In their report that explored the changing dynamics of meal times for American consumers, they found that 53 percent of breakfasts, 45 percent of lunches and 24 percent of dinners are eaten alone.
Eating alone has become ‘a normal part of modern life,’ and is no longer necessarily seen as a miserable and joyless experience, but something that consumers actively engage in to recharge and indulge in ‘me time.’ Also, as more people accommodate to their busy lifestyles, it is not always easy to have everyone in the household to be available to sit down and eat together; eating together is slowly being seen as something to be saved for rare and special occasions.
As a result of more people eating alone, the kitchen now serves as a sort of 24-hour commissary, says the group. This is as people are able to eat on their own schedule, as and when they like, at multiple hours of the day, and this encourages spontaneous consumption. People now have snacks in the early morning, mid-morning, afternoon, after dinner, or late night.
According to the group, this has opened up new opportunity spaces for marketing to this vast number of adults who are increasingly eating alone, which would be more profitable than marketing to family occasions and iconic meals.
Food retailers would be able to connect with consumers who are looking for prepared, single-portion meals for one or ready-to-go hot and refrigerated stations. This would also provide these consumers the flexibility to mix and match new tastes and cuisines, something retailers can further take advantage of.