What’s for lunch? 

While Tribes have a wide range of food preferences and eating habits, their lunch choices are dictated by their circumstances e.g. leftover food from a wedding to working in a canteen. A rare few of our members make more  considered choices based on their principles but for the most part, Tribes often let their appetites make the decisions for them.

“I normally eat my lunch at home with family, unless I’m out then I tend to eat my lunch
 in a café or restaurant(with friends or family) but mostly I prefer to get a takeaway
 (if out)" Female, 24

eating Lunch alone or with others?

Most Tribes will spend their lunchtimes alone either watching an episode of their favourite show, killing time on games or catching up on emails and social media. Even if they’re home with the family, lunchtime is a great way to unwind and have some personal space. If lunch is spent outdoors, Tribes prefer to have company and will opt for a meal deal with friends or spend time with the family in a restaurant for an outing.

So I have just been eating my lunch in the cafe either alone or with a work colleague. This is good though, as it allows me to catch up on social media and with emails etc…  ” – Female, 22, Mainstream, Pop:Socials

During the week I either eat at my desk and read or go for a walk with my boyfriend” – Female, 24 Mainstream, VOD:Bingers 

“I normally eat my lunch at home with family, unless I’m out then I tend to eat my lunch in a café or restaurant (with friends or family) but mostly I prefer to get a takeaway (if out)” – Female, 24

I usually eat my lunch alone watching Netflix or YouTube, however sometimes I eat out with friends but usually get a meal deal as it is cheap then eat somewhere like a park” – Female, 20

Peak Times: THinking about lunch starts at 12:12:30, while buying lunch happens at 1:00-1:30

12-12.30pm is the prime time Tribes start thinking about lunch when bellies start grumbling and the hunger pangs kick in.

The majority of Tribes make their lunch and eat at home while a third go out to buy lunch. The rest put in some effort and bring in a packed lunch either made by them or a relative.

Those who buy lunch – peak time to buy is 1-1:30pm

Those who bring in a packed lunch – peak time to eat lunch is 12:30-1pm – don’t have to deal with long queues!

Those who prepare lunch and eat at home – peak time to eat is 12:30-1pm


“I go to Pret A Manger because of the great vegetarian selection. And the Co-Op because of their range of wraps/sandwiches” – Female, 22, Aspirant, Short:Snaps

Key drivers for lunch purchase decision?

We explored what choices Tribes make before they buy their lunch. We found that Tribes value taste, value and convenience the most before deciding on what’s for lunch.

“Any other supermarket because it’s easy and tastes good. I’m not too fussy, I tend to get a wrap or salad from the nearest supermarket  ” – Female, 21, Leading Edge, Short:Snaps

“McDonald’s because it is cheap and tastes good” – Female, 24, Mainstream, VOD:Bingers

Taste is the most important aspect of lunch

We asked Tribes where they like to buy and eat their lunch and received an array of varied responses. Young adults in 2018 are growing up with a variety of food on their plates which encourages them to explore the different food options available.

Tribes generally lean towards fast food choices when it comes to taste because they consider burgers, fried chicken and pizza as treats that are quick and convenient to purchase. They’re aware that indulging at fast food shops doesn’t make for an ideal everyday lunch but sometimes they enjoy eating junk food.

“Dominos because it tastes good” – Male, 16

McDonalds because sometimes I just crave junk food ” – Female, 21, Leading Edge, Short:Snaps

the Value: cheap is cheerful

Buying lunch on the go means keeping an eye on the pennies so Tribes are always on the lookout for the best lunch deals. It can include a meal deal from Boots or picking up some cheap sandwiches from their local corner shop. Young adults are a demographic that watch their spending but also want the best value that doesn’t compromise on taste, quality or time.

Corner Shop  because they do cheap and cheerful sandwiches" – Male, 20Tesco because the meal deal is good value" – Female, 21

“Co-Op because great meal deals" – Female, 20, Aspirant, VOD:Bingers

“Tesco / Sainsbury’s  because they have a good variety and are cheap" - Female, 23, Alternative, Pop:Socials 


Convenience: How long do i have to wait?

Although our Tribes like to check out the various food options for lunch, many of them also want access to a quick and easy meal that doesn’t cause them any hassle. 16-24 year-olds are often tackling many new responsibilities at a time so will look for a convenient option on the days they’re on the go. It can span from buying lunch from somewhere that’s near by, how quick it takes to make a purchase to how long it takes to prepare.

McDonald’s  because it’s fast and tasty” – Female, 20, Aspirant, VOD:Bingers

Subway because it’s cheap and fast with lots of variety ” – Female, 21, Leading Edge, Short:Snaps 

“Supermarkets because there are lots of quick options ” – Female, 20

Greggs because it’s a cheap and easy lunch when I’m on the go.” – Female, 17

where do they love to eat? Fast food shops!

When we asked Tribes what their favourite places were to go for lunch, a vast majority responded with a list of fast food chains because they like to treat themselves.




Why they like to eat there: Satisfies those cravings!

