Study: Most Meals In America Are Now Eaten Solo

Did you eat breakfast on your own today? What about lunch — did you grab a bite with friends or eat something at your desk while pondering why it’s taken so long for your Netflix DVD to arrive? If so, then maybe you’ll be pleased to know that you’re part of the majority of Americans who consume those meals without a companion.

That’s according to researchers at NPD Group, who recently concluded that 57% of all “eating occasions” are done without a partner.

Not surprisingly, non-meal eating — the snacking we do between meals — is when we’re most likely to be chowing down on our own, with nearly 3-in-4 snacking occasions being solo events.

In terms of meals, breakfast is the loneliest meal, with 60% of people getting their first meal of the day by themselves. Which makes sense, considering the number of people who pick up a bagel, donut, banana, whatever, on their way into work in the morning.

We were a bit surprised that 55% of lunches are enjoyed without anyone else around to nitpick your peculiar eating habits. But then we thought of all the sandwiches, to-go boxes, soups and other mid-day meals we’ve consumed on our own.

There’s a huge dip when it gets down to dinner time, where only about 1-in-3 meals are a one-person affair, with families finally coalescing into some sort of unit if only for the few minutes it takes to scarf down a meal and insult each other in ways that sting only slightly at the time but which will develop into lifelong grudges… Or so we’ve been told.

NPD explains that the growing number of solo meals is likely due to the record-high number of people living alone. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 27% of all U.S. households consist of just a single person.


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