KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The term “ingredient household” is making rounds on TikTok, but the term has been part of Google searches for years. Which means people want to know: what is it?

The term refers to a household where there is no ready-to-eat food, but rather ingredients that need to be prepared in order to eat. That means no frozen lasagna, breakfast pastries and so forth.

In December, terms “ingredient house” and “ingredient only household” have become more popularly searched but the term is not new. Google Trends records that the term has been searched as early as 2004.

While one blog explains that the choice to buy ingredients may help save money, eat healthier food, and have more control over healthy eating.

At the heart of the discussion are the economic reasons for how the household shops. An ingredient household indicates someone in the home has time to prepare food, or perhaps finds it to be less expensive, or may be more environmentally conscious. A household where pre-made food is available could indicate a more socially active family, among other reasons.

The TikTok trend of those who currently live or have lived in ingredient households is to share what they eat as snacks or when they don’t feel like preparing food. The quick items that some say they grab include nuts, spoonfuls of peanut butter, chocolate chips, croutons, cheese, sprinkles, and even dandelions.

The discussion of ingredient houses is not limited to TikTok. On Twitter, users have been sharing their opinion of the trend, and one even shared that they found a way to use an artificial intelligence chat what they could make with the ingredients they had in their household.