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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is out with a report about US consumers' demand for convenience foods, saying that "Americans have increased consumption of foods that save time in food preparation." And, the report says, "The most convenient foods - purchased from fast-food and sit-down restaurants - constitute around half of the total food budget.

"Between 1999 and 2010, the average share of the food budget spent on fast-food meals and snacks grew from 24 to 27 percent, with decreases in this share beginning just before the most recent economic downturn, starting in 2007 across most geographic regions. During this overall period, the average share of the budget spent on sit-down meals and snacks decreased from 25 to 23 percent."

The report cites a number of factors influencing the consumption of convenience foods - including the fact that "prices of many convenience foods may have fallen relative to their less convenient counterparts." Which may account for the decreasing recent spend on such products. In addition, influences are said to be time constraints that give consumers less time to prepare food, as well as the amount of money spent by companies marketing such foods.
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