Industry News | October 15, 2008

Brown Bagging Grows for Women

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Adult consumers in the U.S. will be carrying more than 8.5 billion brown bag lunches this year, according to the NPD Group, a national market research company.

Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of women at some time pack a lunch for themselves, with 39 percent indicating they do so at least once a week, according to a recent survey commissioned by the Grains Foods Foundation and conducted by Harris Interactive. That number is expected to grow, with more than one-third (37 percent) of U.S. women who pack their own lunches indicating they plan to do so more often in the coming year than they have in the past.

"Since November is National Bread Month, now is the perfect time to brush off your favorite sandwich recipe and join others across the country who are brown bagging it," says Sherry Harper, director of marketing for Flowers Foods.

The current state of the economy seems to be driving the brown bag craze, with 81 percent of women indicating that money is an important factor for packing their own lunch. Almost half of U.S. women eat lunch out at least once per week, spending an average of $9 each time, according to the survey.

Brown bagging also makes sense for kids. Lunches from home can save hundreds--even thousands--of dollars per year for many families. The Harris survey found that women with school-age children at home are more likely than those without children (59 percent) to pack a lunch.

"These days, managing expenses is a priority for many of us," says Harper. "Making sandwiches and packing healthy lunches is a relatively easy way to save money and control your diet since brown bag lunches tend to be smaller in portion and lower in calories."

Not surprisingly, sandwiches are the No. 1 choice for take-from-home lunches. Portable, easy to eat, and offering infinite variety, sandwiches made with bread provide much-needed energy during the middle of the day.