Meat and vegetable dinners the most common evening meal in 2019

Research has found that the classic ‘meat and two veg’ dinner was the most popular evening meal for adults in 2019.

A survey carried out by Bord Bia and Red C Research tracked the eating habits of over 1,000 Irish consumers on their evening eating habits. Over the seven consecutive days of the online survey, a sample of evening meals for 5,925 adults and 1,841 children was taken.

The traditional dinner won out – accounting for 11% of all adult evening meals across seven days. Chicken dishes and pasta with sauce meals (such as spaghetti bolognese) were both the next most popular dishes, on 10% each.

Among children, pasta with sauce meals were the most popular type of meal, accounting for 14% of their evening feeds.

The survey found that red meat is the most popular meat consumed in Irish households, with 29% of all adult meals including red meat – although chicken followed closely behind, at 21%.

Meals containing fish accounted for 7% of all meals recorded. However, this increased to 11% on the Friday.

Dairy products were also found to be a key part of evening meals, with 17% containing cheese.

According to the survey, health and wellness considerations are driving consumer behaviour, with 80% of people placing a high level of importance on eating a balanced diet.

Although the survey noted an increase in incidences of vegan meals, it also found that just 1% of meals prepared over the seven days were vegan dishes.

Four in 10 of the adults surveyed said that the food they eat – and its health impact – had a large influence on evening meal choice. Three out every 10 adults said that environmental considerations played a role in their eating habits.

Busier lives and seeking convenient solutions were also noted to have an effect on eating patterns, with 17% of all evening meals no longer the main meal of the day. There has been a 12% decline in regular scratch cooking among Irish adults.

Commenting on what kind of information the study provides, Grace Binchy, a Bord Bia consumer insight specialist, said:

“Over the past decade, Ireland has experienced huge social, economic and technological changes which have significantly impacted consumer attitudes. This research will help the food and drink industry to look forward and make well informed business decisions that serve customers’ needs better.

“Manufacturers should consider how they can deliver healthy products while creating convenience in people’s lives and addressing their changing demands around sustainability,” she added.