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Increasing bowl sales may be a reflection of cultural tendencies

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlights that sales of bowls are rising in the US and Europe.  While the writer suggests they are a function of people eating healthier meals and ever more Asian cuisine, this may not necessarily be the case.

According to Rich Brinkman, VP Sales & Marketing for bowl maker Fiesta, its 17 per cent increase last year is due to the fact that “plates inhibit,” causing food to slip off while bowls allow for mobility.

Along with recent tech innovations, Western societies are increasingly peripatetic, connecting with peers across the globe without the constraints of time or space.  Same stands for businesses that now span global markets merely by having a website, with the blend of work and life increasingly the case.

Recent studies in the UK and US show less than half of families now eat their meals together.  The on-the-go culture, whether eating fast-food, breakfast at the desk or eating in the car, all show the extent of our non-communal dining habits.  Driven often by watching a screen, a 2013 British study reveals 49 per cent of Brits eat meals in front of their TV or computer.

Most interesting is the impact of culture.  While Americans pride themselves on productivity over pleasure (“no pain, no gain”), countries including Spain, Italy and France use meal times as a point of exchange with family and friends, a time to converse and catch up with technology and productivity set aside to focus on relationships.

Watching the rise of bowl sales reveals some truths about our ever-changing lifestyles and cultural differences around the world.  For those Anglo-Saxon brands looking to travel to other parts of the world, make sure you do your research first into what works and what doesn’t to avoid costly mistakes.

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