Groundhog Day: Millions of workers have the same lunch every day…
In a country that spends £7.5bn on sandwiches each year, the humble cheese sarnie emerged as the most popular workday lunch in Britain.
A new study commissioned by Lurpak into the lunchtime eating habits of 2,000 office workers found three in ten tuck into EXACTLY the same thing for lunch each work day without fail, with the classic cheese sandwich the most popular choice.
The results showed 77 per cent of workers in Birmingham eat an identical lunch each day with 34 per cent doing so for an average of four and a half years. This is an equivalent of eating over 1,000 identical cheese sandwiches without mixing up the menu.
Perhaps that’s why a quarter of workers have had co-workers make comments about how repetitive their lunch is or have been asked why they never mix up the routine.
The study found 1.00pm to be the most common time for people in Birmingham to start their lunch, with ham sandwiches, chicken sandwiches and salad among the top five most common choices.
Over a quarter of workers in Birmingham admitted to being creatures of habit and eating the same lunch everyday for a period of seven to 12 continuous months. Although 59 per cent of those polled felt fed up or bored by their lunch choices, the biggest reasons to stick to the same lunch each day were ‘it’s convenient’ and ‘it’s my routine’.
Yesterday food psychologist, Greg Tucker, who worked with Lurpak to launch its new ‘go freestyle’ campaign, said:
“This research demonstrates that the repetition of eating the same food every day can provide reassurance and stability. However we all have an innate desire for exploration and would benefit from shaking things up.
“New tastes and experiences can excite and motivate us, especially when we have a far greater selection of foods to experiment with than we’ve ever had before. After all, classic sandwich fillings like cheese, ham and chicken can now be enjoyed in so many different ways.
“It can be a positive move to recombine, reimagine and reinvent our meals. It isn’t always necessary to introduce new foods – you can go freestyle by using a new combination of well-known ingredients to refresh and reinvigorate your palate.”
But despite the humdrum fare, over half of Birmingham office workers say that lunch is usually the highlight of their working day.
The study also revealed that:
- On average, Birmingham office workers start thinking about lunch by around 10am and spend between £5-£10 per week on their lunches.
- Some traditional sandwich fillings are dying out – six in ten Brits hadn’t eaten a jam, marmalade or banana sandwich in well over a year.
- Brown bread is the favourite choice for workers in Birmingham making a sandwich.
- More than half of those polled will add crisps to their sandwich occasionally, with cheese and onion the most likely to be thrown in.
- Nearly half of those polled in Birmingham will Instagram their culinary creations if proud of their work.
Thryth Jarvis, Senior Brand Manager at Arla Foods, said: “Lunchtime should be something we look forward to, yet this research shows that the traditional lunch hour may be a thing of the past with Brits taking just 35 minutes on average for their break.
“So many of us are in a rut and don’t have the energy, time or confidence to try something new. But re-evaluating those lunchtime choices and being more adventurous needn’t be hard work or time consuming.
“That’s why we’re encouraging food lovers to ‘go freestyle’ and have some fun with their favourite foods! Try a pulled chicken waffle burger or peach and ricotta on raisin bread. No recipe, no plan, no carefully measured ingredients. That’s freestyle.”
BRITAIN’S MOST COMMON LUNCHES
- Cheese sandwich
- Ham sandwich
- Chicken sandwich
- Other sandwich
- Tomato soup
- Vegetable soup
- Microwave meal
- Jacket potato and tuna
- Prawn sandwich
- Noodles/ stir-fry
- Jacket potato and other
- Beans on toast
- Jacket potato and chilli
TOP NEW WAYS TO ‘GO FREESTYLE’ WITH LURPAK
- Feta with avocado and roasted red pepper
- Smoked ham and egg, with capers, gherkins and mustard mayo
- Chicken and mango with mint raita
- Fig, manchego and honey crostini
- Peach and ricotta on raisin bread
- Middle Eastern feta, beetroot and pomegranate
- Pulled chicken waffle burger
- Prawns with broad beans and mint on Rye
- Bacon, Ricotta, Kale, Chilli, Lemon and Tomato on sourdough (BLRKCT)
OVER 1,000 CHEESE SANDWICHES
52 weeks x 5 work days a week
– 21 days annual leave
– 8 Bank holidays
= 231 sandwiches a year
x 4.68 years = 1081 cheese sandwiches
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