In the past, mealtime meant sitting around the table with our loved ones and eating our way through three courses. Today, dinner is one course lasting 21 minutes, the table has been replaced by the sofa, and we’re likely to be eating solo.

We’ve just surveyed families across Britain to get a better understanding of our dining habits, and the results show a big shift in when we eat and how. 59% of us think sharing meals has decreased compared to other generations, with 57% of families no longer eating together each night.

Though we set the scene a bit differently, we still value eating together as a way of sharing. Our research also showed eating together is still really important to us, as a way to share, laugh and connect with those close to us.

We believe everyone deserves to eat great meals in great company. And we need your help and insight so we can inspire people across Britain to come together through food.

Making time for tea (or dinner)

fajita press shot

We might all have different names for it, but we can all agree that having proper, sit-down evening meals isn’t always easy. We’re busier than ever, and our routines are so varied that finding time to prepare and share a meal together can often be a struggle.

While busy schedules are stopping us eating together, for almost half (49%) of the people we surveyed, having a meal at home or a family member’s house is important and 47% want to be able to spend more time sharing these experiences.

But having limited time doesn’t have to stand in the way – in fact it’s the perfect opportunity to make dinner a fun experience.

You can cook meals that come to life at the table, minimising prep time and giving you more to enjoy with loved ones. Think about fajitas. The different elements are quick to rustle up in the kitchen, because the magic happens at the table. And with ingredients like our 100% British chicken, they’re a local choice too. Finding a few key recipes you can rely on and make throughout the week could make a big difference. Try taking a look at ours for inspiration.

Getting stuck in and having fun with food is a great way to get closer to each other. Fajitas are also a great way to show our personalities – our filling and sealing techniques say a lot about us. How do you make them? Are you messy or neat? Do you pile your fillings up or carefully lay them into the tortilla? And when it’s is ready to seal – are you a roller or a folder?

Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dine like a pauper

breakfast press shotThat’s how the saying goes. But how much does this apply to real life? According to the survey, dinner is the most popular meal for families (43%), followed by breakfast (24%) and then lunch (16%).

Our new tv ad shows just how much fun you can have over a fry-up, and you can watch it below. Why not come together to cook a proper cooked breakfast with some of our 100% British bacon?

Taking those few extra minutes to eat together, sharing your plans for the day and laughing about how you like your eggs, is what we call starting the day right. Do you eat breakfast with your family? What makes the ultimate cooked breakfast?

You are how you eat

We think every meal is as an opportunity to get together and share great food, and we’re here to help you make the most of them. We’ve got plenty more ideas for making mealtimes the best times for you and your loved ones, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, we want to hear your thoughts. What does a meal mean to you? Which one is most important? Do you get the chance to eat together with your nearest and dearest? What are your recipes for success?

NOTE FOR OUR STORE COLLEAGUES: We know you can’t watch videos in store, but if you visit this site ( or on your personal device you can watch them there.

Here’s a transcript of the advert.

Join the conversation! 18 Comments

  1. Just well cooked proper foob, no ready meals and the time to eat and enjoy it 🙂

  2. Everything

  3. I agree with the idea that food can bring people together. I love a good leisurely breakfast or brunch with family or friends at the weekend; we just don’t get the time to catch up with people properly during the week. Last Sunday we had the in laws round for breakfast. I made a few options to suit everyone – cooked breakfast with sausage, bacon, eggs and mushrooms, fruit with granola and yogurt, and our Co-op choc hazelnut croissants, which are my absolute fave as a weekend treat!
    The breakfast was great but even better was that we made the time to catch up in person and just have a laugh (yes, even with the mother-in-law!) so we decided we’re going to try and do it more often.

    • Thanks for sharing Lou. Some comments have questioned the foods included in our ads and this story, but as you’ve highlighted, variety is really important.

      Options are as key to us as they are to you; our ad showing 100% British bacon and sausage and free range British eggs is a great way to strike a chord with viewers by showing them a meal they’ll instantly associate with breakfast.

      Once in store, we offer customers a wide range of breakfast options, many of which are considered healthy choices. What features in the TV ad is a snapshot of our mission to bring people together, which broadens in store, letting people choose the foods they want to share.

      We recognise the role we can play in helping shoppers make healthy choices and are committed to helping consumers eat better; offering choice plays a big part in this.

  4. “Why not come together to cook a proper cooked breakfast with some of our 100% British bacon?”

    …I know the article isn’t saying this explicitly, but eating bacon regularly for breakfast is not really a healthy lifestyle choice that Co-op should be promoting. Processed meats eaten often are one of the major causes of a plethora of nasty health concerns, including cancers. Eat what you like in moderation of course, but this bit did cause my eyebrow to raise just a little! If we want to promote regular eating of breakfasts as a family then fresh fruit, sugar free cereals, yogurt etc. would be more ideal.

