Staff of the Section for Consumption, Bioethics and Governance – University of Copenhagen

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Eating out in four Nordic countries: national patterns and social stratification

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Using a survey conducted in four Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) in 2012, we investigated whether eating out in cafés and restaurants in these countries is best characterized as a workday pattern activity or a leisure activity; and, whether frequent eating at cafés and restaurants is related to socio-demographic factors and factors relevant to the organization of daily life.We found that eating out is not a fundamental part of everyday eating. It is something which takes place occasionally. This may be taken to suggest that eating out in the Nordic countries is primarily a leisure activity. However, while this is an accurate portrayal of Denmark and Norway, eating out in Finland and Sweden is somewhat more common and linked to work-life. This difference probably reflects contrasting historical-institutional paths: in Finland and Sweden a food culture emphasizing cooked lunches and dedicated public policies supporting the provisioning of lunches outside the home may have promoted eating out.Multivariate analysis revealed that eating out declines with age. An urbanization effect exists, as residence in a capital city increases the propensity to eat out. There were socio-economic differences in all countries. We hypothesized that education and status would not significantly explain eating out activity after people's gastronomic interest had been controlled for. However, education was statistically significant in Sweden and Norway, and surprisingly status was negatively associated with eating out in Sweden. As expected, eating out was positively associated with income, and it was more frequent among the higher salariat and the self-employed (although not in Norway).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Cross-country comparison, Eating out, Nordic countries, Questionnaire study, Social stratification, Status

ID: 180942611