BELLEVUE, Wash. — Solitary meals have become almost as common as communal with close to half of adult eating occasions (46%) occurring on one’s own, according to The Hartman Group.
“We’re always on the go and lucky if we have a family meal together and oftentimes that’s so fragmented where people have different preferences,” said Melissa Abbott, senior director of culinary insights for The Hartman Group.
Independent snacking is partly to blame, as individuals pack snacks for consumption in the car or at their desk. “It’s this idea of keeping the blood sugar managed so it doesn’t plummet and you reach for something not good for you,” Abbott said.
Read more: More Snacking Creates New Meal Occasion
Healthy options are also available to consumers who’ve not packed snacks. Duane Reade sells single portions of roasted beets. And others market variety packs of miniaturized snacks. “These still have enough calories to constitute a meal but when you minify everything you think, ‘I didn’t eat that much,’” Abbott said.
Kroger has modeled packs of cheese, grapes and bits of salami after Bistro Boxes sold at Starbucks cafes, noted Abbott.
Marketers should note that solitary eating occasions differ from communal meals in the portions that are consumed.
“Those eating alone will finish a portion more quickly and are much less likely to have leftovers,” Abbott said.
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