Socialising and entertainment driven by non-home food consumption are factors valued by young people at the time of eating, according to the report published by the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation, two-thirds of meals consumed by resident citizens in Portugal are from out of the house, even when consumed at home.

Breakfast and the morning snack are the meals in which most food consumed comes from outside the house (90%).

Families with higher incomes spend double the money on food and tend to order take-away eight times more often than lower-income households, according to the conclusions of the study “How we eat what we eat: a portrait of meal consumption in Portugal,” coordinated by Ana Isabel Costa, of the faculty of Economics and Management at the Catholic University.

Eating dinner out only happens 13% of the time and on those occasions it’s more common to be at the house of a friend or family member (6%) than at a restaurant (4%).

A team of researchers highlighted that half of Portuguese people spend at least an hour cooking, while 27% cook, but not for more than an hour a day, and 2 in every 10 people don’t cook at all.

“Among women, three in every four spend at least an hour a day cooking, which amounts to a percentage three times higher than the male reality,” the document reads.

Adding up the time dedicated to taking care of family and other home activities, women do “over two days more of unpaid labour than men” a month.

Almost half the daily leisure time of the Portuguese population is spent eating (2 hours), with most meals being at home (72%).

Lunch is the only meal that’s eaten more outside the house (42% of the time). The most part of lunches out are done at the workplace or school (21%).

The study concludes equally that nutrition based on products not prepared at home is associated with a lower level of physical activity. “Beyond that, it pushes the Portuguese from the Mediterranean diet, which is considered healthier,” the study’s authors note.

“It’s estimated that we make over two hundred decisions a day related to the act of eating and drinking, many of which are unconscious and automatic and, as such, largely determined on habit and the environment around us,” the researchers observed, noting that eating habits carry out social, cultural and economic functions “that absolutely determine the state and development of people and communities.”

The analysis of food consumption was based on already existing data, as well as information gathered by the authors of a 2021 survey.