Americans Love Breakfast but Don’t Do It Right, Survey Says

Breakfast: we love it (seriously, we made a whole book about it and everything). Whether you choose to regard breakfast as the most important meal of the day or just the best one, it matters to us all. 

That’s why it’s especially interesting that some new survey data shows such a disconnect between the idea of breakfast and how we actually approach it. Based on an online survey of more than 1,500 “nationally representative Americans” conducted by Hilton, 73% of respondents claim they’re happiest when they eat breakfast (presumably that means they’re happier than if they skipped it), while 50% say it’s the highlight of their day. 

Watch: How to Make Hummingbird Pancakes

Then, the cognitive dissonance kicks in. Only 22% of respondents said they have time to sit down for breakfast Monday through Friday, 40% are skipping breakfast, and 24% are eating it alone. That all factors into why 70% of those surveyed admitted to finding their breakfast experiences unfulfilling. 

To paraphrase Robert Putnam’s famous sociological work, Americans are also breakfasting alone. Fewer than one in ten of those surveyed admit to sitting down to breakfast with friends or family. That’s despite the fact that four out of five respondents felt a shared breakfast can set the tone for the day, and an almost equal number (81%) wish they had more of a chance to eat breakfast with the people they care about. 

So what are we to do? Perhaps go on vacation: 62% of surveyed parents said sitting down to a group breakfast while traveling is the best way to come closer as a family. That also might explain why the “Hilton Breakfast Alliance,” a collection of five brands within the hotel group’s portfolio who collectively had “nearly 200 million breakfast served in 2018” across more than 3,200 properties in the US, want to make May 25th “Eat Breakfast Together Day.”

Brandi Milloy, a Food Network personality who Hilton has enlisted to spread the gospel of shared breakfast, agrees. “Like many people, my favorite meal is breakfast. But with crazy schedules, it feels like we’re always rushed,” Milloy said in a press release.“Summer travel is the perfect time to get in the habit of starting the day with breakfast together. Bonus points if everyone puts their phones away.” 

Though a bit contrived, “Eat Breakfast Together Day” is far from the strangest food “holiday”. And it at least has the noble goal of getting families to come together. So if you want to feel less alienated from your loved ones, start your day by sitting together in a hotel lobby sharing waffles with people you care about.


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