Last week, when launched The Eatery. The Next Web said “The Eatery’s ‘Fit or Fat’ is as addictive as ‘Hot or Not’. AND you’ll get healthy.” They were right. Within a week of launch, people had rated others’ meals over 1,000,000 times. With all these ratings, people who use The Eatery are reporting learning new things about their eating habits.  Someone who thought that a smoothie was a healthy post-lunch snack discovered that it was, in fact, a sugar bomb. He rated it fit, everyone else rated it fat. That caused him to do some reading and change his habits.

After 48 hours, with 200,000 ratings in the system, we were able to do some initial analysis, and found that in SF and NYC, people tend to eat healthy where they live, and poorly at work. Now that we’ve crossed a million uses of Fit or Fat, we can dig in a bit further.
In SF, we can now see the difference in eating patterns for morning, afternoon, and evening meals. Morning is generally the most healthy, the afternoon the worst, and evening meals tending to fall in between. Interestingly, the patterns here seem to be consistent across the world. From Japan, to the Germany, to the US.

Infographicy goodness time. We’ve got SF eating patterns broken out by meals, and a 16-second timelapse video of 24-hours of eating across US and Europe.

Here are some of our quick take-aways:

  • Willpower to eat healthy seems to degrade during the day. People start off eating well at breakfast, and being losing self-control at lunch and in the afternoon.  
  • It isn’t until people get home after work that we start to see them eating healthier again. Dinner, on average though, never regains the healthiness of breakfast. It takes the entire night for those trends to complete re-set.
  • In San Francisco, the pockets of unhealthy eating seem to be clustered in the financial district (stressed business lunches?) then spreading deeper into the more residential Mission and Hayes valley area at dinner.
  • In Europe, people in the United Kingdom seem to stray the most, starting off eating healthy but solidly in the unhealthy zone by the end of the day. It seems Oxford’s prediction that the UK will 70-80% overweight by 2020 may well be right.
  • The gourmands in Spain seem to all be eating healthy, almost all the time.  There’s barely a red mark on their food-focused country. We don’t have a lot of data in Spain, so we’ll see if this trend continues.

It’s worth remembering that these ratings aren’t culturally-specific.  Ratings are spread across everyone using The Eatery, and not just performed by people nearby.  For example, people in the UK are just as likely to have their food rated by people playing Fit or Fat all the way in Los Angeles as they are by someone down the street. There’s also invariably an early adopter bias; we are more likely to see more meals overall in SF than Wichita, which means we’ll see more unhealthy meals in SF as well.

This is a quick glance at what is turning out to be a fascinating data set.  Please, keep the feedback coming in. And continue to connect with us through twitter and facebook. We’re always looking to hire smart, passionate people, so let us know if you’re interested.