Office workers eating the same lunch on repeat

Millions of office workers are eating the same lunch every single day, a study commissioned by New Covent Garden Soup has found.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 18th February 2017, 10:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 12:11 pm
79% of people say they are bored by their lunch choices.
79% of people say they are bored by their lunch choices.

Researchers found that a lack of inspiration, convenience and cost means millions of workers are tucking into the same sandwich, soup or salad on repeat, and have been doing so for the last nine months.

Two thirds (66.4%) admit they feel they have had eaten identical meals for as long as they can remember.

And our affair with uninspiring lunches isn’t being helped by the fact that during the working week, Scots take a lunch break just three out of the five working days – and even then, they last an average of 34 minutes, with more than two thirds of all workers eating their lunch at their desk.

The research revealed that one in five admitted they’ve had the same lunch for at least two years now. As a result, a staggering 79 per cent of people are ‘bored’ by their lunch choices and a quarter of people even said others have noticed and commented on their ‘boring’ lunches. It seems we know what we’re doing too, with six in ten admitting they could be more creative with their lunches.

One respondent has had the same box of chopped vegetables, tuna and a boiled egg every day for the last two years, while another admitted to eating a work lunch consisting of a ham sandwich, with a piece of fruit, every day since they started work – 20 years ago.

And it’s the humble ham sandwich which tops the list of most common repeat lunches, followed by cheese and chicken sandwiches, baguettes and a salad. Egg sandwiches, pasta and jacket potatoes are also among the lunchtime staples.

Food psychologist Dr Becky Spelman commented on the findings: “People tend to be much more willing to experiment with their main meal of the day. Breakfast and lunch are often meals that bring out our inner conservative. Eating the same thing every day means we risk not getting a wide enough array of nutrients, as well as simply being very monotonous.”

The reasons for this lunch time malaise are clear: 78 per cent of people say they have the same meals time and time again because it’s easier, while another 45 per cent think it works out cheaper or more cost effective than mixing it up. Others put the same lunches down it being habit (35%), healthy (20%) or simply having no idea what else to have (20%).

Dr Spelman commented further: “Most of us wouldn’t want to always go on holidays to the same place, so why keep eating the same meal, day after day? Making small changes, such as trying something new for our lunch time meal, can – in a small way – help to open our mind to new experiences in other areas of life too! For example, some people limit their foreign travel to countries where they know they’ll find familiar foods. The world actually becomes a bigger, more exciting, place when we are more open to a wide variety of flavours.”

“Even with little time or facilities, lunch doesn’t need to be a plain sandwich brought in from home and a little bit of creativity can help you to revive your lunch-life and find something which is convenient, varied, and healthy. New Covent Garden Soup offer a wide range of delicious and exciting soups as great lunch options.”

Visit for more information on the range or follow New Covent Garden Soup on Twitter @NewCoventGarden, on Facebook @NCGSoup and on Instagram at @NCG_soup.

Top five most common repeat lunches:

1. Ham sandwich

2. Cheese sandwich

3. Chicken sandwich

4. Salad

5. Baguette.

Top five reasons for having the same lunch:

1. It’s easy

2. It’s cheap/cost effective

3. It’s just habit

4. It’s healthy

5. I don’t know what else to have.