Saving time doesn’t save money

Busy family life is bringing about huge changes in the food industry.
Where once sitting down with the family for an evening meal was commonplace, today mothers and fathers and grandparents are running in multiple directions taking children to hockey, basketball, dance, Guides, Cubs, and all types of youth activities as soon as school is out and lasting well into the evening hours.
Slow cookers and multi-use cookers were the hoped for salvation of family suppers but alas, even though millions have been sold, they have not stemmed the home-cooked family supper.
My mother used to cook a pot roast on Monday with vegetables surrounding it and a baked raisin rice pudding. The roast always was big enough to last two meals and often was turned after the second meal to a stew.
The roast went a long way. Some weeks it was a beef roast; other weeks it was a leg of pork roast or a pork shoulder roast. Most women in the neighbourhood had similar weekly meal plans.
Today, that home-cooked meal is picked up in a grocery store. Whole Foods in the U.S. was the first grocery chain to discover the value of complete meals for the family to be picked up nightly on the way home.
Here in Canada, Super Stores, Metro, Safeway, and Sobeys grocery chains have discovered that whole meals picked up in the deli section are becoming more and more popular, saving two working parents the preparation in the morning.
Place like Dominos, KFC, Boston Pizza, Chester Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, and south-east restaurants see huge surge in demands for their products around 5 p.m. Those and other fast-food outlets now focus their advertising through social media and other mediums at those busy parents and make the ordering of supper meals online easier all the time.
Grocery stores, whether large or small, always have rotisserie chicken available with salads, fries, and more. Larger stores also will sell you a full roast beef or steak dinner cooked for pick-up at a specified time.
M&M Meats offers lasagna and pre-cooked meat balls, and with a quick boiling of pasta with sauce, an easy meal is prepared. Salad kits make putting together a salad easier with ingredients, salad dressing, and croutons all in one easy bag.
The profit margin on those meals is large. It explains why grocery stores are expanding their prepared food sections.
Buying food in the raw stage and cooking those ingredients at home is the most effective way of saving money on the weekly food bill. Yet a survey has discovered that 35 percent of the weekly food budget now is spent on food bought and eaten outside the home.
Those meals, although saving time, now account for significant increases in family food budgets.