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America's Food Trends

More People Eating Healthy, Eating At Home
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5. Nouveau one-dish meals. "From overstuffed sandwiches, car-friendly cups, and liquid "meals in motion," one-dish dining has become a popular food trend, says Sloan. One in 10 meals were eaten on the run last year, and one-quarter of restaurant take-out was consumed in the car (22% was eaten at work).

6. Suppers at home. Half of all suppers were prepared by Mom -- mainly spaghetti, pizza, steak, soup, baked chicken, frozen entries.

7. Bottled water boon. Soda is still America's favorite beverage. But bottled water is expected to become the second most popular non-carbonated drink this year, overtaking sports drinks, milk, coffee, beer, and juice. In 2002, bottled-water sales were up by 12%.

8. Snack attacks. More Americans were snacking on granola bars, trail mixes, and other similar snacks. In fact, they bought 20% more snack and granola bars -- especially as breakfast food.

9. Fruits & veggies. Fruit in ready-to-eat cereals, veggie-flavored cheeses, salads in the deli department -- it's all part of the "growing perception that anything fruit, vegetable, or high-fiber personifies health," writes Sloan.

But it's more than that. High-quality fresh fruits and vegetables are a growing food trend, 71% of shoppers report trying to include more fruits and veggies in their diet this year.

Sales of fresh-cut salads jumped 10% over last year. Sales of bagged spinach and microwave-in-a-bag fresh products grew 37%. Fresh-cut fruit sales grew 25% over the previous year.

10. Cooking oils and condiments. "Although Americans continue to relax their efforts to curb fat consumption, it remains their top nutrition ingredient concern," Sloan says. "With the advent of trans fat labeling, a new generation of highly sophisticated [low-fat and fat-free products] is on the way."

When it comes to fats, Americans are choosing healthier options -- with nearly one-quarter using olive oil and canola oil. Another food trend to watch: Asian and Mediterranean variations on salad dressings and marinades, she adds.

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