Dinner Dating Debunked
Many of us can relate to disastrous dating stories, from awkward encounters to food fiascos, but what does it take to turn that first date into more?
We’ve surveyed 2,000 Brits to find out the dos and don’ts of culinary dating, from the foods you should avoid to the biggest food icks and people’s attitudes towards dietary requirements. If you want to secure that second date, keep on reading.
Talking with your mouth full is the biggest food ick in Britain
Culinary dating can be pretty daunting. In a close, intimate setting, everything you do is subject to scrutiny. Our research has uncovered that almost half the UK (49%) think that talking with your mouth full is the biggest ick on a date.
A further 48% say loud slurping is their number one irritation, while a quarter (25%) say their date spilling food down themselves is extremely offputting.
If you’re thinking of sharing food, this is another big red flag, as one in five Brits (19%) get the ick from their date stealing food off their plate or playing with their food (15%).
For 27% of Brits, getting food stuck in facial hair or their teeth is the worst thing their date could do. A further one in five people (20%) get the ick from their date picking up dropped food & then eating it.
Over half of Brits (52%) avoid eating sushi on a date
When deciding what to eat on a date, many Brits avoid messy foods such as spaghetti Bolognese (26%) and fajitas (25%).
Strong-smelling foods are also a no-go, with almost a third of Brits (30%) avoiding any seafood, 25% avoiding garlic bread and 24% avoiding curry.
With 14% of people getting the ick from their date using their hands to pick up food, it’s no surprise that 39% of Brits avoid eating corn on the cob, and 38% wouldn’t order ribs. Chopstick foods are also causing some grief with over half of Brits (52%) avoiding sushi for a first date.
At the other end of the scale, over three-quarters of Brits (78%) would eat a burger on a date, while 84% would opt for pizza. Pasta closely follows at 83%, and steak also ranks highly, with 75% choosing this dish.
Two in five (40%) Brits would not be comfortable eating a meal on a first date
While a romantic meal might sound like the ideal date for some, 40% of Brits think it would be an uncomfortable experience.
Over half of 16–24-year-olds (60%) would not be comfortable eating on a first date, and 6% would never feel comfortable eating in front of their date.
Our research shows that, on average, Brits need to have two dates with someone before they feel comfortable going for a sit-down meal.
For most Brits, different dietary requirements don’t affect their dating opinions
Pescatarians have the most freedom with dating, as only 17% of Brits would be put off by their restricted diet. Similarly, it’s good news for those following a keto diet, as only one in five Brits (20%) are put off by this.
Vegetarians closely follow behind, with 21% of Brits being put off dating someone who doesn’t eat meat or fish. Surprisingly, almost a third of Brits (30%) are not willing to date a vegan. Although plant-based diets have increased in recent years, only 3% of the UK population identify as strictly vegan, equating to roughly 2 million people.
16% of vegetarians say they would not date somebody who is vegan, yet only 12% of vegans would not date a vegetarian.
Half the UK would not change their eating habits for someone
While the majority of Brits (66%) are not put off by their partner’s dietary requirements, if they were asked to change their diet, 50% say they would be unwilling.
While an increased number of Brits (12%) identify as flexitarian (only occasionally eating meat), most Brits (59%) do not follow any specific dietary rules.
Meanwhile, over a quarter of Brits (28%) would not date a fussy eater, with almost one in five people aged 16 to 34 (19%) being critical of this.
43% of Brits would be put off if their date couldn’t cook
When looking for compatible partners, Brits value culinary skills. Just under half the population (43%) would be put off a potential partner if they couldn’t cook.
At the other end of the scale, almost a quarter of Brits (23%) have bought a pre-cooked meal and passed it off as homemade to impress a date. And when cooking for a potential partner, just under half of Brits (44%) are nervous about the outcome.