Employees are costing the British economy £17b a year in lost productivity by skipping breakfast and lunch, a new report claims.
A survey of more than 1,000 office workers conducted by pollsters Ipsos Mori for contract caterer BaxterStorey found lost productivity from workers skipping breakfast, lunch or both is costing £16.85b a year. This is the equivalent of almost 97 million lost working days.
The survey also found more than a third of office workers either never have breakfast or have it just once to three times a week. Only 63% of workers have breakfast five times a week.
More than three-quarters (78%) of those surveyed are regular snackers with more than half snaking on crisps (20%) or biscuits (27%) to keep hunger pangs at bay.
Independent nutritionist Mark Barker said too many people were getting the majority of their energy intake after work and then sleeping on it, which is not ideal for good work performance.
"People who eat breakfast are also more physically energetic and have beet co-ordination. Research tells us that scores on memory tests were about 15% lower in people who skipped breakfast," he said. "And those who skip it tend to eat sugary, fatty foods later in the day, reducing their productivity."
Alastair Storey, chief executive of BaxterStorey said: "It is clear that the UK's workers need a far greater understanding of the importance diet plays in their productivity."
Mori based its figures on lost productivity on Office for National Statistics and the Centre for Economic and business research data. These figures ascribe a value of £174.26 per day to the average worker in the UK. The total number of office workers is 14.9 million, according to YouGov.
By Chris Druce
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