“McDonalds because the food is cheap and very nice too” – Male, 16

Subway  because The salads are really nice” Female, 23, Leading Edge, VOD:Bingers

Greggs  because Cheap, not my healthiest option” Female, 23, Leading edge, VOD:Bingers


Supermarkets were frequently mentioned as a favourite lunch spot by our Tribes, particularly for those who are on-the-go and looking for affordable and healthier options.




Why they like to eat there: Meal deals, offers and good value for money

Tesco because their meal deals are incredible” Male, 18, Leading edge, Pop:Socials

Sainsbury’s because if I’m out somewhere it tends to be there, it’s easy and tastes good” – Female, 21, Leading edge, Short:Snaps  

Boots because it has such a good range of veggie sandwiches and at a really good price” – Female, 20, Urban, VOD:Socials

coffee shops

Coffee shops were favoured by many of our Tribes who are looking to buy specific products that they know they like, and because it gives them the option to sit down in the quiet spot to eat their lunch.

Pret A Manger



Why they like to eat there: A good selection of freshly made food with an emphasis on quality

Pret a Manger because they have a good selection of things I like” Mainstream, VOD:Socials

Costa because it’s made that day and reasonably priced” Female, 17, Mainstream, Pop:Socials

Starbucks  because Short distance after uni”Male, 20     

The vegetarian landscape

Vegetarian lunch options are seen in a positive light

Most of our Tribes are meat eaters with a minority of the community being vegetarians and pescetarians. Although they love meat, this doesn’t sway them from other alternative options where the likes of a vegetarian or vegan lunch will pique curiosity.

Vegetarian lunches are more than just salads

Some barriers get in the way when it comes to veggie options. Consuming a few falafels can leave you feeling peckish while the lack of variety can sway decision making. Some food shops and chains in the UK frame a box of salad or a cheese sandwich as a vegetarian lunch substitute. This can leave Tribes feeling disheartened, especially the vegetarians when the only option is to have a generic bland lunch. Annual campaigns such as Veganuary have grown in popularity and contribute towards the health food movement that influences young adults today.

‘…Veganuary was launched in 2014, with 3,300 people signing up; by 2016, there were 23,000 participants, then 59,500 in 2017, and a staggering 168,000 this year – and these are just the numbers that signed up officially online.’


I think in the last few years being veggie/vegan has become quite trendy hence there are some really great veggie options for lunch now. For instance they now have coronation egg or coronation chick pea sandwiches!!!” – Female, 20 (Vegetarian)

Going meat free: it’s healthier and better for the environment

When we asked Tribes what their favourite places were to go for lunch, a vast majority responded with a list of fast food chains because they like to treat themselves.

Tribes believe that going meat free is relatively better for one’s health or to at least reduce their meat consumption for a healthier lifestyle. There is growing interest in where their food comes from due to influences from family members, friends and even social media influencers where there is a lot of open discussion about meat free alternatives.

While health is mentioned as a primary reason for choosing vegetarian options for lunch, many also believe that the environment plays an important role in their food choices. The production of meat is known for having harmful effects on the environment, to the extent that Tribes will pay attention to the brands that are most committed to tackling the issue (even if it’s not top of mind).


Not all meat eaters agree with cutting meat out from their diet. While the idea appeals to them, there are some concerns around taste and whether vegetarian options can replace the levels of nutrients and proteins that are found in their regular lunches. It can also be a hassle to read ingredient labels where convenience is not associated with vegetarian food options. Clear signage of vegetarian or vegan lunch meals can help simplify the ordering process and allow Tribes to have a clearer conscience about their lunch making decisions.

Quorn fillets, Quorn cottage pie, salad cucumber tomato etc, eggs – I try to eat as locally as possible to reduce carbon footprint- eggs come from local suppliers” Anonymous

Things they said…


I’m open to vegetarian options – sometimes I go for falafel – but most of the time they simply aren’t filling and I’ve noticed healthier and vegetarian options can be more expensive than the less healthy and meat-laden ones.” Female, 21, Leading edge, Short:Snaps (A meat eater)

Sometimes I really struggle to find (vegetarian) options in supermarket meal deals. Lactose doesn’t really agree with me but in the Tesco and Sainsburys near me most of the time I have no option but to buy a cheese sandwich, it’s really disappointing. Plus sometimes it’s impossible to get anything if the cheese sandwiches have sold out! Boots have an amazing vegan lunch range and it’s SO GOOD to actually have a choice about what I want to eat – there are veggie boxes, sandwiches, buddha bowls, snack pack things. It’s such a relief to know if I go to Boots there will be something I can eat that’s not just apple slices.” Female, 22, Leading edge, Short:Snaps

“I think if you live alone or with a fellow veggie or vegan then it’s pretty easy to cook good veggie food and in restaurants there are often veggie options and shops make things clear, steering away from red meat can be good for health but it can be hard to get a balanced amount of protein etc without meat but there are plenty of substitutes- also it is much better for the environment as cattle farming adds massively to the greenhouse effect” – Female, 16 (A meat eater)

I think eating reduced amounts of meat is better as it cuts out large Fat consumption. I do feel not eating meat reduces protein intake. Reading labels is no problem I am a pro I have to make sure the product is halal before I eat it.” Male, 20, Other (Halal)

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