At the intersection of the consumers and meal time one thing has become very clear American consumer are not eating less they are simply eating somewhere else according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. Today mini-meal have replaced traditional meal periods and eating in front of the 65 Inch HDTV has replaced sitting at the table with the family according to Johnson.
Recently David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts found that “There’s a surging fluidity and interchangeability to modern mealtimes,” “The reality is U.S. adults are increasingly eating differently, if not necessary eating less.” edifying Johnson’s findings once again.
The Package Facts survey data published in the report reveal “in terms of the three main meals, a far higher share of adults consider breakfast to be the most important meal of the day compared with lunch or dinner. Even so, the percentage considering breakfast to be most important has edged downward since 2008, with lunch and dinner each gaining more priority.”
The study found that the percentage of adults who eat several smaller meals throughout the day edged up from 2008 to 2018. Notably, some essential and increasingly influential consumer demographic segments showed a greater likelihood than average toward eating several smaller meals throughout the day, including Hispanics, African-Americans, and women.
The data further reveals a modest but marked trend toward eating meals later. Between 2008 and 2018, there’s been a slight drop in the percentage of adults who eat breakfast before 9 a.m., lunch before 1 p.m., and dinner before 8 p.m. Gen Z adults (18- to 24-year-olds) are among the most noteworthy diners who tend to eat in later dayparts. Asian-Americans and Millennial adults between ages 25- to 34-years-old are disproportionately more likely to eat later in the evenings.
The one universal undercurrent of both reports continues to be the non-stop migration of restaurant customers to new non-traditional avenues of distribution. Meal time can best be defined by where consumers eat the meal not time of day and snacking/ mini-meals occur most often on the run, or away from the home and the 65 Inch HDTV according to Johnson.
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