Evolving Meal Occasions: Capitalizing on changing food consumption habits

Evolving Meal Occasions: Capitalizing on changing food consumption habits


Globally, 61% of consumers claimed to rely heavily on time-saving products and services in 2016; a significant increase on the 42% who claimed to do so in 2014. This increased reliance on time-saving products reflects not only busier lifestyles, but also the desire for a simpler, stress-free life generally. This is particularly apparent within larger households where the activities of multiple people need to be juggled, making reliance on time-saving even greater.

Influences and pressures of modern lifestyles have disrupted the traditional meal occasion routine. The concept of three meals a day no longer applies for many households as eating habits become more fragmented. Furthermore, the idea of a family sitting around to eat their main meals together is also becoming an occasional occurrence rather than a daily ritual; as eating has to fit around other commitments.

Globally, breakfast is the meal that is most likely to be skipped across all markets, as growing time-pressures mean consumers are most likely to skip the first meal of the day. However, among the majority who do consume breakfast, health and nutrition is the overriding priority compared to meal occasions later in the day.

Despite time-pressures, health takes precedence over ease and simplicity in the morning. This is perhaps due to the inherent simplicity of many breakfast foods already, which leads consumers to think more about the health impact of their choices. Later in the day, especially at lunchtime, convenience is the priority, as consumers seek quick and easy solutions to fit their work and lifestyle routines.

The report Evolving Meal Occasions, explores how food and drink brands can capitalize on evolving meal occasions. Food consumption is no longer confined to three meals a day, as changing family structures, busier lifestyles and health concerns affect when - and what - consumers choose to eat throughout the day. This report explores how meal occasions are evolving; what the opportunities are and, how brands and manufacturers can capitalize.

Companies mentioned in this report: Deliveroo, McDonald's, Ben & Jerry's, Unilever, Moma, PikNik, Kellogg's, Nosh, Bright Greens, Huel, Quaker Oats, Sonoma Brands, TruVibe, Pacific Beach, Walmart, Doritos, PepsiCo, Dorset Cereals, Kronfli Brothers, Waitrose, Taiko, Chicago Town, LustucruFrais, Fairfields Farm, Velveeta, Totino's


  • The traditional three-square-meals-a-day routine is becoming less relevant to modern lifestyles.
  • Breakfast is most likely to be skipped or rushed, while consumers tend to spend longer over their evening meals.
  • Wider access to convenient foods and services is influencing what and where consumers eat.
Reasons to buy
  • Gain insight into the key drivers impacting meal consumption habits throughout the day.
  • Understand what motivates consumption choices at different times of day.
  • Identify five key trends in evolving meal occasions and understand the innovation implications.
  • Explore how food and drink brands and innovators can respond to the evolving needs of consumers at meal times.

  • Executive Summary
    • Content to help you learn from the past, understand the present, and see the future
  • Introduction
    • The key TrendSights trends that are driving Evolving Meal Occasions are pinpointed below
    • The traditional three-square-meals-a-day routine is becoming less relevant to modern lifestyles
    • Busy lifestyles mean consumers are spending less time preparing and eating meals
    • The foodservice revolution is disrupting meal occasions, as consumers seek food "insperiences"
    • Obesity concerns and rising health consciousness are impacting the frequency and timing of meals
    • Consumer priorities vary by meal time, and between developed and emerging markets
    • GlobalData has identified five key trend opportunities as meal occasions evolve
  • Trend 1: All Day Breakfast
    • Breakfast foods are no longer confined to the morning occasion; redefining tradition
    • Growing tendency to skip the morning meal means breakfast is gaining traction at other day-parts
    • Capitalizing on the trend: bringing the breakfast meal to other dayparts
    • Case Study: The Cereal Killers cafĂ© successfully elevated cereal beyond breakfast
    • Innovation Implications and opportunities
  • Trend 2: Liquid Fuel
    • Solid food is being replaced with liquid meal replacements for convenience, or health reasons
    • Drinkable meals offer a more convenient option to fit with busy on-the-go lifestyles
    • Capitalizing on the trend: Making a meal of drinks (1)
    • Capitalizing on the trend: Making a meal of drinks (2)
    • Case Study: Huel claims to offer "the most nutrition in the least time"
    • Innovation Implications and opportunities
  • Trend 3: The Fourth Meal
    • A new late night meal occasion has emerged; creating new targeted innovation opportunities
    • The Fourth Meal is being adopted both for functionality and to facilitate indulgence
    • Capitalizing on the trend: Target the Fourth Meal with functionality
    • Capitalizing on the trend: Tap into late night desire for indulgence
    • Innovation Implications and opportunities
  • Trend 4: Role Reversal
    • Flavors traditionally associated with certain meals occasions are being flipped on their head
    • Traditional rules are being overturned as sweet and savory switch to tap into new meal occasions
    • Capitalizing on the trend: Traditionally sweet meals with a savory twist
    • Capitalizing on the trend: Dessert becomes the main meal as savory goes sweet
    • Innovation Implications and opportunities
  • Trend 5: Snacks Takeover
    • The rapid rise of snacking culture is replacing the traditional three (or four) meals a day structure
    • The line between meals and snacks is becoming increasingly blurred as snacking culture grows
    • Capitalizing on the trend: Blurring boundaries between meals and snacks
    • Innovation Implications and opportunities
  • The Future
    • Key innovation opportunities to capitalize on Evolving Meal Occasions
    • Meal occasions will continue to evolve in the future, creating new opportunities to capitalize on
  • Appendix
    • Meet the Author
    • GlobalData at a glance
    • References

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