CHICAGO – Prepared foods purchased from retail outlets for at-home consumption is projected to grow twice as much as restaurant visits over the next 10 years, according to a report from The NPD Group.

Instances of prepared -food purchases are expected to increase by 10 percent over the next decade, compared to a 4 percent rise in restaurant traffic. NPD forecasts that the commercial foodservice industry will grow less than 1 percent a year over the next 10 years, with meals consumed in midscale restaurants facing the slowest growth and food purchased for immediate consumption from supermarkets, discount stores and wholesale clubs experiencing the strongest growth.

“Capturing visits from direct competition, like prepared foods retailers, has been the primary source for a restaurant operator’s growth over the past 10 years, and this will continue to be the case,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst.

Diversity in prepared-food offerings satisfies a broad range of consumer needs. While adults 35 years and older are more likely to buy prepared foods for dinner, 18- to 34-year-olds tend to purchase afternoon or evening snacks from retail outlets, and seniors are more likely to consume prepared foods for lunch. Additionally, younger adults are more likely to choose pizza, hot dogs and burgers than consumers aged 50 and older, who are more likely to buy fried and non-fried chicken. The most popular prepared entrées purchased from retail outlets are chicken, pizza, macaroni and cheese and sandwiches.

“Efforts to pull consumers out of their homes and back into restaurants will require touting the benefits of eating out vs. staying at home and cooking or eating meals offered by home meal replacement retailers,” Riggs said.