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All by myself... Why eating alone is the new norm for Americans

2 commentsBy Elaine WATSON , 02-Nov-2012
Last updated on 02-Nov-2012 at 13:36 GMT

Almost half (46%) of all adult eating occasions are now solitary, according to new research from The Hartman Group.

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

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2 comments (Comments are now closed)

Eating together for wellness

It's sad to see these comments. We already work alone- putting hours of isolated time in on the computer. Why not take a break and make the effort to connect with others for meals? Taking a break and socializing via connecting with others through meals will help with work productivity.

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Posted by Emma Fogt MBA, MS,RD, LDN
06 November 2012 | 13h37

Eating alone

I agree on many companies missing out on always marketing to families.I am a member of many restaurant rewards programs,yet have to pass by many of these offers as they are too often BOGO promotions.If these companies would realize that many people dine alone and target promotions toward that group,they could build a much greater loyalty and customer base.

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Posted by Kenneth Mochel
05 November 2012 | 17h32

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