America infested with ‘zombie eaters’ who devour every meal while staring at a screen

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The study, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Snack Factory® Pretzel Crisps®, examined the eating habits and behaviors of Americans. (Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash)

Move over ‘The Walking Dead’, Americans are the real ‘zombie eaters’, according to new research.

A poll of 2,000 Americans examined their eating and snacking habits, discovering that the majority (88 percent) are ‘zombie eaters’ — admitting to looking at screens while eating, from their TVs to their phones and laptops.

In fact, the average American studied will look at their phone more than two separate times during a single meal. On top of that, the average American will only have five ‘screen-free’ meals a week.

The study, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Snack Factory® Pretzel Crisps®, examined the eating habits and behaviors of 2,000 Americans and found that 91 percent report watching TV while eating a meal or snack — with nearly half (49 percent) reporting that they do so regularly.

With the universal need to stare at a screen while chowing down, 83 percent of those surveyed revealed they’ve had their food go cold while deciding what to watch. And the downsides don’t stop there — 86 percent have found themselves so busy and preoccupied with their screens that they’ve forgotten to eat altogether.

“‘Zombie Eating’ is something most of us can relate to — we’re busy, we’re productive, and we’re constantly on the move,” says Syreeta Norwood, Senior Brand Manager, Pretzel Crisps. “At Pretzel Crisps, we know the importance of having a snack that you can enjoy in whatever way works best for you, no matter your schedule — from exploring unexpected dips, spreads and toppings, to taking a bag on-the-go to enjoy during your busy life.”

Americans often have jam packed schedules, requiring them to be glued to a screen. So what are they up to in the virtual world? The number one thing Americans do on their phones while eating is sending and reading emails (50 percent).

But, that’s not all that they’re doing on their devices as they try to enjoy their meals and snack time. Forty-eight percent scroll through or post on social media, while 37 percent watch YouTube videos. An additional 36 percent of those surveyed reported conducting work-related activities on their phones when eating.

And the ‘zombie eating’ movement isn’t just impacting when and how we’re snacking — being so busy also has an impact on where we’re eating. It’s a reason why 67 percent of Americans are eating at their desks while working instead of taking an actual lunch break. In fact, 22 percent report eating their lunch at their desks often — the average respondent reported eating three meals a week sitting at their desk.

It’s no wonder then, that for the average American, only three meals a week are eaten at the kitchen table.

Instead of the traditional kitchen table, Americans are choosing to eat either on the couch (79 percent), standing at the kitchen counter (64 percent), on the floor (48 percent), or in bed (61 percent).

With all the ‘zombie eating’ and twists on the traditional ‘kitchen table,’ it’s no surprise that over a quarter of those surveyed (26 percent) graze throughout the day — eating smaller portions frequently and avoiding any big meals.

And it turns out that 45 percent of Americans break out their snack at a specific time of day. If your stomach starts to growl as the clock hits 2:37 p.m., you’re not alone — it just so happens to be peak snack time according to those studied. “We’re eating standing up, we’re eating on the go, and a whole lot of us are eating right at our desks,” says Syreeta Norwood, Senior Brand Manager, Pretzel Crisps. “Pretzel Crisps is committed to helping make those snacking moments just a little more enjoyable — whether it’s with 10-second appetizers, new sweet and salty flavors, or classic thin and crispy treats.”

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Top five things Americans do on their phone while eating

  1. Read/send emails 50%
  2. Scroll through/post on social media 48%
  3. Watch YouTube videos 37%
  4. Work-related activities 36%
  5. Watch a TV show/movie on a streaming app 35%

>> Download the video & infographic for this research story <<

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