Hartman Reports

Modern Eating: Cultural Roots, Daily Behaviors


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  • Mapping Consumers New Eating Landscape, Diving Deep Into Immediate Consumption, Alone Eating and Snacking

    Consumer eating behavior continues to change and evolve in relation to shifts in lifestyle dictated by any combination of factors: demands of work, commuting to and from work, raising families, social interaction, holidays, kid's after-school or weekend activities, etc. Given these factors, traditional views of mealtime can pretty much be thrown out the window. The imprint of these dynamic cultural changes is the blurring of the boundaries between "snack" and "meal." This report explores the cultural and psychological drivers lying beneath the emerging new eating landscape and dives deep into three occasions having the most impact in the food industry: immediate consumption, alone eating and snacking.

    A Sampling of What You'll Learn

    Eating occasions are an expression of today's modern eating culture and thus provide snapshots of how fragmentation happens in the daily moments of consumer's lives. 

    Three such eating occasions most poignantly reflect the fragmentation of today's modern eating culture:

    • Immediate Consumption. Represents 15 percent of eating occasions (and they're not just "on-the-go" snacks). About two-thirds (65 percent) of immediate consumption occasions that are not going to restaurants take place at home.
    • Alone Eating. Alone eating is not simply a result of more people living alone; it's about how they're living. About half (47 percent) of eating occasions are now alone. Eating alone is no longer about being lonely; it's just a different way to experience food: 43 percent enjoy eating alone as a way to catch up on other activities.
    • Snacking. Snacks represent 50 percent of eating occasions, 80 percent of which take place at home. Snacks are bound by fewer rules than meals. However, as consumers expect them to do more for them than ever in terms of the physical, emotional, social and cultural experiences they offer—the lines between meals and snack are blurring."

    Our eating is more fluid overall, as consumers eat whenever and however they want. Ninety percent of consumers are engaging in "modern snacking," characterized by highly flexible rules and structure. 

    Report Features

    • Occasion deep dive into immediate consumption, alone eating and snacking examines how the occasion is defined, the drivers for the occasion, and planning and sourcing for the occasion.
    • Occasion dashboards that include size of prize, specifics of who, where, what, frequency and emotional context.
    • Recommendations for CPG manufacturers, food retailers and food service.

    Table of Contents 

    • Study Objectives
    • Methodology
    • Executive Summary
    • Macro Shifts in Consumer Culture
    • A New Eating Culture
    • Occasion Deep-Dives
      • Immediate Consumption
      • Alone
      • Snacking
    • Takeaways and Recommendations
    • Appendix

    Click here to download the report overview.

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