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Consumerism - Convenience vs. Homemade Foods

Additional Core Ties

Food And Nutrition 2
Strand 3 Standard 2

Time Frame

1 class periods of 90 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups


Cindy Tegge


A lab comparing a food, made from a convenience package with a homemade recipe, on the preparation time, total cost and flavor between the two final products.


Overhead Transparencies:

Three levels of Convenience
Some Convenience Foods are Cheaper than Homemade Because
Advantages of Convenience Foods
Disadvantages of Convenience Foods
Low Cost Convenience
High Cost Convenience
Convenience Foods Save Time But Can Cost More


Time/Taste/Cost Comparison Lab
Recipe for Homemade Macaroni

Ingredients Needed for Lab:

Given is a sample of what I have used in previous labs. Choose a food item for each unit to be prepared both as a convenience and homemade. You will need to purchase the box mixes and make sure all ingredients are available to prepare them. When shopping for the food, keep a record on the costs of the mixes and ingredients purchased to help the students when figuring the actual costs of each of the products.

Background for Teachers

The teacher needs to know what convenience foods are and have a basic understanding of the advantages and disadvantages in comparing cost, time and flavor with a similar homemade product.

To help the students figure the total cost of the food, write down on the board some approximate costs for 1 egg, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup fat, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 oz. chocolate, 1 cup macaroni, 1 cup cheese, 12 oz. pkg. chocolate chips, 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, etc. Then walk around to each unit and give them the prices of the mix, blueberries, etc.

Student Prior Knowledge

The student needs to know how to prepare a food from a convenience package and from following a recipe.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The student will apply their resource skills in comparing a convenience food with a similar food made from a recipe on its preparation time, cost and flavor.

Instructional Procedures

The teacher will introduce the discussion by reading the article, "Where do you buy Scratch?"

Begin the lecture on convenience foods using the overhead transparencies for some key facts. Have the students identify the convenience foods they use regularly and if they like or dislike them.

Hand out the lab sheet for the Time/Taste/Cost Comparison Lab. Assign each unit a food to prepare as a convenience and from a recipe. They need to keep track of the time it takes to prepare, then figure the cost for each with the costs you provide for them.

When both of the foods are done, the unit needs to prepare a label identifying which is the convenience food and which is from the recipe, identify the time it took to prepare and the approximate cost for each. In each unit on the counter or table, the students will place the label in front of each of the foods for the rest of the class to sample and complete the information on their paper.

Everyone will sample each of the foods observing the appearance and taste between the convenience food and the homemade. They will write a couple of paragraphs on what they learned from the lab experience and turn in their papers before leaving.

Make sure the students clean up before leaving.


"Where do you buy Scratch?" taken from the UAVHET Tidbits Spring 1994 Newsletter.

Created: 07/24/2003
Updated: 02/05/2018