    Other than that fab article ;o)

    • ‘Processed meats eaten often are one of the major causes of a plethora of nasty health concerns, including cancers.’

      Please give us the other ‘nasty health concerns’ within your ‘plethora’, and cite the evidence.

    • Thanks for your comment Andrew, we always love to hear feedback from our colleagues and we’re glad you enjoyed the article on the whole!

      You’re absolutely right in your feedback. We’re talking about coming together with loved ones through food, and in this case, with bacon that we’re celebrating as part of our 100% British fresh meat promise.

      We’re not making any claims about how much or how often to eat, but championing a food that spells breakfast for much of the British public. We want to help bring people together for a meal that more and more of us rarely make an event of, and we think your suggestions are equally valid.

      Personally, I love to have a savoury and a sweet course when I make the effort to have a proper breakfast with my partner. You can have a main and pudding at lunch and dinner, so why not for breakfast? I like to think I’m doing it truly king-style, and it keeps my stomach rumble-free ’til the afternoon!

  5. There have been a few articles that have left me feeling like this, so I’m going to try and express it…

    I kind of feel that in the push to be “more Co-op” and “connected” at every step we may be inadvertently isolating a large section of the population.

    I mean, this article cites research identifying the macro trend of society’s shift away from eating together at the dinner table (57% no longer do), but then goes on to market products to people… eating together at the dinner table.

    I understand that the overarching theme is togetherness, and I think we are doing some great work in this area (fighting loneliness and raising mental health awareness, for example), but I just don’t think this was the logical conclusion to have drawn on this particular occasion.

    It sort of feels like wading upstream. If people are eating together less, then let’s increase our range of healthy meals for one. A lot of the ready meals we offer are high in calories and of little nutritional benefit. Let’s get some more out onto the shelves that are not only delicious but contain one or two of the recommended five a day and are low in calories. Wholegrains. Protein. If some of the existing meals already contain these things then let’s shout about it!

    I know that eating alone isn’t very “Co-op” and therefore harder to fit into the brand than a jolly bunch o’ pals having a good ol’ knees up around the dinner table, but it’s a fact of life, and many people are happy doing it. For those that aren’t happy eating alone, the reasons for their loneliness are varied and complex, and nothing to do with a lack of British chicken fajitas. I feel like making that link, even indirectly, is not only tenuous but very nearly belittling (although please take that last bit with a pinch of salt because I know it’s the exact opposite of what was intended).

    I guess maybe the “Co-op” side of eating alone would be in the meal being good for you, good for the environment and good for the people involved in it’s production? There is “Co-op” in there, it’s just a little deeper under the surface.

    • “For those that aren’t happy eating alone, the reasons for their loneliness are varied and complex, and nothing to do with a lack of British chicken fajitas”

      I have to praise LG. Beautifully put and I agree 100% with the sentiment.

    • While i was reading this article i had the exact same feeling, it starts by explaining people aren’t eating together as much due to busy schedules but still trys to sell sit down evening meals. I fully agree that quick meals for one would be a good area to look into as i believe its abit of a Gap in the market.

    • LG, thanks for your really considered comment. We’re talking about togetherness right now and we know that many people eat alone for a variety of reasons (57% that you noted us citing).

      I think the article was reflecting on that 47% who want to spend time sharing food with others. I understood the article as encouraging people to come together where they can and offering tips and easier ways to do this.

      As you’ve said the reasons for loneliness are varied, I see the article as talking more about practical ways of coming together rather than directly trying to tackle the causes of loneliness – though we’re doing great work on this too.

      The recommendations that you’ve given are great and obviously well thought out. It’s good to hear from colleagues who are engaged and invested in the future of Food. While we’re focusing on togetherness now, it’s important that we’re conscious of those people who eat alone and that we reach out to them too.

    • Thanks for all your comments on this thread, we absolutely recognise and value the feedback. I’d be interested to know which other articles you’ve found similar issues with, so we can have a look through and see if there’s a continued message we’re not addressing. LG, would you mind sharing if you can?

      I think Liam’s managed to take the words right out of my mouth here. We want to help people find quick and shareable meals, after our research showed that 47% are looking for ways to make eating together easier. We focused on that in this story, because it was something that we were ready to help with right away, by giving a few quick and simple tips.

      As you’ve pointed out, Co-op is talking a lot about loneliness and all its varied forms, and we’re not ignoring the subject here. You’re absolutely right that those 57% of us who no longer eat together are important, and rest assured that we didn’t miss the point. There’ll be more to come on this subject so stay tuned – we’d love your feedback as we continue telling this story.

  6. Love the new advert with the three guys, very real and very natural. Was pleasantly surprised when I realised it was for the Co-op, I think we are really hitting the mark with our advertising at the moment 🙂

  7. I make the best Eggs Benedict this side of North Manchester. I use a secret ingredient when making the perfectly formed poached eggs 🙂


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