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The End of Dinner Time

29 August 2013

CHANGING EATING HABITS. Changing household structures and busy lifestyles means that more Britons are skipping the daily dinner routine. A new survey by Canadean Custom Solutions found that only 45% of people sit down for dinner with other family members seven days a week. 22% of UK adults eat processed food such as ready meals at least three times a week.

More Britons are skipping the daily dinner routine. The image of parents and children bonding at the table over an evening meal is being replaced by people within the same household eating dinner at different times, increased snacking occasions and reliance on processed food. According to the survey, almost one in four UK adults (23%) skip an evening meal at least once a week. When questioned why, popular answers included “I do not have the time to prepare dinner” (15%) and “I tend to snack late at night” (23%). 22% of UK adults say they eat processed food like ready meals at least three times a week. On an average evening, 52% of adults in the UK say that they prepare at least two dinner time meals for their household, with 29% saying they cook three or more. These numbers indicate that kids today are very sophisticated in their meal preferences from an early age with a huge influence on their family’s consumption habits and dietary plans.

According to Michael Hughes, Research Manager at Canadean Custom Solutions, this is the result of the busy lifestyles of consumers, meaning many have to try and juggle career and family lives, and as such, do not have as much time to sit down and enjoy dinner with their family.

“The image of a UK household consisting of two parents and children sitting down to enjoy dinner together is becoming a thing of the past. Busy lifestyles and changing household structures means that meal time occasions are becoming increasingly fragmented”.

This is something that has been exacerbated over the last decade by the rise in non-married family units, longer working hours and longer commuting times to work. Moreover, more time spent on leisure activities, such as spending time online, means that people are finding they have less time to use in the kitchen.

According to Hughes, “It is becoming increasingly common for people within the same household to sit down at different times of the evening to enjoy dinner, whilst some may bypass it completely in favour of snacking”.

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