The majority of Americans can’t eat a meal unless they have one of these

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Eight-eight percent of us wolf down our meals while staring at some sort of screen while we eat – from a smartphone to a computer to a tablet to a television, a new survey of 2,000 adults commissioned by Pretzel Crisps and conducted by OnePoll has found.

The checked-out chow-down practice is now so common that 91% of respondents said they watched TV while eating a meal or snack, and nearly half (49%) said they watched TV while eating on a regular basis.

A full 83% said they’ve had their food go cold while deciding what to watch, while a totally forgetful 86% have gotten so entangled in the screen of their choice that they completely forgot to eat.


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The average U.S. eater only eats five screen-free meals per week.

For those that liked to peruse their phones while eating, the most popular things to do was read email (50%), scroll social media (48%), watch YouTube (37%), and deal with work stuff (36%).

And of course, the behavior spills into work – 67% of employees eat their lunch at their desk, about three days a week.

A nation of zombies

“‘Zombie’ eating’ is something most of us can relate to – we’re busy, we’re productive, and we’re constantly on the move,” said Syreeta Norwood, a senior brand manager at Pretzel Crisps, in a statement.

This shouldn’t be surprising.

In 2018, marketing research group Nielsen found that adult Americans spend more than 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to or simply interacting with media. Nielsen also found that Americans spent nearly six hours per day watching video (Netflix binges, anyone?).

The state of play is even more alarming over the pong: three-quarters of Brits use a second screen while watching TV, a 2017 British study found.