Are social dining occasions making a 'crumb-back'?

Streetbees Team
June 09, 2022

Yes. Our dashboard has detected an increase in social dining and these moments hold a special emotive place within the context of meal times. However, not all social eating occasions are the same, and brands must understand the context and the nuance behind these moments to grow share here. 

Social eating occasions sit on a ‘connection’ spectrum

Solo meals account for the majority of eating occasions in the US, but social eating occasions are on the rise. In fact, the proportion of our bees who socialised while eating their meal rose from 9% in 2020 to 16% in 2021. However, the context of these social eating occasions tends to depend on who you’re sharing them with and the level of connection you have with those individuals. 

*Based on Streetbees data in the US.

This ‘connection’ spectrum not only impacts the amount of time spent on preparation, it also impacts the type of preparation chosen. Typically, the stronger the connection, the more effort consumers put in. For example, low connection meals with colleagues tend to have the lowest preparation time, as consumers tend to eat out or simply heat something up. Whereas, high connection meals with partners and kids tend to have the highest preparation time and are commonly cooked entirely from scratch. 

Let’s look at the driving demand space behind social eating moments to help you position your brand. 

Take action with the right demand spaces 

From our 4.5 million bees, who are constantly sharing their real-time habits and attitudes with us, we’ve found that the ‘Indulgent Family Dinner’ demand space over-indexes here - a space which has grown steadily since Q1 2021. This is a social evening occasion, where consumers are looking to wrap up their busy day with tasty family favourites. 

When it comes to the food of choice in this occasion, we’ve seen a decrease in the consumption of traditionally ‘unhealthy’ items, like desserts and baked goods. Instead, more consumers are opting for meat and vegetables.

*Based on Streetbees data in the US.

So how can you grow your food brand in this space?

1. Target colleague and friend occasions with convenience

Meal occasions with colleagues tend to involve a low social connection and low effort, as they’re most likely to be eating at a restaurant or heating something up at the office. When it comes to meal occasions with friends, these also tend to be low effort. However, the social connection level is higher.

For colleagues, consider targeting these occasions with grab-and-go products, like pre-made salad boxes or sandwiches. Focus on cueing convenience and satisfying hunger and cravings. For friends, explore low effort, easy-to-prepare meals, like nachos and snack-based sharing boards. Emotional connection is more important here, so focus on emitting a light, fun tone in comms, along with the importance of food in facilitating this.

*Based on Streetbees data in the US. 

Brand spotlights - ‘thyme is money’

Ready Pac has a ‘Fresh Prep’d Soup Kit’ range and a ‘Fresh Prep’d Wrap Kit’ range, each with a complete lunch you can prepare in minutes, making them perfect for work lunches with colleagues. 

​​​​​​ SOMOS has launched a heat-and-eat line of plant-based Mexican dishes for four to eight people, perfect for a dinner with friends. 

2. Target family and couple occasions through connection

Family and couple meal occasions have a much higher social connection and therefore, consumers put greater effort into the food preparation. These occasions tend to involve a preparation time of between 30 to 90 minutes, and the food eaten is often cooked partly or completely from scratch. 

To grow your share in these occasions, look for ways to support consumers when they create these more labour-intensive meals by cueing family favourites with pre-made product variants, such as marinades or family-size meal kits. Cue the emotional connection in your comms and portray these meals as a key time for sharing and bonding. 

*Based on Streetbees data in the US. 

Brand spotlight - ‘we’re joined at the chip’

​​​​​​ Pizza Pilgrims have created Neapolitan Pizza Kits for couples to make at home, with each kit including pre-proved dough and all of the pizza toppings.


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