New research suggests consumption behaviors in the U.S. have become more individualized and less family-oriented.

The study suggests over 50 percent of eating and drinking occur when consumers are alone, the NPD Group reported. A contributing factor to this is 27 percent of households now consist of only one person, which is the highest rate ever seen in U.S. history.

"Our annual report, 'Eating Patterns in America,' is the only source of more than three decades of trended information that provides in-depth insight into actual consumption behavior - and, more importantly, how it is changing," the NPD group reported on their website.

The research team found consumers are alone at breakfast about 60 percent of the time. This is usually driven by factors such as time constraints and being away from home during breakfast time. Fifty-five percent of lunchtime meals are eaten alone; most consumers are away from home during that time. Between meal occasions, such as snacking are generally eaten on the go and solo.

Dinner is the least likely meal to be eaten alone. Dinner meals are eaten more often in the company of friends or family than any other meal. The research revealed only 32 percent of dinner meals are solo dining occasions. This meal is most often focused on being family or socially-oriented. About half of families eat dinner together at least five times per week.

"The number of solo eating and beverage occasions have wide-ranging implications for food and beverage marketers in terms of new products, packaging, and positioning," said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. "As lifestyles shift it's key for marketers to profile and segment occasions when their product is consumed in various ways, including solo versus social occasions, in order to connect most effectively with consumers."

The NPD Group provides global information to help businesses better market to their consumers.