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NEW YORK — When it comes to food, forget the “cheat day” and say hello to the cheat weekend! A new study finds two-thirds of Americans say their weekend meals are their “reward” for getting through another work week.

A survey of 2,000 people finds 68 percent look forward to their weekend eats due to having a stressful week. More than two in five (44%) said they eat better quality food on the weekends than they do during weekdays. More than half of Americans (55%) believe eating can act as a form of therapy.

Commissioned by Screamin’ Sicilian Pizza and conducted by OnePoll, the study also reveals 59 percent feel too tired at the end of the day to actually cook anything. One in three Americans said they don’t want to cook because they can never decide what to eat. Another 31 percent admit they just don’t want to do dishes.

Weekend frozen food

A major contributing factor is how stressed people feel. Forty-three percent feel pushed to their absolute limits by the time Friday comes around. Even more people (44%) feel so stressed they’ll count down the hours until the weekend arrives.

Everybody’s working for the weekend

Half of Americans value their weekends so much, they feel like they’re wasted if they don’t do something fun or just for their own enjoyment. For 40 percent of respondents, what they buy at the grocery store directly correlates to how stressed they feel the previous week.

Six in 10 shop for easy-to-prepare and pre-made meals to prepare for busy and stressful days ahead. On average, Americans purchase four easy-to-prepare and pre-made meals per week. If they’re feeling stressed or having a bad day, 49 percent will plan a special meal an average of three days in advance and will then look forward to sitting down and eating it.

“We know that the landscape has changed for all Americans. With many of us working from home the separation of work and home can become challenging. Everyone is looking for a quick and convenient meal solution. These items, like frozen pizzas or strombolis, take the stress out of what to make and provide a great tasting and filling meal that is ready in minutes.” says Nick Fallucca, Chief Product & Innovation Officer for Palermo Villa, Inc., in a statement.

While many don’t like to cook, sitting down and eating is the best part of the day for 62 percent of Americans. Over half the poll (56%) especially look forward to dinner time. More than three in five (63%) believe sitting down for a meal gives them a much-needed mental break from their day. Another 37 percent say they have weekly nights dedicated to certain foods.

Americans are filling up on frozen foods

Weekend frozen foodWhen asked what meals they look forward to the most, 51 percent of respondents said they look forward to pizza. Meanwhile, 38 percent equally look forward to enjoying burgers and pasta and 34 percent can’t wait for some barbeque.

Since most people have been staying home more over the past year, Americans have been noticeably increasing their consumption of frozen foods. More than a quarter of respondents (27%) say they’ve eaten more frozen pizza than ever before. Similarly, 23 percent have eaten more frozen TV dinners and frozen sandwich meals. Meanwhile, one in 10 are eating more frozen vegetables.

A third of Americans (36%) add they now work from home and frozen foods have become their go-to meals. Fifty-nine percent of remote workers say they’re eating more easy-to-prepare and pre-made meals for lunch than they otherwise would. Two-thirds are only making lunch for themselves and therefore opt for something easy to make.

“Although more Americans are working from home, they don’t always have the time to spare to make an elaborate meal for lunch. They are looking for something quick and convenient,” Fallucca continues. “Frozen foods, like pizza or handheld strombolis, provide an option that is quick and microwavable, that not only tastes good but is filling as well. We believe things like premium ingredients and handheld options are vital to achieving this.”

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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