"Food has many meanings for us beyond simple nourishment," Waltrina Stovall of 'Universal Press Syndicate' explained. "Eating is a social activity: we 'break bread together.' Certain foods are part of our religious, holiday and family rituals. Many people use food for psychological and emotional support – when they're unhappy, tense, bored or whatever. And for nearly all of us, dessert has a special significance: It is a reward. When we've been good, we want our 'just desserts.'" 

At the start of 1990, Martin J. Friedman, the editor of 'New Product News' foresaw the future in 6 f words: 

The 6 Martin foresaw, the 'Times Herald' Michigan noted in 1996, "According to Genesis, God created the universe in 6 days. 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep.'" That year, Art Cooper wrote the book, 'Goodbye Darwin'. He made the comment, "Except for the time difference, the big-bang theory and Genesis account are similar. 

"The first 3 days of God's labors would not have been solar days, since the solar system was not created until the 4th day. Time is relative, as Albert Einstein realized 90 years ago (in 1906). The early creation, occurring at tremendous speeds, would have seen the effect of Einstein’s time dilation. Eons would have been compressed into hours." 

Martin clarified, "Most food trends are an evolution rather than a revolution. We are not going to switch in 10 years (at the turn of the 21st century) to eating pills instead of food. But we do have a general decline in the taste standards. Young people's ideas of great fried chicken is not what grandma used to make; it's Kentucky Fried Chicken." Patricia Tennison pointed out, "Why are Americans snapping up frozen fast food? No busy homemaker, dual-income family, workaholic or hungry soccer player needs a multimillion-dollar study to answer that question. These products are convenient." 

"What we eat tomorrow will still look a lot like the stuff we eat today," Charlyne Varkonyi reported in 1989. "The difference will come in the way food technologists engineer the foods so they are healthier for us, last longer, taste better and get to the table faster. From 1975 to 1988, the percentage of working women with children under 18 grew from 47.4% to 65%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And even more moms are expected in the workplace during the next decade (the 1990s)."

Prediction: The (fresh) ready-to-eat (dinners) concept will be as much a way of life as ready-to-wear. Bob Messenger, the publisher of 'Food Trends Newsletter' elaborated, "The working mother is beginning to promote the idea of the family getting together for a sit-down meal. But here is the big difference – they are not going to eat meals prepared from scratch. They will be meals prepared in advance or take-home meals. Food companies are going to be pressured to produce more upscale frozen or shelf-stable dinners, and supermarkets will try to respond with fresh, ready-to-eat dinners."

Trade journals and food experts reportedly agreed that shelf-stable foods and refrigerated meals would compete aggressively with frozen dinners for the consumer food dollar. Mona Doyle of the Consumer Network in Philadelphia believed, "Fresh and ready is what takeout is really based on. And refrigerated alternatives to fast food, frozen food and restaurant food are bubbling up and creating excitement.

"Takeout, fresh and ready, is more comfortable, hassle-free and much faster than eating out. The British have it … the Japanese have it … the Americans want it. I think the state of our knowledge of what is environmentally sound is where we were with nutrition 15 years ago (around 1974). We are all on a learning curve. And we are all hooked on a convenience lifestyle. More important than the fast cooking in the microwave is the throwaway factor."

The National Eating Trends Service did a study of 2000 households in 1988 reported that "46% of the United States population carried a meal from home to school or work." Mark Plotnick clarified, "Brown bagging is declining during lunchtime because of an increase in institutional and commercial eating. Many businesses now (in 1988) have in-house cafeterias and a variety of vending machines. Carried meals will continue to decline because of alternative and more convenient sources of food."

Carpenter John Contessa confessed, "I usually eat out because I'm too lazy to make my own lunch – it's easier this way. But I do try to eat something decent, like salad or fruit. Every now and then I have a hamburger." University employee Craig Zelent conceded, "When I was young, I carried my lunch to school. Now I carry it to work. It's more economical, and I have greater control over what I eat. When you eat at a fast-food restaurant, you don't actually know what you are getting, and it may not be good for you."

'Advertising Age' reported, "While the products that set the style of the '80s fluctuated wildly between consumers' desire to eat light – for example, Lean Cuisine, Diet Coke, Nutrasweet – and their enthusiastic self-indulgence – perhaps best represented by the DoveBar – brands that succeed in the 1990s must address Americans' hope for a longer life through a healthy diet via fat substitutes, not sugar substitutes."

Louis Harris wrote the 1987 book, 'Inside America' informed, "On any given day, 37% American adults will eat at least one meal away from home. This means that just under 66 million Americans are going out to eat every day, more than the entire population of France, Italy, Germany or the United Kingdom. About 42% go out to family-style restaurant and 33% go to a fast food place. About half of the meals eaten out are lunch, a third dinner and the rest breakfast.

"Those most likely to dine out are young people, men, college graduates, higher-income people and employed women – basically the most mobile people, those who can most easily afford the cost and those with the least time to spare. When it comes to the main dish, 38% report ordering meat, with 19% ordering steak, 12% roast beef, 3% pork or ham, 3% veal and 1% lamb. An additional 22% choose fish, with 17% ordering shellfish, 11% chicken and 5% pasta.

"Almost all nutrition authorities advise people to eat more fish and chicken to avoid excessive cholesterol and calorie intake. American cooking leads all other types by a wide margin, with a 55% majority reporting that it is their favorite. American food dominates most in the South and Midwest. About 86% liked mashed potatoes, 80% liked home-fried potatoes, 73% liked beef stew, 70% liked meat loaf, 65% liked baked beans and 58% liked stuffed peppers. Italian food is most popular on the East coast (14%). Chinese (12%) and Mexican food rise in popularity in the West coast." 

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