More take-out & delivery, hold the breakfast. How singles and families are dining today.

COVID-19 has had a lasting impact on families, and particularly on how, what, where and when to eat. Whether it is the decision to have a meal delivered or pick it up through the drive-thru, eat breakfast at 8 a.m. or 11 a.m., try out the neighborhood restaurant’s new meal kit or stick to our old favorites, households have been making new decisions about what best suits them.

We recently asked 1,200 US respondents in both single and family households about their eating habits during the extended pandemic response. Download the full results.

We found that families haven’t overlooked the convenience of delivery, takeout, grocery staples and grocery frozen meals. In fact, family households reported using every food channel available “more or much more” at a rate that greatly exceeds singles. For example, nearly 50% of families reported using grocery staples and frozen food much more since April, compared to just 39% and 30% of singles, respectively. In detail:

“I make a home-cooked meal every day for all four people in my home. Before, I usually had breakfast alone, and it was just oatmeal or fruit.”

When it comes to breakfast, most of us are starting the morning differently. When asked, “Since COVID-19, have your breakfast habits changed?” 46% of family households responded “yes,” while 27% of single households made a switch.  

Younger respondents (Gen Zers) have started eating later, healthier or skipping breakfast altogether, while the older generations (Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers) report eating at home. Restaurant breakfast sales have felt the change. In our insights observed from 100,000 restaurants in July, the breakfast category trailed lunch and dinner by approximately 10 percentage points (PPT).

There is some hope, however. In an Aug. 5 story, Business Insider reported that Wendy’s is so confident about its new breakfast menu, it is planning a $15 million advertising spend, presumably to come out ahead when the fast-food breakfast battle heats up.

“I want to eat out more because I want to eat food that is prepared.”

When it comes to going out, we found that single households are more concerned about external factors than family households. They are the most worried about economic impact, health and food supply, and, as a result, they may be less likely to dine out post-pandemic than family households. Just 10% of singles said they’d dine out “more or much more” in the future, while 21% of families will increase their dining out occasions. Of those families, 30% said they will dine out more because they “miss the experience.”

We strive to keep our clients – and the industry – informed with the most accurate consumer insights and data, especially during these precarious times. Look for results from our third survey, here soon.

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