Product developers may consider marketing more items for solo eating occasions, The NPD Group suggested.

CHICAGO — More than half of eating occasions happen when consumers are alone, according to The NPD Group, a Chicago-based market research firm. With one-person households at a historical high, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, consumption behaviors have become more individualized.

About 60% of breakfast occasions occur while consumers are alone, driven by time constraints and routines, NPD said. Fifty-five per cent of lunches are eaten unaccompanied, and snacking is usually solitary as consumers grab between-meal bites away from home or on the go.

Consumers are more likely to have company at dinnertime, with only 32% of evening meals taken at a table for one. Nearly half of families with children eat dinner together at least five times a week, NPD said.

“The number of solo eating and beverage occasions have wide-ranging implications for food and beverage marketers in terms of new products, packaging, and positioning,” said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “As lifestyles shift, it’s key for marketers to profile and segment occasions when their product is consumed in various ways, including solo versus social occasions, in order to connect most effectively with consumers.”

Several product developers have introduced items for solo eating occasions. Green Giant, a General Mills, Inc. brand, offers a Just For One line of single-serve vegetables blends. Side dishes from Bob Evans include Mashed Potato Singles, packaged in one-serving cups. Chiquita Brands recently expanded its Fresh Express line with single-serve bags of salad mixes packaged together in 2-count packs. And from the Schwan Food Co., consumers may dine on Red Baron Singles personal frozen pizzas with Edwards Singles individual pie slices for dessert.