Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

What do you like to eat? Ireland’s favourite dinners revealed

Ireland's most popular dinners include pasta

Bord Bia has released the results of a study into evening dinners across Ireland. The study was carried out in partnership with Red C Research which aimed to better understand what goes on at the dinner table.

The comprehensive study surveyed over 1000 Irish consumers who charted their meals over a set period of time. A sample of 5,925 adult and 1,841 child evening meals were collected over seven days. That’s a lot of food!

It probably comes as no surprise that the traditional dinner consisting of some form of meat with two different types of vegetables was the most popular for adults, with chicken dishes and sauce-based pasta finishing in second and third.

Fish is often included in Friday dinners

The consumption of fish on Fridays rose from 7% to 11% demonstrating that it’s still a popular meal choice and dairy is a key part of the evening meal with 17% of all meals containing cheese.

Pasta dishes like spaghetti Bolognese were the number one type of meals eaten by children, but potatoes still remain at the heart of evening meals at 28% (particularly in the over-45s category).

In good news, Irish people now eat significantly fewer desserts and wine than they did in 2011! It’s noted that health and wellness considerations are driving Irish consumers’ behaviour with more than 80% of people placing importance on a balanced diet.

Adults cited that they were aware of what they ate and its impact on both physical and mental wellness. This awareness, in turn, impacted their evening meal choices.

“When it comes to evening meals, this comprehensive study captures a clear intent to make healthy and socially responsible food choices and people believe they are regularly doing so,” said Bord Bia’s consumer insight specialist, Grace Binchy.

‘However, as a growing ‘time poor’ nation, life gets in the way. There is a tendency for people to remember the choices they make as being better than they were and their original intention is not always reflected in their actions.

‘As our lives grow increasingly busier, the study captures a move away from the traditional evening meal as we know it,’ said Ms Binchy.

‘With nearly half of adults claiming to enjoy cooking, but only when there is enough time available to do so, convenience emerged as an extremely important consideration when choosing what to eat in the evening.’

Top 10 adult dinners

1. Meat and two vegetables
2. Chicken dish (for example roast chicken)
3. Pasta with sauce (for example spaghetti bolognese)
4. Italian foods (for example pizza or lasagne)
5. Diner style favourites (for example burger or steak and chips)
6. Fish dish (for example fish bake or fish and chips)
7. Light meal (for example toasted sandwich or beans on toast)
8. Chinese / Oriental meal
9. Stew or casserole
10. Indian dish (for example chicken tikka masala, korma, curry)

Top 10 children’s dinners

1. Pasta with sauce
2. Chicken dish
3. Meat and two vegetables
4. Italian foods
5. Diner-style favourites
6. Stew or casserole
7. Fish dish
8. Chinese / Oriental meal
9. Indian dish
10. Light meal

Find more studies about Irish Food and Drink here.


I'm a freelance content creator, author, and journalist who has a strong desire to share interesting content about Irish people and things about Ireland at home and abroad. I am constantly curious.

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3 thoughts on “What do you like to eat? Ireland’s favourite dinners revealed”
  1. My son and I are veggie, and definitely in the potato eating camp. If not potatoes than it has to be pasta. I do the funniest spaghetti carbonara, with fried dulse taking the place of the bacon. Tastes great and I get compliments, but you should see the looks when people find out what the bacon substitute is!

    1. Oh wow! That fried dulse sounds absolutely amazing. Seaweed is such a brilliant resource in Ireland. I love the sound of it! I can only imagine their reaction.

  2. It’s something I binge buy when I am in Ireland and eke out between visits. My son and I are planning on coming back to Ireland this July to stay. We would have been there already, but it’s a case of scraping together our pennies for the great escape. We’re not sure what was the final straw – Brexit or the utter lack of dulse. But the utter lack of dulse (and soda bread) are very high on the list.

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