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UNITED KINGDOM – A new study by international research firm, Datamonitor, examines the changing "share of stomach" and mealtime behavior of consumers around the world.
Datamonitor carried out extensive research into consumer eating patterns in various countries, including those in Europe, North America, and the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. It boils the results down into three reports focusing on one of three different meal times.
In the "breakfast" report, the study notes that at-home breakfast occasions are declining. Time-scarce consumers are skipping breakfast more regularly, with U.S. and U.K. consumers most likely to never eat breakfast. It notes that breakfast occasions are increasingly influenced by changing daily routines and convenience needs. Males and younger consumers are most likely to skip breakfast, and the link between skipping breakfast and obesity is becoming more apparent.
The report suggests that retailers encourage consumers to find the time to eat breakfast through offering options suitable for either on-the-go or at-work consumption. They should target breakfast skippers by educating consumers of the broader health benefits associated with breakfast consumption and target the market for healthy snacking alternatives for later in the morning.
The "lunchtime" report notes that consumers are skipping lunch more frequently in all the tracked countries, with forecasts predicting this to continue through 2012. The number of lunches skipped by the average U.S. consumer (66.6 lunches in 2007) is almost three times the European average (24.0). And, lunch is being consumed in a wider variety of locations and forms. The report suggests that retailers make casual eating and lunch-ordering experiences as quick and convenient as possible. They should also respond to the increase in grazing occasions by offering ‘better-for-you’ snacks and lighter meals.
The "dinnertime" report found that dinner is still the key daily meal in terms of size, but the number of dinner occasions is declining. Consumers are increasingly eating dinner outside the home. Males and younger adults show the highest rate of dinner-skipping. The study also found that consumers are open to solutions that speed the occasion up, whether in terms of preparation or consumption. The shift towards out-of-home eating is being somewhat counteracted by the added expense, due to recession. Health concerns have a growing influence on dinner as well. Retailers could capitalize on the recession if they can answer the need for home-based products that have strong experiential attributes and mirror on-trade quality, said the report. Industry players should market products that satisfy comfort cues with added convenience. They should also respond to health needs with nutritionally balanced meal offerings and healthy snacks, while using focused demographic targeting to maximize product appeal.
The three reports are available via Elsevier Food International for $3,995 each, minus a 15 percent discount. For more information, email [email protected].