Part Four: Food practices

Milan DinicResearch Manager
April 20, 2022, 9:20 AM GMT+0

How fussy are Britons when it comes to what they eat?

Four in ten Britons (40%) consider themselves to be fussy eaters, the YouGov Food Study finds. One in ten (10%) say they are ‘very fussy’ eaters, while a further three in ten (30%) consider themselves ‘fairly fussy’. Nearly half of British women (46%) consider themselves picky about their food, while this applies to a third (35%) of British men.

Among vegetarians and flexitarians, half (47% and 49%) say they are fussy about what they eat, compared to four in ten (38%) of those who eat meat.

When and how often do Britons usually eat their meals?

Around half of Britons (46%) have three meals daily, at similar times of the day. This practice is fairly consistent across all age groups (41-48%).

One in eight (13%) Britons say they have three meals but at different times of the day, with twice as many of those aged 16-39 (16%) as those aged 60+ (8%) differing their mealtimes.

Four in ten (42%) of those aged 60 and older eat fewer than three meals a day, the results of the study show.

How many hours before going to sleep do Britons usually have their last meal?

The YouGov Food Study shows that most people in the UK have their last meal three to four hours before bedtime (56%). One in five (18%) have their last meal two hours before sleeping and a further 9% an hour or less before bedtime.

Younger Britons are likelier than the older generations to eat within an hour of turning in: 14% of 16-24-year-olds compared to 8% of those in their 40s and 50s and 5% of those 60 or older.

How often do Britons wake up hungry during the night?

One in ten people in the UK report often (2%) or sometimes (8%) waking up during the night feeling hungry. A further one in four (23%) say this happens rarely.

If we compare the times when people have their last meal with how often they wake up hungry during the night, the results show that the greatest number of those who wake up needing food are the very same people who have a meal an hour before bedtime: 26% of them report waking up often/sometimes because they are hungry, in contrast to 6-9% of those who have their final meal at least two hours or more before bedtime.

Generally speaking, how do Britons feel about sharing their food?

Six in ten (58%) Britons say they are happy to share their food with someone, but a third (36%) are not. This latter group is made up of 29% who say they will begrudgingly share their food, and 7% who outright refuse to do so.

The results show that Britons who are younger than 40 are considerably less happy about the prospect of sharing food with someone (42-45%) than the older generations (27-37%).

Vegetarians are most likely not to favour letting someone take food from their plate: half (51%) say they don’t like sharing, compared to a third (35%) of meat-eaters.

See full results here 

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