600,000 Eat Dinner Alone
Mars Food® Australia today launched research revealing that while Australians get more connection from sharing a dinner with loved ones than any other activity (78%), only a minority are having the dinnertime they want and three quarters want to change something about their dinnertime.
Commissioned for MasterFoods®, the Lifting the Lid on Dinnertime report identifies that whilst Australians understand the benefits of shared dinnertimes, only a few are realising the full reward because of barriers interrupting their ability to have dinnertimes that matter:
- Dinner Table: The decline of the dinner table is making it harder to connect together, with Australians only eating half (50%) their weekday dinners at any kind of table and over half sitting down in front of the TV for dinner at least once a week. What’s more, younger Australians are retreating to their bedrooms, with almost a third of 18 – 24 year olds admitting to eating dinner in bed at least one night a week.
- Distractions: Over half (51%) are so distracted at the dinner table that their ability to connect with their friends or loved ones is compromised. These distractions are caused by a range of factors including technology (36%), arguments with loved ones (28%), work schedules (25%) and busy household lifestyles (22%).
- Social isolation impacts 13% of respondents who said they were too isolated from friends and family to share a home cooked meal more often. Over 600 thousand are missing out on the rewards of connection by eating dinner alone.
Food Can Connect Loved Ones
Hamish Thomson, General Manager Mars Food Australia said,
We know that food can connect us with our loved ones physically, socially and emotionally – we make healthier choices about what we eat, we have real conversations with people who matter to us and we grow closer to them as a result. Most of us eat dinner each night, but how many of us prioritise dinner to make it really matter?
With three teenage kids, a job that sometimes keeps unsociable hours and a partner who works part time Hamish recognises how difficult it can be to get around the dinner table. He continued
The facts in front of us are pretty alarming. We have a responsibility with MasterFoods to start a movement and make a real change in this area so we can all share in the rewards of dinnertime. My real hope is that Australians will make a small choice to be more mindful and connected while they share their evening meal. This alone will make a massive difference
let's make dinnertime matter
MasterFoods are asking people to prioritise connecting with family and friends over dinner as part of our Let’s Make Dinnertime Matter campaign, which is part of a three year program to inspire and encourage Australians to prioritise dinnertime more often with the people that matter most to them. Why not start with this leap year, on 29th February when we all have an extra 24 hours to create a dinner that matters.
Connecting with Loved Ones
Sabina Read, Psychologist, outlines the importance of connecting with loved ones.
I was immediately struck by the finding that three quarters of Aussies would like to change something about their household dinners, and that many of these changes focus on how we eat not what we eat. We are hard wired to connect with each other so it makes sense that many Aussies want more laughter, fewer complaints, everyone being home or less effort involved around preparing and eating dinner.
Sabina gives us some advice on how we can take steps to change our behaviour.
Admitting that we aren’t content with our behaviour is the first step to changing and often small steps can help us create meaningful changes. Finding ways to make mealtimes more mindful will have a domino effect not only on our physical health, but also our emotional and relational well-being as well. It’s not food per se that connects us but rather what we do with the people we care about during the times we prep and eat meals.
Lifting the Lid on Dinnertime
To join the conversation about dinnertime and see the Let’s Make Dinnertime Matter campaign launch film featuring unscripted interview footage of real Aussie families talking about who they would most like to have dinner with, visit MasterFoods on Facebook here and on YouTube.