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If the sight of yet another cheese sandwich for lunch makes you want to scream – fear not, you are not alone. New research from food manufacturer Bakkavor has revealed that 20.6 million Brits are on the hunt for something better for lunch, spurred on by a wave of cooking during the last 18 months.
Tracking consumer sentiment for every month for the past two years, Bakkavor research reveals a significant drop in people’s enjoyment of their lunch over the past six months, matched by an increase in the proportion of people looking for new ideas for lunch (39%, +4% since July 21), and tastier options (34%, +4%)
Health – as well as taste – is front of mind, the results showed. The sedimentary nature of lockdowns – 40% of us have gained on average half a stone – has led many to focus on eating and drinking healthier in the next three months. Nationally, 59% of adults have made resolutions to eat healthier food compared with three months ago, while 28% vowed to eat higher quality food and drink.
Nationwide, over half (48%) of people said they were cooking more now than they did before the pandemic since restrictions have been lifted, with 59 per cent looking for new and interesting ideas to give them inspiration.
Friday is the day to explore
With the majority of British workers continuing to work either exclusively or partly from home, the research found that a quarter (27%) of people working from home spent more than an hour on lunch in the week. Among people under 35, this rose to 43% – three times higher than people aged over 55 (14%).
Two-thirds (69%) of adults working from home shared at least one-weekday lunchtime with someone else, with the most common day spent together being Fridays.
More than just an unsatisfying lunch
With the fridge for homeworkers being stocked not just for themselves but for the whole household, the research found that a fifth (21 per cent) said they were putting up with food that they didn’t really like. Dietary requirements (20%), food fads (10 per cent) and weight-loss diets (14 per cent) among other members of the household were cited as common reasons for not enjoying the same food.
Beyond the mere frustration of this, the research highlighted that one in six (16%) voiced concerns about the amount of food waste as a result.
Mike Edwards, UK chief operating officer at Bakkavor, which commissioned the research, commented: ‘Lunch should be the moment in people’s day that they look forward to. A chance to ‘down tools’ and enjoy something to eat that is healthy, tasty and fresh. Working remotely has meant big changes when it comes to lunch, but what these results suggest is that as the new working practices continue people are becoming increasingly bored with the same old options and are looking for something new. What is a concern is that good food is then needlessly wasted.
‘In the UK, most people will have nearly 30,000 lunches in their lifetime. This doesn’t mean 30,000 cheese sandwiches, but rather 30,000 opportunities to try something different, new and tasty. Over the past year, Bakkavor has launched over 40 new lunch options, adapting to the new demands of the past 18 months. We will continue to develop new ideas to meet the growing need for fresh ideas.’