And it’s not just solitary snacking that’s driving the trend, with analysis of The Hartman Group's Occasions Compass data revealing that 40% of all adult meals (excluding snacking occasions) are also eaten alone.
"When you consider these findings and look at the changing patterns of our cultural eating behaviors, we begin to understand why many companies that continue to market to traditional family occasions are missing out on the emerging possibilities concealed within the eating alone occasion for a vast number of adults,” said Hartman Group president Laurie Demeritt.
Indeed, in the workplace, eating alone has “become so pervasive that many of us don't realize we’re doing it anymore, underscoring what a ubiquitous behavior solitary eating is”, says Hartman Group.
Several factors have contributed to the rise in solitary eating, it suggests, including…
- More women in the workforce
- The rise of single-parent households
- Technology (TVs, laptops, iPads) and the decline of sit-down family meals
- The rise of the ‘food as fuel’ culture - meals less likely to be social occasions
- Office working culture, shorter lunch-breaks - more eating at your desk
- The snackification of meals