There are lots of ways to save money in the kitchen with a few simple behavioral changes.
Fort Worth, Texas (Vocus) August 11, 2008
With the cost of everything from gasoline to a loaf of bread on the rise, many Americans are evaluating their monthly budgets for ways to trim costs and stretch purchases. While economic experts agree the average household can trim its food expenses, most consumers are left figuring out just how to trim the "fat" from the food budget while providing a variety of healthy meals.
Americans spent nearly $1 trillion on food in 2007 including eating at home and in restaurants. While National Restaurant Association research found the average American ate in a restaurant 81 times a year and enjoyed "to go" food 127 times a year as recently as 2006, that number is on the decline, and families are eating at home more than ever as they look for ways to reduce expenses.
Grocery shopping is not always the easy answer, however. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cited a 5.9 percent increase in grocery costs in May 2008 compared with a year earlier with some perishable foods, such as dairy products, up 11 percent. This rise in grocery costs is credited to higher fuel costs and the subsequent increase in shipping prices. Combining higher food prices with the rising cost of driving to the grocery store, many Americans are looking for help.
According to Judie Byrd, co-founder of Super Suppers and the one responsible for food decisions in her own household, in the midst of rising food costs there are many creative ways to nourish their family while actually saving money.
"Families have so much to worry about in terms of finances these days, food should not be one of them," said Byrd. "There are lots of ways to save money in the kitchen with a few simple behavioral changes."
According to one Food Retailing Industry group, about one-third of all Americans do not know what they will eat two hours before dinnertime with an even higher percentage of single men, single mothers and "Gen Y" members avoiding meal planning. This lack of planning costs money, including unplanned trips to restaurants and quick-stop dining establishments and last-minute grocery shopping that increases "redundant" purchases (items that are already on-hand at home) and impulse purchases. By limiting restaurant and quick-stop eating, planning your home meals ahead of time and grocery shopping just once a week, you can reduce often-costly last-minute food shopping and gas consumption. A well-stocked pantry can save you trips to the store and help make meals easier too. Having basic, non-perishable ingredients like baking mixes, spices, canned vegetables and meats, and condiments on hand can spark creativity in the kitchen.
Perhaps because of the rising cost of groceries, Americans halted a 16-year trend of declining redemptions by turning in 2.6 billion manufacturers' coupons last year, according to CMS Inc. According to a grocery industry report, 88 percent of American families could save "considerable" money by coupon clipping with some avid clippers saving $50 to $80 per week on grocery costs.
Be More Efficient
According to the University of Arizona, on average, a family of four wastes 14 percent of its food purchases annually, including about $590 worth of meat, fruits, vegetables and grains alone. The reason for this waste can be attributed to lack of planning, inefficiency in the food preparation and serving process and America's general resistance to eating leftovers.
The meal assembly industry, with providers such as Super Suppers, allows customers to purchase complete "Take n' Bake" entrées and meals instead of the costly individual ingredients and materials that go in to the meal. A June 2008 analysis of grocery prices found that consumers can save between $1 and $7 per serving on several of Super Suppers' entrées, including Asian Flank Steak, Lemon Tarragon White Fish Fillets with Herbed Vegetable Rice Pilaf and Pecan Praline Chicken, versus the cost of buying all of the materials and ingredients needed to prepare the same meal for a family of four. Savings on Super Suppers versus groceries could be as dramatic as $30 per meal for a family of four.
Super Suppers is cheaper than restaurants, too. An analysis of the cost of feeding a family of four a large-sized Take n' Bake Super Suppers' entrée (about $24 in most stores) with two sides and bread could save a family as much as $25 per meal versus the price of buying four entrées and sides and paying tax and tip at a sit-down restaurant, according to Super Suppers' research.
Most food industry experts agree that the impact of current economic woes will likely last for several quarters, if not years, and the severity of the impact will likely grow. Making some slight changes, such as planning ahead, clipping coupons and being more efficient with food purchases, including eating leftovers and using Take n' Bake services, can help families save money and ensure proper family nutrition in the future.
About Super Suppers
Super Suppers is the answer to the age-old question, "What's for dinner?" Customers visit our professional kitchens for great-tasting Take n' Bake entrées, which they take home and cook later at their convenience. We provide further meal simplicity through services such as our Grab n' Go freezers, stocked with Take n' Bake entrées, sides and desserts, as well as fast, convenient Curbside-To-Go call-ahead service and monthly Supper Club for even greater savings. Super Suppers was established by Judie Byrd, founder of the Fort Worth Culinary School. Recognized by Newsweek magazine as one of America's fastest growing franchises, and by Entrepreneur magazine as the fourth best new franchise for 2007, Super Suppers has approximately 145 locations in 37 states. For more information, visit http://www.supersuppers.com.
Associated (for Super Suppers)
(316) 683-4691 ext. 216
sean @ unexpectedagency.com