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Millennials leading the snacking revolution


Research released today shows a staggering 86% of millennials snack during the working day, in comparison to 60% of baby boomers.

Research released today shows a staggering 86% of millennials snack during the working day, in comparison to 60% of baby boomers. The research released by the UK’s largest food services company, Compass Group UK & Ireland, carried out by Kantar TNS, highlights how generational purchasing habits and the decreasing lunch break is contributing to the significant growth of the “grab and go” market now worth a staggering £20.1bn*.



Other key findings include:

• The British lunch time is continuing to shrink, with workers now taking an average of 34mins** for lunch, against the European average of 37 minutes.

• The UK has seen a 29% increase in lunch spend during the working day since 2012, with consumers now spending £3.03 each a day. This is 78% of the overall working day spend on food and drink.

• The favoured lunchtime choice remains the sandwich chosen by 63% of UK workers, with a further 28% having hot sandwiches or wraps.

Currently 52% of office-based workers eat alone at their desks. However, 45% of millennials say they wish to meet with colleagues more often over lunch in comparison to 23% of baby boomers.

The results showed 48% of workers reported that they worked better when leaving their workspace and 60% said engaging with colleagues over break periods boosted their energy levels. Additionally, 56% said engaging with work colleagues over their lunch break helped build a stronger team at work.

When looking at the main drivers behind people’s lunch purchasing decisions, it is taste (46%), price (43%), value for money (42%) and healthy options (23%) that lead the way. As the requirement for convenience food grows, it is important healthy options are made available to support the health and wellbeing of the UK workforce.

Louise Pilkington, Marketing Director at Compass Group UK and Ireland said:
“The grab and go market is showing no signs of slowing, having reached a staggering £20.1bn and continuing to grow at over 5% a year. This reflects our research findings that more and more people are seeking portable food to fit in with their working day, as workers feel more time limited over the lunch time break. This trend only looks set to continue as the millennials spend more on grab and go food than any other generation.

 “However, we feel employers should be aware of the risks of employees eating at their desks and help them to reclaim their lunch break. With over 50% of workers still eating at their desks, our research shows that employees feel this significantly impacts upon productivity. Ultimately, employees are more productive when they have opportunities to eat together, interact, think and recharge. Lunch is a really valuable part of the day, both to encourage greater motivation and engagement. Therefore, employers should do more to encourage better lunch time eating habits through the provision of break out space and facilitating a more collaborative culture over lunch time.

“Additionally, another simple fix that would boost creativity and also overcome the common issue of limited meeting space is, where it exists, better utilising the workplace food offer area. More can be done to encourage employees to use his space outside the core lunchtime hours, further encouraging collaboration and engagement.”


Notes to editors:

For any enquiries relating to Compass Group UK & Ireland, contact the Communications Team on 01895 554 999 or email uk.communications@compass-group.co.uk

*Source of Grab and Go – £20bn.1 figure – MCA Insight’s Spring report 2016:  "Value of Food To Go market”

Research shows the 'grab and go' sector is booming with sandwiches being the No.1 choice