Growing Pork’s Affinity
Among Solo Diners

Living alone is a fast-growing trend across America, especially among Millennials and Gen X. In fact, according to a 2017 Pew Research study, roughly 60% of adults under age 35 are now living without a spouse or partner – up from 56% in 2007. As a result of this shift, dining occasions like Solo Cravings and Convenient Eating for One are on the rise.

During these occasions, diners are looking for simple options for one, and more often than not, are just fine defaulting to whatever’s already in the fridge or freezer. Considering 18% of Americans will eat dinner this way tonight, it’s critical for the pork industry to develop more exciting meal solutions catered to the individual.

Generally speaking, we’re already challenged by these audiences due to a lack of necessity for fresh foods. For example, at Convenient Eating for One and Solo Cravings occasions, when meat is a part of dinner, these occasions are more likely than others to include processed meats.  Processed meats dominate as the protein in these occasions because meals like sandwiches, burgers and pizza are easy, and can be prepared quickly for one.

We therefore need to realize that getting solo diners to eat fresh pork, or any fresh meat, is a tough sell. We need to shift our focus to their current behaviors and how those behaviors can be catered to.

For starters, we need to provide precooked options in both the hot prepared food and frozen sections of grocery stores. Speed and ease on both the prep and cleanup sides of dinner are crucial for these diners, and messaging on packages should speak to that.

Additionally, we need to start thinking smaller about our portions. Solo diners want a meal for them, and family-sized offerings imply more complexity, more time and more waste. Instead, we need to create value packs of individually wrapped cuts, promote faster-cooking cuts, or offer more single-serve meats and meals.

Seeing as the average household income is about $25,000 less for adults living without a spouse or partner, according to Pew, solo diners are naturally inclined to spend less on their meals. That makes an affordable pork option that can be kept on hand a huge plus.


Family meals will always be a huge focus for pork, but we need to start thinking beyond that if we’re going to grow pork affinity. With meal solutions that meet their needs, solo diners can be enticed to try more pork. And by building affinity with them now, we improve our chances of staying on their menus if and when their household size grows.

For more information about the Solo Cravings and Convenient Eating for One occasions, check out our brief webinar at the link below:

Check out Solo Dining Occasions!

Want to put the data to the test?
I can help you craft an action plan.

Angie Krieger

Angie Krieger

Assistant Vice President, Channel Outreach

National Pork Board Cell: 319-594-4000 akrieger@pork.org