This paper focuses on the Irish convenience food consumer and investigates four convenience food categories: ready meals, takeaway meals, restaurant meals, and pub meals. A nationally representative (n=1024) survey was undertaken in Ireland amongst primary food purchasers in the household. Within each convenience food category, consumers were segmented into tertiles based on their level of consumption. The tertile with the highest consumption level of convenience foods was compared with the tertile with the lowest consumption level on their food-related lifestyles, convenience food-related lifestyles and their beliefs about convenience food. Analysis of data found that the consumption of ready meals and take-away meals was most associated with convenience related dimensions. Restaurant and pub meals seem to be less related to the convenience dimensions. The purchase of restaurant meals was strongly related to social event. Furthermore the effect of lifestyles and beliefs on the purchase of convenience food was examined. Comparison of the regression results across the four convenience food categories highlighted the importance of convenience food-related lifestyle issues in the purchase of ready meals. General food-related lifestyle issues were more important in the purchase of take-away meals. The consumption of restaurant and pub meals was least effected by convenience related dimensions and more by the importance of social events. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.