Does “dinner for two” sometimes mean “you and your device”? Even when you’re dining alone, you’re often not alone. According to new research, Americans eat 387 meals by themselves every year.
But alone doesn’t always mean lonely. That’s fortunate, because Americans are eating by themselves — or in the company of their phone — regularly.
A new survey of 2,000 Americans found that the average adult eats 7.4 meals alone each week. However, many say it can be a good thing.
In fact, the survey revealed that 68 percent of Americans look forward to eating a meal alone.
The top reason Americans eat alone? It’s more relaxing, says 50 percent of respondents, with busy schedules (44 percent) and wanting to save money (38 percent) rounding out the top three.
The new study, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of The US Highbush Blueberry Council, revealed that busy schedules are challenging for Americans in general, and how they impact mealtime is no exception.
The average American says they rush through four meals a week due to lack of time, with two meals being eaten on their feet and/or on the go.
Wherever you are when it’s time to eat, you probably have at least one device with you. Technology may be changing how we perceive our alone time, as eating with your phone could be just as good as eating with a friend.
The average American will partake in some “eat and scroll” for six meals every week — all but one of their “solo meals,” according to the survey results. However, two in three Americans (66 percent) say they don’t feel like they’re eating alone when they’re scrolling through their phone.
This may point to a growing trend, as the average American surveyed actually eats alone or with their phone more often than they do with another person.
The results showed the average American eats six meals a week with another person – one shy of their “solo meals” tally.
“We do ‘togetherness’ on our own terms now — and that’s okay! The weekends often are the best time for gathering your bunch and making memories,” said a spokesperson for The Highbush Blueberry Council.
“Whether you’re brunching at home or snacking in route to the next adventure, no-muss, no-fuss foods like blueberries keep the focus on family and friends, not efforts in the kitchen.”
The way we define “togetherness” and what it means to be connected seems to be evolving as technology evolves. Keeping our relationships strong doesn’t always require being together physically.
According to the poll, three in four respondents (76 percent) feel that engaging with their friends and family on social media platforms helps them feel more connected.
The average American says that a staggering one-third of their social interactions (32 percent) happen online or through a tech device.
The numbers break down similarly for in the ways people stay in touch with individual family members and friends. The average American says that they communicate more through texting, email and/or social media than on the phone or in person with 35 percent of the people in their life.
“Today, ‘togetherness’ is more of a feeling than a physical state, and people get creative to stay connected,” said a spokesperson for The Highbush Blueberry Council.
“The joy of being together — however you manage it — never changes.”