Global demographics are changing—the number of one-person households is increasing. In Canada, for instance, the number of Canadians living alone in 2016 was four million, up from 1.7 million in 1981. Out of Canada’s 14.1 million households, 28.2 percent of them belong to single people. Perhaps, herein lies the motivation for a move towards single-serve meals and convenient quantities for someone dining alone.
The increase in single-person households is thought to be due to the average age of marriage increasing, the increasing rate of divorce, surviving spouses, and staying single for longer. Furthermore, the more people are paid, the more likely they are to be able to live alone. The growth in living alone has also coincided with the rise in condominium construction. Statistics Canada said that 28 percent of people living alone resided in these types of accommodation, either owned or rented; this has increased from 7 percent in 1981.
How does this relate to supermarkets and restaurants? Bella DePaulo, singles expert and author of Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatised and Ignore, and Still Live Happily Ever After, said, “Restaurants need to up their game when it comes to welcoming the solo diner.” Supermarkets have already been seeing a rise in the number of ready-made meals prepared, this sort of trend caters towards the busy individual who can afford to live alone and shop for convenience.
In order to keep up with demands, businesses will need to evaluate their customer base and cater specifically. Wastage is always a big thing for people eating alone. It is often hard to buy the perfect amount of food that lasts the ideal amount of time when dining alone. Supermarkets and restaurants will have to keep this in mind as the number of people eating/shopping alone increases.