Food

Snacks and meals continue to blur

The three-meals-a-day routine is a relic of the past, as eating patterns conform to today’s busy lifestyles. One major outcome of this shift is the blurring of snacks and meals. The Hartman Group identifies three eating occasions that reflect the change—all of which can be opportunities for restaurants.

  • Immediate consumption represents 15 percent of eating occasions. About 65 percent of these impulse eaters who are not going to restaurants consume food at home. 
  • Alone eating represents 47 percent of eating occasions. People who eat alone are not necessarily lonely; 43 percent enjoy solo eating as a way to catch up on other activities.
  • Snacks now represent 50 percent of eating occasions; 80 percent of snacking takes place at home. Although snacks are bound by fewer rules than meals, consumers expect more satisfaction from them than ever before. At various times, 90 percent of consumers are engaging in modern snacking, eating whenever and however they want. This “fluid eating” is very flexible and unstructured.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Multimedia

Exclusive Content

Financing

Why Wingstop isn't afraid of Popeyes' chicken wings

The Bottom Line: The fast-casual wing chain says its sales improve when another brand pushes the product. Here’s why that might be.

Food

Mendocino Farms masters a meaty Philly cheesesteak sandwich—without the meat

Behind the Menu: The fast casual uses a mushroom-based meat alternative for its Philly Shroomsteak Sandwich, a new menu item targeted to flexitarians, not just vegans.

Workforce

Pay hike for couriers shakes up food delivery in NYC

Customers are paying more, and couriers are working less. What it all means for restaurants is still unclear, but some fear it could get ugly.

Trending

More from our partners