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The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) last week used the occasion of kids going back to school to publicize its consumer survey saying that "only 57% of parents eat dinner with their children every night," and that "71% of parents in the survey say in their 'ideal' world they would want to eat with their children every night."

The lesson: potentially the most important "school supply" one can give children is the family meal.

Sue Borra, RD, executive director of the FMI Foundation, explains it this way: "Just as notebooks and art supplies prepare our children for school, so does the family meal.  Academic research shows that kids and teens who eat meals with their family four or more times a week earn better test scores and perform better in school."

And, the FMI Foundation pointed to its ongoing efforts to help retailers use the family dinner as a marketing tool that can build sales while having a positive cultural impact.
KC's View:
I'm fascinated by the idea that only 71 percent of parents would like to eat with their children every night. I understand that sometimes life gets in the way, and there are a lot of people who deal with circumstances that don't allow them to eat with their children. But who are the 29 percent who don't want to have dinner with their kids each night?