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Lunch is the most frequently purchased meal away from home.
According to the Consumer Expenditure Survey, 60.7 percent of families reported buying at least one lunch at an eating place during an average week in 1997. Dinner was not far behind, with 55.1 percent of families reporting expenditures for dinner away from home.
Expenditures at eating places on snacks and nonalcoholic beverages were reported by 45.6 percent of families in an average week in 1997. Breakfast was the meal least often purchased away from home, with only 28.2 percent of families reporting such expenditures.
These data are a product of the BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey program. Additional information is available from "Let’s do lunch: expenditures on meals away from home," by Geoffrey D. Paulin, Monthly Labor Review, May 2000.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Let’s do lunch at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2000/jun/wk4/art03.htm (visited March 27, 2023).