooking the most portions for the least amount of money.

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