Family Dinner is on the Decline: M&M Meat Shops Encourages Canadians to Bring Back the Lost Art of Dinner

Join the 10thAnnual National Family Dinner Night Festivities on Thursday, September 18

It’s no secret that our lives are busy. Many commitments compete for our time on a daily basis, making it increasingly difficult to carve out time for family and friends in a world filled with meetings, practices and classes, games and recitals. On Thursday, September 18, 2014, M&M Meat Shops is inviting all Canadians to focus on family for one sit-down meal by participating in the 10th Annual National Family Dinner Night. Plus, you could win one of three $100 M&M Meat Shops Gift Cards simply by sharing what you plan on cooking for dinner on:

A recent survey conducted for M&M Meat Shops* shows that only 30% of families sit down for dinner together every night, a shocking decrease from 47% in last year’s survey findings. An astonishing 20% of families eat dinner together only two nights a week or less, with 5% of these respondents never eating dinner as a family. And when asked about simple, mealtime rituals, only 53% of respondents say that their children know how to properly set a table.

So why is family dinner put on the back burner? Conflicting schedules caused a dinnertime disconnect for 35% of those surveyed, while lack of time due to activities affected 26% of respondents, and no time to cook was cited as the reason for 14% of families. National Family Dinner Night encourages families to re-connect over dinner and honour the tradition of the family dinner.
Bringing Back the Lost Art of Dinner

“The decline of the family dinner is a disturbing trend,” says Andy O’Brien, M&M Meat Shops’ CEO. To mark the 10th Anniversary of National Family Dinner Night, M&M Meat Shops is leading a back-to-basics approach to bringing back the lost art of dinner. “While nourishment is important, dinner is so much more than the food you eat. Dinner is time spent together to talk to your loved ones and to acknowledge the value of every friend and family member at the table,” says Andy.

Here are some other interesting facts from the M&M Meat Shops dinner survey:

• Quebec is the provincial leader in eating dinner with the family, with 43% of those surveyed saying they eat dinner as a family every night

• In Alberta, an astonishing 11% of respondents say that they never sit down to a family dinner

• 12% of parents don’t know if their kids know how to set a table because they’ve never asked them to

• 40% of those over 55 years of age eat with their family or spouse every night

• Not surprisingly, only 20% of households with kids 18 and older eat dinner together every night; 7% of these households never eat dinner as a family

• Almost three-quarters of kids in Manitoba know how to set the table, as compared to only one-third of kids in Saskatchewan

• 2% of respondents say they don’t sit down to a family dinner because the dinners are too boring; another 2% say it’s because they already spend too much time as a family; and 4% say it’s because their kids don’t want to.

Back to Basics

“Some young families don’t know where to begin with dinner preparation, because they’ve never been shown,” says Andy. “We want those families – and all families in Canada – to know that it’s easier than they think to create simple, delicious, restaurant-quality meals for family and friends.

Over the last decade, National Family Dinner Night has been bringing families together and has been applauded by families, community leaders and dignitaries. This year, the experts at M&M Meat Shops are offering ideas to help

Canadians discover the importance of the family dinner and help put the focus back on families at mealtime:

1) Make a commitment. Start small by participating in National Family Dinner Night. Then determine what your family can realistically manage and once you’re in a dinnertime routine, work to increase the number of meals you share together.

2) Be realistic. Dinner doesn’t have to be a gourmet endeavour every night. If you make mealtime prep too daunting, it won’t happen. M&M Meat Shops offers hundreds of convenient meal ideas for mouth-watering dishes, including gluten free, vegetarian and calorie conscious options, with little or no prep time needed.

3) Plan ahead. Meal planning will help take the guesswork out of putting dinner on the table. With a planned schedule of meals, you won’t find yourself panicked at dinnertime, wondering what you can pull together last-minute.

4) Add new tastes. In the M&M Meat Shops survey, 9% of respondents said they are bored with making dinner. It’s very easy to fall into a rut, but adding a little variety to your mealtime repertoire will make the family dinner more fun and exciting. Check out M&M Meat Shop’s website for meals with great flavour and flair, like Chicken Quesadillas, Pulled Pork and Butter Chicken.

5) Think about time differently. Many people say they don’t have time to make dinner, but M&M Meat Shops has a long list of products that take less time to prepare than waiting in the line-up at the drive thru. For example, family-friendly meals like Meat Loaf Minis, Three-Cheese Pasta Bake, Spaghetti Bolognese and Chicken Fajitas can all be on the table in 20 minutes or less.

6) Just start. In the survey, 6% of respondents said that they don’t cook, but it really is easier than you think. Check out the M&M Meat Shops website for lots of meal ideas divided into key categories such as quick and delicious; hearty and wholesome; and kids’ favourites – no culinary skills required.

7) Be flexible. While it’s great to eat a sit-down dinner at the same time every night, it’s okay to mix things up, if it means the whole family can eat together. Have snacks on hand to give kids energy for after-school activities and to help them bridge the gap to dinnertime, whip up a fruit smoothie with M&M Meat Shops flash frozen fruit or make your meal a finger-food buffet with options like Sweet Potato Fries, Mini Franks in Pastry, and Cod Nuggets.

8) Get kids involved. Having kids help make dinner or even just set the table, makes them more involved in the meal and provides more family bonding time.

Connecting Families for More than 30 Years

A Kitchener-based business, M&M Meat Shops opened its first store in 1980. Over the past 34 years, the chain has grown to more than 400 locations across Canada. M&M Meat Shops offers hundreds of restaurant quality products and meal ideas in one aisle, with products ranging from succulent steaks to delicious desserts, enticing hors d’oeuvres and convenient one-dish meal ideas; now including Gluten Free products. For more information on M&M Meat Shops or for tips on hundreds of meal ideas visit