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Nestlé study shows 'on-the-go' eating habits on the rise in Germany

By Jane Byrne , 13-Feb-2012

‘On-the-go’ food and drink consumption has increased significantly in recent years in Germany, finds new research from Nestlé.

The Swiss food giant commissioned research into dietary habits in the German market - the ‘So is(s)t Deutschland’ survey, which it claims is the largest and most comprehensive examination of people’s consumption patterns ever conducted in that country.

The study was carried out by the Allensbach Institute, the Society for Consumer Research (GfK), Ipsos Germany and the Icon Kids & Youth institute.

Nestlé commissioned the first study in 2009 to analyse the impact of social changes on people’s dietary patterns, and authorized a second poll in 2011.

The study, said the company, found that young people were the most likely to consume food and beverages ‘on-the-go’. “Around 41% of 14 to 29-year-olds in Germany visited fast-food restaurants at least once a month, compared to only 7% of 45 to 59-year-olds,” indicated the research.

Findings reveal perceptions around kids’ diet.

The poll also noted that 68% of participants, including two-thirds of parents with children under the age of 18, felt that too many children in the country had an unhealthy and unbalanced diet.

More than 90% of non-professionals surveyed said they ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at home, while more than two thirds of professionals had lunch outside the home, with 27% of this category electing to eat out for breakfast usually or at least occasionally.

Snacking trends

Young single people and young couples without children, in the main, were the most likely to substitute main meals with snacks, concluded the study.

The research showed this particular trend was especially prevalent among the under 30s.

More than two thirds of people under 30 ate ‘every now and then’ instead of having a regular main meal, found the poll, with roughly one sixth of this group replacing a main meal with a snack every day or almost every day.

Influence of working day

The research, said Nestlé, demonstrated surprisingly that longer working hours affected women’s eating patterns more than men’s.

The Swiss headquartered company added: “Overall, the study found a striking disparity between the sexes’ general attitude to food. More than 55% of women said they worry very much or too much about their diet, compared to 32% of men.”

The research indicated that among the professional participants and those who worked a 40 to 49-hour week, 43% of women had irregular eating habits compared to 36% of men.

“More than two thirds of women whose working week exceeded 50 hours ate irregularly, compared to just over half of men in the same category,” reported Nestlé.

Unpredictable daily routines

More than half of the 20-to 29-year-olds and more than two in five professionals who took part in the study said their daily routines were unpredictable.

“Of this group, only one in five said they ate at fixed times of the day. 43% ate only when they had time and 31% said they ate whenever they were hungry,” found the research.

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