Food Network

Making a meal of it- families only sit down to dinner twice a week

20th November, 2012 in Food & Drink

The majority of families only manage to all sit down together for dinner twice a week – OR LESS, a survey has revealed. Extended working hours, lengthy commutes and kids commitments mean families never get home at the same time and rarely eat their evening meal together.

The study found that 10% of families NEVER have a family meal together in the week, and less than a third of Brits sit down every night.

It is the dads who are officially the worse culprits for missing the family dinner, followed by teenage kids.

The poll, carried out by Food Network UK, highlights the importance of making time to eat with friends and family.

According to the study, the main reason for absenteeism at family meal times is parents working too late to make it home in time, followed by after school commitments.

Of those polled, 15% said their lengthy commute was to blame and one in five said domestic chores got in the way of a good family get-together in the week.

The survey of 2000 parents (with children living at home) also found that a third said they wished they sat for dinner more regularly- not just on special occasions.

Nick Thorogood, Senior Vice President of Content and Marketing, Food Network EMEA, commented:

“It is astonishing to see that the traditional family meal is on the way out with only four in ten families making the time to sit down for dinner twice a week or less.

“Modern life means we all lead really busy lives and the research shows that sitting down for a family dinner every single night of the week is something that no longer happens.

“This is something most British families will be able to relate to as it is an unfortunate consequence of having hectic social and work lives, as well as kids having school and sporting commitments.

“It is very encouraging though to see that families still make an effort to get together for special occasions, like Christmas and birthdays.”

The study found that one in twenty parents find it hard to get the family to eat together during the week because everybody likes to eat different food.

But despite this, 42% of adults do encourage their family to eat together more often, with a third of parents claiming it’s their kids inspiring big family get togethers.

Not surprisingly, 88% of us plan to sit down together for Christmas dinner and 79% always make an effort for birthdays.

One in ten of us are also making plans for a ‘Thank You Day’ meal – like the American Thanksgiving – to celebrate with immediate family.


1.    Parents working too late
2.    All wanting to eat at different times
3.    Shift work
4.    After school / sports clubs clashing
5.    Everyone eating different types of food
6.    Needing to get on with washing, cleaning ironing
7.    Lengthy commute
8.    Kids wanting to watch TV
9.    Work issues getting in the way
10.    Parents socialising


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