Americans eat more than half of their meals and snacks alone, according to a new study.
The loneliest meal of the day is breakfast, which is consumed alone about 60% of the time, the research firm NPD Group found after surveying thousands of households over the past two years. By comparison, 55% of lunches and 32% of dinners are consumed without company.
In slightly more uplifting news, the households with kids that were surveyed eat dinner together at least five times a week.
NPD analysts attribute the lonely nature of Americans’ eating habits to the fact that 27% of all U.S. households consist of just one person, which is the highest level in history.
The prevalence of solo eating could be a contributing factor to the decline of casual sit-down restaurant chains, such as Oliver Garden and Red Lobster, which rely on group dining.
Meanwhile, fast casual chains such as Chipotle, which have limited seating and make it easy to order take-out, are booming.
Two-thirds of the Chipotle’s transactions are take-out orders, up from 50% 14 years ago, according to Chipotle Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung.
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