The changing meaning of eating out in three English cities 1995–2015

Jessica Paddock*, Alan Warde, Jennifer Whillans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
452 Downloads (Pure)


This paper examines aspects of the experience of eating out in 2015 and its change over time. In 2015 we repeated an earlier study of eating out in three cities in England in with similar coverage of topics and mostly with identically worded questions, and conducted follow-up in-depth interviews with some of the respondents. We focus on the changing reasons and meanings of the activity as breadth of experience in the population augments and eating main meals outside the home becomes less exceptional or special. What we call ‘ordinary’ events have become more prevalent, and we delineate two forms of ‘ordinary’ occasions; the ‘impromptu’ and the ‘regularised’. We describe the consequences for popular understanding of the social significance of eating out in 2015, its informalisation and normalisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-13
Number of pages9
Early online date31 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

Structured keywords

  • Food Justice Network


  • Change 1995–2015
  • Eating out
  • England
  • Meal occasions
  • Ordinary consumption


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