Eating – An American Pastime and An Opportunity

Americans tend to split their eating activity into two types: primary and secondary. Understanding these patterns could help you design campaigns to increase sales for your food and beverage manufacturers and retailers.

The average adult spends 67 minutes a day engaged in primary eating and drinking which is defined as the main activity being undertaken at that time. Primary eating and drinking occurs:

  • At home 67%
  • At work 13%
  • In a restaurant or bar 11%
  • Other 9%

Consumers spend 16 minutes a day engaged in secondary eating and 41 minutes a day engaged in secondary drinking. Common accompanying activities include:

  • Relaxing/​leisure such as watching TV or movies
  • Paid working
  • Socializing
  • Preparing food/​drink
  • Cleaning house

The peak hours for primary and secondary eating and drinking occur between noon and 1 p.m. and 6 to 7 p.m.This data suggests that ad campaigns run during noontime or dinnertime could encourage consumers to think about purchasing a specific product or visiting a specific bar or restaurant. And an online campaign could encourage staffers to influence co-​workers about where to buy lunch. Read the rest of this report for more data.

Source: Amber Waves, U.S. Department of Agriculture, June 2008

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.