• Spain's news in English
Could technology be killing off Spain's sociable mealtimes?
Eight out of ten Spaniards are attached to their phones at mealtimes. Photo: Kevin McShane/Flickr

Could technology be killing off Spain's sociable mealtimes?

The Local · 29 Feb 2016, 14:58

Published: 29 Feb 2016 14:58 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The cliché of a Spanish mealtime - chatting over a long lunch or a dinner lasting well into the small hours - could soon be a thing of the past, as Spaniards’ eating habits are becoming increasingly affected by technology.

Spaniards now eat in a "hyperconnected" environment, eating more quickly and in a more solitary environment according to a new study called How Spaniards Eat by a team at the University of Zaragoza who questioned 1,500 Spaniards on their eating habits. 

"In the study we observed that technology is more and more present in or meal times," the report’s author, Elena Espeitx, told news agency Efe.

The study revealed that eight out of ten Spaniards are attached to their mobile phones while they eat; 60 percent of which keep the telephone on the table.

The television seems to be an almost permanent backdrop to many Spanish mealtimes - 50 percent of Spaniards eat lunch in front of the TV, while 90 percent admitted to eating dinner in front of the box.

The study also refuted the common image of Spaniards taking long lunches of up to two hours: 25 percent of Spaniards "spend 15 minutes or less eating during the week". And the figure is even higher among younger Spaniards with 50 percent of 18-24 year-olds eating in under 15 minutes.

Work is the main reason Spaniards gave for their short mealtimes, confirmed Espeitx, with six out of ten people surveyed claiming that work commitments were the biggest reason they cut short mealtimes.

In big Spanish cities like Madrid and Barcelona, 40 percent of Spaniards admitted to eating alone.

Story continues below…

"We are losing the social component, at least on weekdays," said Espeitx.

"What’s interesting is that 88 percent of people agree that they dedicate more time to their food if they are in company and 67 percent feel very happy when they share a table with people they love, in other words they highly value this social dimension," she added. 

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available