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Snapshot of America's Eating Habits-To-Be

WATTS WACKER is resident "futurist" and senior strategy consultant with Yankelovich Clancy Shulman, a market research group. He made these predictions for the year 2000 at a recent food conference in Chicago: *-Twenty percent of households will have two microwaves.

*-Kids' influence on what is eaten in the home will double.

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*-Snack food will be the No. 1 food category in terms of sales.

*-Pacific Rim cuisine will be "hot."

*-Dining out will represent over 40 percent of food dollars, and after the year 2000, will be growing even faster.

*-A new distribution system will be developed that will bypass stores completely.

*-The environmental movement will focus on food content rather than what to do with the packaging.

*-Baby-Boomers reaching the age of 50 will create a demand for foods previous generations didn't consume at anywhere near the same levels: pizza, potato chips, cheese, and chocolate, for example.

*-Consumers will focus on counting grams of fat rather than calories. Go ahead and eat that high-butterfat ice cream, in other words, but don't eat much of it, and don't do it often.

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*-Convenience will mean eliminating steps in the preparation, not just speeding up the process with kitchen tools such as faster microwaves.

*-The focus on home and family, which started in the '70s, will continue through the '90s and beyond.