FMI Foundation Stresses ‘Power of Family Meals’
In time for National Family Meals Month in September, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Foundation has released “The Power of Family Meals,” a white paper including a review of various consumer research reports as well as an examination of independent studies published over the past decade, with the aim of getting families to eat together at home more often.
"For years, we have witnessed a constant trickle of studies that have shown the changing dynamics of family mealtime behavior and the barriers that exist to sharing meals at home," noted Sue Borra, executive director of the Arlington, Va.-based FMI Foundation. "We thought it was time to look at the comprehensive body of consumer and scientific research to assess the societal challenges of family meals. More importantly, we sought to provide strategies to elevate family meals. The ‘Power of Family Meals’ report does both."
The Hartman Group, based in Bellevue, Wash., produced the 10-page assessment, which addresses such key themes as the benefits of family meals in terms of healthier dietary outcomes for the participants, barriers to family meals because of differing schedules, and America’s evolving family structures and habits.
Among the solutions offered by the white paper to increase the frequency of family meals are:
- Honoring the Dinner Hour: Preserving the sanctity of the meal among Americans with intractable schedules, even if it means reserving options for narrower windows of time.
- Shifting Dayparts: Shifting the timing of social eating to breakfast, since it might be easier for busy families to connect before the day starts while busy evening schedules persist.
- Making a Family of Friends: Encouraging young adults living on their own to meet up for home-cooked dinners.
Spearheaded by the FMI Foundation, the National Family Meals Month movement urges consumers to share one more family breakfast, lunch or dinner at home per week. Shoppers can post pledge photos, mealtime pictures, recipes, shopping tips or selfies wearing a favorite oven mitt, with the hashtag #FamilyMealsMonth.
Read Progressive Grocer’s recent article on retailer involvement in National Family Meals Month activities.