By: Allison Febrey, Assistant, Health and Wellness/FMI Foundation/Food and Product Safety, Food Marketing Institute
Making Meals Easier

The American way of life continues to change at a very fast pace. It has become more difficult to juggle work, kids and friends with increasingly busy schedules.

Despite these changes, one thing remains the same—families want to eat meals together. Seventy-one percent of parents say that ideally, they would like to eat dinner with their children every single night (Shopping for Health, FMI, 2016). Unfortunately, families succeed only half the time (U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2017, FMI). Families face many obstacles to dinner at home, including:

  • Differing schedules (55 percent);
  • Too many distractions get in the way (21 percent); and
  • Not enough time to prepare meals (21 percent).

The food retail industry knows how busy their consumers’ lives are and works hard every day to help shoppers select and prepare convenient, healthy, meals for their families. Consumers look to their grocery store for help—67 percent of households with kids outsource cooking meals to the grocery store, at least some of the time (U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2017, FMI). Some of the top ways that food retailers are helping customers achieve family meals include:

  • 100 percent of stores provide their customers with recipes;
  • 91 percent offer shoppers fresh prepared foods; and
  • 85 percent routinely stage cooking demonstrations.

(2017 Retailer Contributions to Health and Wellness and 2016 The Food Retailing Industry Speaks)

In addition to the help they provide every day, the food retail industry is highlighting their family meal solutions during the month of September, National Family Meals Month™. This celebration focuses on the importance of family mealtime as well as helping families achieve meals together.

Here are a few examples of the creative ways that food retailers assisted customers in achieving more family meals in September of last year:

  • Hy-Vee, Inc. offered cooking classes and easy pickup/delivery meal options.
  • Baesler’s Market had pre-packaged kits containing meal ingredients and a recipe card.
  • Hannaford Supermarkets featured end-caps and off-shelf signage featuring family-friendly and healthful recipe ideas.
You can find more by going to Our website has the toolkits, resources and ideas to get you started. Be sure to check out our Best Practice Guide to see what retailers and suppliers have done in the past and our Retailer and Manufacturer Toolkits. There is still time to take part in this year’s National Family Meals Month™ helping families share more meals together. Join the discussion on social media with #FamilyMealsMonth.