SNAP households spend more time preparing food and cleaning up afterward

A chart showing time spent on food-related activities on an average day in 2016, age 18 and older

It takes time to shop for groceries, cook meals, eat and drink, and then clean up. On average, Americans age 18 and older spent just over 2 hours per day on these major food-related activities in 2016. Eighty-one minutes were spent eating—as either the primary activity or as a secondary activity while doing something else like watching TV or working—and 43 minutes were spent buying groceries, preparing food, and cleaning up. Individuals age 18 and older who either received benefits from USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or lived with someone who did, spent less time eating as a primary activity and more time preparing food and cleaning up compared with the national averages. This greater time spent in the kitchen may reflect more cooking from scratch to stretch food budgets. Individuals in SNAP households spent about the same amount of time grocery shopping and eating as a secondary activity as the average American. The data for this chart and other time-use information can be found in ERS’s Eating and Health Module (ATUS) data product.

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