Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: The rise of the microwave

November 12, 2009

shopping-for-microwavesCheck Out the reigning kitchen appliance.

More people may be preparing meals at home, but notice the word is preparing, not cooking.

Americans have been eating at home more often since the beginning of the decade, but in 2008 their microwaves did much of the work, according to NPD Group’s 24th annual report on eating patterns in America.
“Microwaving has been flat for two decades, but it increased last year as Americans found a way to eat at home and not cook,” said Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst at NPD Group.
About 20 percent of all meals prepared in U.S. homes from 1990 to 2007 involved using a microwave. Last year, such usage rose ten percent, the market research company found.
Stoves are still the most popular cooking appliance, but they’ve lost some ground.  The percent of what NPD calls main meals prepared on a stove top dropped to 33 percent in 2009 from 52 percent back in 1985.
“I’ve observed America’s eating patterns in good and bad economies, and the constant is that there is no recession in eating — and Americans don’t want to cook what they eat,” Balzer said.
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(Reuters photo)

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