Eating Alone: The New Norm

A new analysis done of American’s eating trends has revealed that for every adult, 46% of eating time is done alone. The investigation shows a transformation of the traditional meal from the family oriented to snacking alone.

The study conducted by The Hartman Group attributes this developing habit of consumers eating alone due to thriving mobile technology. Most people can now eat and drink while chatting, texting or visiting social networks. The firm notes that this is a missed opportunity for food marketers. This rise in eating alone practice has been occasioned by the following trends:

Households transition after World War II: There have been changes in households’ post war as mothers joined the workforce, technology advanced and single parent households increased. These changed the family meal tradition.

The loss in importance of communal dining: Schoolchildren and workers no longer dash back home for midday meals, even family dinners are now increasingly rare.

Time restrictions: Meal occasions are not celebrated anymore, neither is there any focus on taking ones time when eating. A good example is eating lunch at work desks.

Meals now ‘snack-fied:’ The U.S. has taken up as a snacking culture. One can eat at any time with this practice given credence by dieticians who claim smaller and more frequent meals are healthier.

Eating is now mechanical and is no longer a social event characterized by shared stories and conversation on the days events.

Food marketers and retailers are now advised to consider single-portion servings in delis and bakeries and make meals that match tastes and mix different cuisine that can be eaten by one person. Portable foods, snacks and food to go can be matched and combined so that it forms a meal for one.

 

 

 

One Comment

  1. darlene October 27, 2012 at 9:26 am - Reply

    This is fascinating. Food used to be such a community maker historically and I would think that even today. Surely things have changed in modern times but i it is a sad truth that in too many occasions we eat alone… and die alone as the saying goes. Need to start a “join me for lunch” movement – imagine that

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