Dashboard dining drives sales With 28 million cars on the road by 2000, it is not surprising there has been a noticeable increase in eating on the go. The potential market for dashboard dining is growing in line with the growth in the use of cars. In some respects however, the increase in cars, and thus traffic congestion, has had a negative impact on the market, reducing impulse buying. Drivers might spend more time in cars but won't impulse purchase unless they stop for fuel. Those benefiting from the dashboard market include the walk-in motorway service areas and impulse purchasing at petrol forecourts, owned by or affiliated with grocers and oil companies. Crisps and carbonated drinks are the most popular food and drink eaten in the car, followed closely by chocolate bars, sandwiches, small-pack juices and bottled water. Among consumers, more women are more inclined towards dashboard dining than men. Older diners prefer cold food. Younger consumers prefer more hot meals. Around a third of respondents prefer to eat before they start their journey, with a further 18% choosing to eat at the end. One in four prefer to bring snacks from home, and slightly fewer eat at a roadside restaurant, with a lower response rate for those with younger children. With the necessity of having a drink in the car, resealable options continue to be the most useful to the dashboard diner and suppliers, especially sports cap bottles. Top 10 in car' food and drink Base: 934 adults aged 17+ % Crisps 44 Sweets 43 Chocolate bars 36 Sandwich 34 Fruit 23 Carbonated drink 26 Juice drink 24 Bottled water 20 Hot fast food 19 Biscuits 14 Source: BMRB/Mintel {{MARKETING - P&P }}