At A Glance

Noteworthy Characteristics

  • CREST is NPD’s flagship information service. It captures consumer information about commercially prepared meals and snacks. Respondents report on their out-of-home eating at a variety of locations for a variety of meals and foods.
  • Settings include: Commercial Foodservice: Quick Service Restaurants (Sandwich, Mexican, Specialty, Snack, C-Store and Food Stores), Full Service Restaurants (Midscale, Casual Dining and Fine Dining), Non-Commercial Foodservice incl. Business & Industry, College & University, Secondary Schools, Hospitals, Senior Care, Military, Vending.
  • Foods include: Breakfast Oriented Foods, Burgers/Sandwiches/Wraps, Main Dish/Entree, Side Dishes/Appetizers, Breads/Sweet Rolls, Desserts and Snacks.
  • Key measures include whether an individual ate out the previous day, type and location of where they ate, when and what they ate, use of combos or special menus, and cost.
  • Beverages include: Beverage Alcohol, Bottled Water, Coffee, Juice, Milk, Shakes, Smoothies, Soft Drinks, Tea



To collect data about individuals’ consumption of food away from home in the United States.

Target Population

U.S. consumers, ages 2 years and older.


Began in September 1976. Most recent year conducted was 2014.


The NPD Group.

Special Note(s)

The NPD Group.
Aaron Heffron


Sample Design

Cross-sectional panel survey. Participants complete the NPD survey using and an online questionnaire. The sample is geographically balanced and projected to represent the U.S. Census.

Sample Size

Approximately 4,000 qualified adults drawn from its panel of 600,000 consumers in the CREST database. Approximately 60,000 responses are provided on a monthly basis.

Key Variables


NameMethods of Assessment


NameMethods of Assessment
Time/date meal consumedInterview/questionnaire
Type and location of restaurantInterview/questionnaire
Foods and beverages consumedInterview/questionnaire
Who meal was consumed withInterview/questionnaire
Use of promotionsInterview/questionnaire
Use of alternative menusInterview/questionnaire
Cost of mealInterview/questionnaire

Geographic Identifiers

NameMethods of Assessment
Census regionN/A

Data Access and Cost

Data Availability

Obtain data by contacting NPD Group:
Phone: 703-376-6287




Geocode Variable(s)

Census Region

Existing Linkages

None noted.

Selected Publications

Ng SW, Popkin BM. Monitoring food and nutrients sold and consumed in the United States: Dynamics and challenges. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2012;112(1):41-45.