Economic Research Report No. (ERR-40) 25 pp

May 2007

Who Has Time To Cook? How Family Resources Influence Food Preparation

Households participating in the Food Stamp Program are increasingly headed by a single parent or two working parents. As this trend continues, more low-income households may find it difficult to allocate the time needed to prepare meals that fit within a limited budget and meet dietary requirements. Using Tobit analysis of the 2003-04 American Time Use Survey (ATUS), this study finds that household time resources significantly affect how much time is allocated to preparing food. In fact, working full-time and being a single parent appear to have a larger impact on time allocated to food preparation than an individual's earnings or household income do. The results are relevant for the design of food assistance programs as well as for improving our understanding of how different family time resources affect consumption behavior.

Keywords: Food preparation, Tobit analysis, Time Use, Thrifty Food Plan, Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, FANRP

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