Today’s corporate culture makes more Canadians eat alone, leading to feelings of isolation and unhappiness

The President’s Choice® team is challenging Canadians and their employers to break the cycle, share a meal on Eat Together Day, June 22

BRAMPTON, JUNE 18, 2018 /CNW/ – Did you eat alone today? If so, you weren’t alone. More and more Canadians reportedly eat in solitude, which according to a recent study from Oxford Economics* is more strongly associated with unhappiness than any single factor other than having a mental illness. In an effort to break the cycle of solitude, the President’s Choice® (PC®) team is challenging Canadians to get back to the table, share a meal and #eattogether.

In this year’s Eat Together film, viewed 2.5 million times and discussed widely online, the PC® team takes aim at the workplace, where eating alone has become part of the culture and daily routine – with six out of 10 Canadians calling it a “new societal norm.” According to a recent survey commissioned by President’s Choice**, two-thirds of us most often eat lunch alone, nearly half do so every day.

“Spending time together over food has the power to bring families closer, to connect colleagues, and to bring together diverse communities,” said Galen G. Weston, Chairman and CEO, Loblaw Companies Limited. “We know the benefits. Today, we’re challenging all Canadians to imagine the impact we could have if, just a little more often, we took the time to eat together.”

“At Loblaw, our business is food. As a retailer with one of the country’s leading networks of independent businesses and as one of Canada’s largest employers, we know that action on our part could drive change,” says Sarah Davis, President, Loblaw Companies Limited. “This year, we’re all in. We are asking our network of our nearly 200,000 colleagues to embrace the spirit of this initiative and eat together during the day, and we’re hosting free BBQ lunches for our customers at stores across the country. In addition, hundreds of our vendors and partners will be joining us by eating together at their offices.”

Although we are eating alone more often, Canadians see a clear benefit of eating together. In fact, the PC® survey** revealed that three-quarters of working Canadians see an improvement in communication with their colleagues when they eat together and 64 per cent agree that eating lunch with colleagues at work makes their day more enjoyable.

“Progressive companies are embracing the meal sharing traditions of old,” said Dr. Nick Hobson, University of Toronto Behavioural Science Lecturer. “They are tapping into an ancient human practice, knowing well and good that eating together is the furthest thing from a waste of precious work time.”

Despite knowing the benefits, more than half of working Canadians (59%)** agree that eating alone in the workplace has become the norm, instead of eating with colleagues and friends, citing the following reasons for not stepping away from their desks at lunch time

  • Feel like eating alone at work has become the new societal norm (59%)
  • Like to spend meal time catching up on personal business uninterrupted (25%)
  • Think they’re too busy to stop what they’re doing (23%)
  • Like to spend time on social media without interruption (12%)

Loblaw and the President’s Choice® team are encouraging Canadians to participate in Eat Together Day in a number of ways – join a free BBQ at select Loblaw grocery stores including Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstores, Provigo and Atlantic Superstore across Canada, to find a location near you or join the Facebook event visit https://eattogether.presidentschoice.ca . You can also participate by sharing #eattogether on social media, or simply grab a friend, colleague or family member and spend some time together over food.

About Loblaw Companies Limited:

Loblaw Companies Limited is Canada’s food and pharmacy leader, with almost 200,000 full and part time employees working in more than 2,400 corporate, franchised and Associate-owned locations in communities across the country. Loblaw is proud to serve millions of Canadians each week with a wide range of products, including grocery, pharmacy, health and beauty, no-fee financial services, apparel, general merchandise, and wireless mobile products and services. Loblaw delivers on its purpose – Live Life Well – by providing its customers with convenient locations, more than 1,050 grocery stores that span the value spectrum from discount to specialty, full-service pharmacy at more than 1,800 locations, and leading consumer brands including Life Brand®, no name®,

President’s Choice® and Joe Fresh®.

 

*A landmark survey commissioned by Oxford Economics and the National Centre for Social Research (methodology below) 

About the Oxford Economics Survey:

Sainsbury launched its Living Well Index in September 2017, in collaboration with Oxford Economics and the National Centre for Social Research. This regularly-updated index provides a unique insight into the nation’s (United Kingdom) mood, and people’s views of how “well” they are living. The survey data was collected from more than 8,000 British adults. The same group was surveyed again in January and February 2018. The latest report summarizes the findings and analysis.

**A survey commissioned by President’s Choice (methodology below)

About the President’s Choice Survey:

From May 2nd to May 13th 2018 an online survey of 1594 randomly selected employed Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada panelists was executed by Maru/Blue. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.4%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been weighted by education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.