CHICAGO – Based on recent research, the next generation of the American family is more ethnically diverse, cash-strapped, cuisine-savvy and health-concerned than ever before. This article which recently appeared in Food Technology magazine is a guide to the new culinary, health and restaurant behaviors shaping the food choices of tomorrow's family.

New food trends in the American family include:

  • The more children there are in a household, the more likely its members are to cook at home, use prepackaged convenience foods and cut back on restaurant visits.
  • Gen X (ages 35-44) and Gen Y (ages 18-34) parents are an integral part of today's foodie movement and have a penchant for freshness, cleaner labels and minimally processed foods.
  • One-third of all families with children have income less than twice the federal poverty line, meaning that affordable family meals are in great demand.
  • For most American families, the evening meal is not prepared at home an average of five times per week.
  • Parents' wish list for children's snacks includes more nutrients, controlled portion sizes, fresh, lower fat and lower calories.?
  • Six out of 10 families are practicing some form of healthy eating strategy, such as eating more fruits/vegetables, whole grain and low fat dairy; limiting fats and sugar; reducing portion sizes; eating more seafood; and ordering healthier options when eating out.
  • One-third or more of moms are making strong efforts to limit sugar, high fructose corn-syrup, trans fats and low-calorie sweeteners, as well as increase consumption of calcium, vitamins/minerals, whole grains and protein.