By SWNS Staff


Half of foodie-loving Americans believe a first date should always involve a meal — but won’t risk eating messy foods until the fourth date.

A study of 3,000 US adults found 40% look for someone who is passionate about cuisine as a potential partner, while 38% admitted they’re put off by fussy eaters. More than four in 10 (43%) even said being a good cook is a turn-on when it comes to finding a suitor.

The research also revealed the most popular ways of involving cuisine on a date — dining out (43%), having takeout (31%) and going to food festivals (31%). Meals deemed to be date-safe by Americans include pizza (24%), burgers (21%) and salad (21%).

Meanwhile, the dishes most likely to be avoided on a first date include oysters (19%), mussels (18%) and sushi (17%).

Desserts such as chocolate brownies (16%) and apple pies (15%) are also considered to be risk-free.

Commissioned by French bakery experts St Pierre and conducted by OnePoll, the study found it typically takes four dates before those polled are comfortable enough to eat a risky meal in front of a prospective partner. 

It seems the biggest foodies are based in ​the Southeastern states, with 56% feeling passionate about a first date always including food, while 55% of residents there said knowing someone is a good cook is a turn-on — more than any other region. 

It also emerged 83% have gone on a breakfast or brunch date at one time or another — with a quarter revealing this to be their preferred time to dine out on a date.

Forty-five percent think going for brunch helps keep the atmosphere relaxed, and 28% believe it’s more romantic than any other meal.

​Adults in the West (38%), Midwest (33%) and Northeast (34%) are most likely to opt for a brunch date over any other mealtime. 

And should love blossom, the ideal meal for meeting the in-laws for the first time is salad (25%), while having a burger is the go-to for the first meal in a new home (28%).

For a marriage proposal, the meal of choice is steak (27%) — although this is also the most popular dish to have when breaking up with someone (23%).

​Those in the Northeast are most likely to order a salad on a first date, while the go-to meal for residents of the Northwest region is a steak and those in the West would go for burgers or pizza.  

“The research proves just how important food is to our love life — whether it’s starting out in a new relationship or other events later in life,” says St Pierre Bakery founder, Paul Baker. “Food gives people something to talk about on a date, to try different dishes and discuss their culinary preferences — which can clearly be the ‘make or break’ factor when it comes to a potential partner. Breakfast and brunch as an occasion to catch up with friends, dates and family has grown in popularity over the years and some would even prefer this over a more formal evening meal. 

The study also found it takes six weeks of dating someone before it’s seen as ‘acceptable’ to steal food off their plate.

Thirteen percent said they would be annoyed if someone tried this on a first meeting. Yet 17% admitted they would be impressed by such an audacious move.

Two in five (43%) wouldn’t say anything if someone they’d just started dating served a meal that they didn’t like. In fact, it typically takes around six weeks before US adults will be honest with someone about their cooking.

The study also found 41% have judged a date by the food they ordered when dining out and 45% form their opinions based on how a suitor eats — chewing loudly and eating messily.

Just as many (41%) revealed they would judge a date if they asked for a ‘doggy bag’ to take home any leftovers. 

“The stats also showed that virtual food-based dates have been popular during lockdown,” continues Baker. “More than half have kept dating fun by cooking together via video calls and more than half have eaten together this way too. Great food is a joy to be shared. It’s about making memories, which is why it’s so important in key life events. St Pierre is all about elevating the everyday, so whatever the occasion, you can make it a meal to remember”.


  1. Oysters
  2. Mussels
  3. Sushi
  4. Crab
  5. Lobster
  6. Curry
  7. Tuna steak
  8. Prawns
  9. Ribs
  10. Corn on the cob



  1. Pizza
  2. Burgers
  3. Salad
  4. Steak
  5. Ice cream
  6. Roast dinner
  7. Lasagna
  8. Chicken wings
  9. Stir Fry
  10. Chocolate brownie


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