Source: The Australian, Friday, March 1, 1996, p.3

Australians quit the kitchen to dine out

By social affairs writer MICHELLE GUNN 
   THE average Australian 
household spends $30 a week or 
more than a quarter of the weekly 
food budget on take-away meals 
and eating out, according to a 
survey released yesterday by the 
Australian Bureau of Statistics. 
   It may be the speed of life, the 
joys to be found in our buzzing 
restaurants and cafes, or a 
reluctance to spend hours in the 
kitchen. Whatever the reason, 
Australians spend more and more 
of their weekly earnings on 
meals prepared outside the home. 
   According to the ABS the 
average household spends about 
$17 a week dining in restaurants, 
hotels and clubs, and $12 a week 
on take-away food. This equals 
about 27 per cent of total 
expenditure on food and non- 
alcoholic drinks compared to 25 
per cent in 1988-89 and 22 per 
cent in 1984. 
   Part of the ABS's 1993-94 
Household Expenditure Survey 
series, the publication released 
yesterday, gives detailed 
information on the expenses 
incurred each week by Australian 
   It found food and nonalcoholic 
beverages were a household's 
greatest expense at $111 each 
week. This included $18 on meat 
and seafood, $14 on fruit, nuts 
and vegetables, $13 on bakery 
products and cereals, $11 on 
dairy products, eggs and oils and 
$8 on miscellaneous drinks. 
   By comparison $17 a week is 
spent on alcoholic beverages 
(beer $9, wine $4, spirits $3, 
other $1). 
   The survey found households 
spend about $602 a week on 
goods and services with more 
than half of this money going on 
food, transport and housing. 
   At $94 a week, transport is the 
second-biggest expense. Not 
surprisingly most of this is 
spent on running the family car 
or cars, with $27 going on 
repayments, $26 on petrol, $15 
on insurance and registration, 
and $20 on other running 
   Public transport fares amount 
to $3 a week, as do taxi and air 
   The fourth greatest expense is 
recreation, which at $79 a week 
is 33 per cent higher than in the 
late 1980s. Just over a third of 
this is spent on holidays.

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