For the first time in more than 10 years, Americans are starting to eat more home-cooked meals. This is among the key findings from The NPD Group’s Report on Eating Patterns in America. The market-information provider looked at everything from American’s eating habits to appliance ownership.

Here’s a look at what the survey tells us about the percentage change in meals made in the home per person:
1987/88: down 1.6%
1989/90: down 1.3%
1991/92: up 1.8%
1993/94: down 1.6%
1995/96: down 1.4 percent
1997/98: down 1.0%
1999/2000: up 0.1%

Not only are in-home meals increasing, the survey also shows that Americans are cutting back on eating out at restaurants. The number of annual meals eaten in a restaurant per person dropped from 66 in 1999 to 64 in 2000. Plus, the number of take-out meals Americans ordered decreased from 73 meals per person in 1999 to 70 in 2000.

A major contributor to this in-home trend is that food manufacturers are offering ready-to-eat meals in grocery stores that are generally cheaper than restaurant meals. The pork sector offers a variety of ready-to-eat meals, but there is still room to grow in this area. The more options consumers have, the better chance that they’ll select a pork item.