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Americans Choose American When Dining Out

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1017homespunweb.jpgRISMEDIA, Oct. 17, 2007-American adults have their choice of many different cuisines when it comes to eating out. From pasta to burritos, the choices are almost endless. But what do Americans choose when eating out? American food, of course!

Over one-quarter (28%) of U.S. adults say American food is what they are most likely to choose if they had the choice to go out to a restaurant and eat one type of food. Just under one-quarter (22%) say that they would most likely choose Italian while 17% would choose Mexican while 16% would choose Chinese if they had the choice to go out to a restaurant. Japanese is the next choice as seven percent say they would choose this type of cuisine. Much further down the list are Indian (2% say they would choose) and then French and Middle Eastern cuisine (1% would choose each). Finally, four percent say they would choose another type of food.

These are some of the findings of a Harris Poll of 2,392 adults surveyed online between September 11 and 18, 2007 by Harris Interactive®.

Americans in all regions know their preferences. One-third of Southerners and 27% of Midwesterners stick with American food. In the East, almost one-third (31%) say Italian food is their top choice while over one-quarter of Westerners (27%) pick Mexican. Japanese cuisine also gets a spike in the South as one in ten Southerners (10%) say it is their top choice.

When it comes to age, there are also some differences. For Matures (those aged 62 and older), American is tops as two in five (41%) say it is the food they are most likely to choose. Both Baby Boomers (those aged 43-61) and Generation Xers (those aged 31-42) also keep American food as their top choice (28% and 25%) respectively. But for Baby Boomers, Chinese moves into third place as almost one in five (19%) say it is the type of food they are most likely to choose. For Gen Xers, Mexican becomes their second choice as one-quarter (24%) would choose this type of cuisine. The youngest group, Echo Boomers (those aged 18 – 30) have a different top choice as 23% of this age group would choose Italian food followed by one in five (21%) who say American food.

Education also shows some differences. One-third (34%) of those with High School of less education are most likely to choose American food as would 26% of college graduates. One-quarter of those with some college education (24%) and with a post graduate education (25%) say they are most likely to choose Italian food when they go out to a restaurant.


This Harris Poll® was conducted online within the United States between September 11 and 18, 2007 among 2,392 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

For more information, visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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