The pressures of work mean staff only take an average of 28 minutes for lunch, according to a survey by Compass Group business and industry division Eurest.
The Eurest Lunchtime Report 2006, which spoke to 2,000 people, found that one in five workers never takes a break or eats at their desk. The main reason given is that they are too busy (44%).
More men (two-thirds) than women (half) take a lunch-break every day.
The figure of 28 minutes is virtually unchanged from the average of 27 minutes in 2004.
Among the employees who eat lunch, the staff restaurant (16%) is the most popular venue, followed by local sandwich shops and cafés (13%). Half of the workers questioned had no staff canteen.
The study also found that average lunchtime spend is down to £1.94 from £2.02, although there is increased awareness among staff of healthy food, with seven out of ten workers saying they are more concerned about healthy eating than two years ago.
Food writer Prue Leith said: "Our long hours culture continues to leave workers little time to relax over a meal or build exercise into their day."
But she was encouraged by the healthy eating trend. "Over the past two years we've seen a real step change in workers' attitudes to diet," she said.
By Tom Bill