If you’ve been eating a takeaway in a hurry, you might want to get on your phone.
The latest research shows that many consumers have no idea that there are alternatives to takeaway.
Dr Sarah O’Brien and Dr Mark Ewart of the Australian National University have analysed the behaviour of 1,500 Australians.
The research showed that a majority of respondents were unaware that a number of alternative options existed and a majority thought they could eat a takeaway at home.
The survey also found that consumers are often surprised by the amount of time they spend eating in restaurants.
The researchers found that when asked to pick between a meal at a restaurant and a meal on the go, only about 40 per cent of consumers were able to select the meal on a go.
Dr O’Boyle said the findings suggested people could potentially be eating an extra meal in a restaurant that they could not eat at home, but were not aware of it.
She said this was because of the way restaurants have been set up.
Dr Ewart said there were other factors that could influence how consumers choose to eat their meals.
For example, there was a preference for smaller portions or fewer foods, which is less common in restaurants, he said.
“It’s really a question of people getting into the habit of eating a few things that they may have not thought about before.”
Dr O’s research has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The University of Queensland’s Dr O O’Malley said the research was a significant step towards making a dent in the “hidden food” debate.
“I think it really helps us to make an informed decision,” she said.
She added that if people are aware of alternative choices, they might be less likely to put off eating.
Dr Andrew McLean from the Australian Food and Nutrition Survey said that the survey showed people were generally unaware of the health benefits of alternatives to traditional food.
He said consumers might not think they could make the most of the meal, but if they ate a meal in advance, they would have more control over the outcome.
The National Association of People with Disabilities said it would continue to work with the government and other stakeholders to promote healthy eating.
The association said that if a person had a health condition that made them uncomfortable eating, it was important to discuss the issue with a health practitioner before taking a meal out.
It said people should eat their meal “within a reasonable time” and not go for an “extended or expensive” meal.