The Caterer

Hour-long lunch break consigned to history, claims new research

14 January 2009
Hour-long lunch break consigned to history, claims new research

The hour-long lunch break is history, according to new research from contract caterer Compass Group.

The biennial Eurest Services Eating at Work report, which was first published in 1990, shows the culture of eating at your desk in the UK is now firmly ingrained.

The field research was conducted by RSGB Omnibus (Research Services of Great Britain) a division of TNS, as part of a nationwide survey of 2,000 adults.

The research found that on average workers take just 3.3 lunch breaks per week, with women taking less than three. In 2005 the average was 3.5 a week.

Worse, one in 14 workers surveyed are not stopping for lunch at all, preferring to eat at their desk. More than three-quarters (76%) of workers admit to grazing throughout the day.

Eurest Services said its latest report showed that the volume of food consumed hadn't changed but rather the manner in which its eaten had. Typically as workloads and stress levels increase, UK workers are taking a short, middle-of-the-day pit stop and are more likely to graze throughout the day than take an hour-long lunch break.

Nick Vadis, executive chef at Eurest Services, said: "Hectic lifestyles and long working hours mean that long lunch breaks are off the menu in 2008, as workers opt for quick grab foods and eat at their desks."

Diners are eating out less, but spending more >>

Contract catering predictions for 2009 >>

Stapleton to leave Compass after nearly a decade >>

Compass creates one-stop-shop in Eurest Services >>

By Chris Druce

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