Mondays can be manic, but a new study finds that it also might be the healthiest day of the week. According to digital order and delivery service Caviar, 52 percent of deliveries made at the start of the workweek are healthy. That figure slowly decreases as the week progresses, dropping significantly Friday and finally hitting its lowest point on Saturday when only 40 percent of orders considered “healthy.”
“According to our data, customers are more likely to increase their unhealthy item orders as the week goes on,” says Catherine Ferdon, a spokeswoman for Caviar’s parent company Square. “We don't know what specifically causes this behavior, but we do have a few hypotheses. As you can imagine, people may be letting loose by the time the weekend rolls around, celebrating the end of a long work week with some more indulgent foods than they might choose earlier in the week."
The trend is especially apparent in an animated GIF, which Caviar created in house. As Monday moves to Saturday, the unhealthy side of the pie chart gains more ground. It tapers slightly on Sunday before retreating back to 48 percent on Monday.
Caviar indexed 100 healthy and 100 unhealthy terms to categorize different menu items. Foods like pizza, burritos, hot dogs, and burgers were automatically labeled as unhealthy, just as salads and soups fell into the healthy category. As Ferdon points out, other foods could not be qualified as either healthy or unhealthy. For example, sandwiches could be healthy (e.g. a vegetable-hummus sandwich) or unhealthy (a cheese-smothered meatball sub) depending on the filling. Similarly, the word “strawberry” could not be indexed because dishes like strawberries and yogurt would be healthy, but strawberry shortcake would not.
“We tried to keep it to the most popular, general ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ terms, which means that some of the food we deliver don’t fall into either category here,” Ferdon says. “In general of those that do, it’s just showing that clear trend between healthy and unhealthy falling off by the end of the week.”
And while Caviar isn’t drawing any firm conclusions from the raw data, the numbers might mirror another trend: New Year’s resolutions. Just as more than half of Caviar users begin the workweek with a renewed commitment to healthy choices, so too do many New Year’s resolutions begin strong before tapering off.
Caviar will share this data with its restaurant partners as such data could help operators decide when to promote its healthier menu options (Monday and Tuesday) and its more indulgent foods (Saturday and Sunday).
“It gives people a better understanding of what people around them might be ordering, especially if they’re feeling that maybe they shouldn’t be ordering that extra slice of pizza. At least they know that many people are feeling the same way toward the end of the week,” Ferdon says.
By Nicole Duncan