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11. Social Reasons and Trends

Eating is an important way to bond with others. Every year, on the fourth Thursday in November, over 95 percent of Americans gather with family and friends to consume close to 700 million pounds of turkey as they celebrate Thanksgiving.

A person is likely to eat more on Thanksgiving than on any other Thursday, and this is partly because of all the other people eating with them.

Eating dinner with others has been shown to increase the size of the meal by over 40 percent, and the more people present, the more you'll eat.

Enjoying your meals in the campus cafeteria also allows you to socialize with your classmates. For many people, activities like watching a football game with fellow fans or going to a movie with friends often involve particular foods. More pizzas are sold on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year. Movie theatre owner's bank on your buying popcorn, candy, and beverages at their concession stands before heading in to watch the picture.

Revenue from these snack items can account for up to 50 percent of a theatre's profits. And if you're with a group of friends, you're even more likely to buy these snacks. Research shows that movie concession snacks are more often purchased when people are socializing in a group.

For instance; chances are that you'll choose a popcorn and soda at the theater, even if you are not hungry, because everyone else is having a snack. Your food choices are also affected by popular trends.

For instance, home cooks in the 1950s bought bags of new fangled frozen vegetables in order to provide healthy meals in less time. A few decades later, vegetables went upscale and consumers bought them as part of ready-to-heat stir-fry mixes. Today, shoppers pay a premium price for bags of fresh veggies, like carrots, that have been prewashed and peeled, sliced, or diced.

Similarly, decades ago, the only way to enjoy iced tea was to brew it and chill it yourself. Now most markets provide dozens of choices in flavored and enhanced bottled teas, a popular beverage for many college students.

As food manufacturers pour more money into research and development, who knows what tomorrow's trendy food item, will be?

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