How much does it cost to feed a teen?

Many parents spend big trying to keep their hungry teen happily fed, new research finds

Fridge-foraging teenagers can run up quite a grocery bill for their parents -- especially when they’re home for the summer.

A new survey conducted by Farm Rich finds the average parents spend a staggering $51,790 to feed their teen between ages 13 and 19. The new research suggests teens’ appetites can take more than a financial toll on their parents.

A third of parents said their teen is a ‘bottomless pit.’ And that may never be more true than in the summer, when teen snacking goes up by 50 percent.

More trips to the store

The survey found that moms and dads put a lot of time and effort into feeding their perpetually hungry teens, spending an average of 1 hour and 33 minutes per week planning, buying, and preparing meals. During summer break, that average increases as much as 25 percent.

Moms and dads typically log three trips to the grocery store per week while attempting to keep up with their teen’s requests for food. A majority of parents (83 percent) said they make a concerted effort to stock up on food as summer draws near.

"Feeding teenagers can sometimes be a mental and financial challenge, particularly in summertime when kids are around the house more," said Shannon Gilreath, Farm Rich’s director of marketing. "It's no wonder parents can feel frustrated, with tensions rising at times, so stocking up on their kids' favorite foods is just one way to help."  

'Hangry' teens

In addition to being a burden to their parents’ bank account, ravenous teens can be abrasive to the ears. More than half of parents (57 percent) admitted their child is ‘quick to grumble’ about what is -- or isn’t -- available at home for them to eat.

Most parents bear witness to roughly 4 hunger-related mood swings every week. The average time it takes for a teen to start getting annoyed about not finding something they want in the house? Just 4.5 minutes.

Additional findings from the survey revealed:

  • $142 per week is the typical cost of feeding one teenager.
  • 75 percent of parents admit they don't know how their teens devour as much food as they do.
  • More than 65 percent of teens regularly skip breakfast in the summer, but two thirds are more likely to raid the kitchen at night.
  • Pizza is the food kids are most likely to seek out while at home, followed by fruit and vegetables and cereal.

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