Stay-at-home orders haven’t been the only thing spurring on people to spend more time in food-related activities. According to the Economic Research Service arm of the USDA, Americans spent about 4.1 more minutes per day preparing food in 2014–2017 than they did in 2004–2007—that’s an 18% increase in time spent making meals and snacks.
Between those time frames, gender disparity in household food preparation lessened to a small degree, meaning that more men started rolling up their sleeves and chopping those carrots.
On any given day in 2014–2017, 54% of Americans ages 15 and older engaged in food prep, a rise from 47% a decade earlier. When people spend more time assembling their own food, they have greater control over their nutrition, and, in turn, their health.
Another notable finding: The average time that participants ages 15 and older spent shopping for groceries grew by 6%, from 43.2 minutes in 2004–2007 to 46.0 minutes in 2014–2017. The study authors speculate that this could reflect larger grocery stores carrying more products—requiring more time to browse the aisles—or people spending more time reading food labels as they become increasingly aware of the importance of selecting the most nutritious options.