Growing numbers of time-pressed office workers are resorting to eating meals
at their desks amid pressure from employers and peers not to step away from
work to take a break to eat, according to the findings of a new study by

The study of 2,000* workers found that more than one third now eats at least
one meal at their desk each day, while one in six tucks into two meals a

Women favoured eating breakfast at work, over their male colleagues, with
one in three saying they regularly ate at their desk compared to one in five

One in 10 of those surveyed said their employer expected them to be at their
desk at all times – even when eating. One in five said they would draw
attention to themselves if they popped out to eat and one in 30 claimed they
even risked getting the sack if they didn’t eat at their desk.

The growing phenomenon of eating in the workplace – dubbed ‘deskfest-ing’ by
researchers – means that more than one in four workers now regularly eats
breakfast at their desk, six out of 10 lunch there, and one in 20 even sits
down to an evening meal surrounded by their work.

The study also showed how work time diets have become increasingly based
around small meals supplemented by regular snacks. Of most concern,
researchers found that the average worker had two snacks a day – most
frequently chocolate, crisps or biscuits – in between regular meals, with
more than a third of those quizzed for the study admitting their diet was

More than half expressed concerns about the effect their enforced workplace
eating habits might be having on their long-term health, while one in three
said they recognised the need to make urgent changes to their diet.

“Our study shows that time-pressed workers now often have no choice but to
eat many of their meals at their desks,” said Alpro dietitian, Kate Arthur.
“While we accept that sitting down to eat in the workplace is becoming a
regular occasion for an increasing number of workers, what concerns us most
about these findings is that many workers’ diets appear to be based around
foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar and salt, all of which are
linked to poor long-term health.”

Although healthy choices such as fruit, yogurts and smoothies appeared on
the breakfast menu for up to three out of 10 ‘deskfest-ers’, bacon
sandwiches, croissants, muffins and even ‘just coffee’ were regular fodder
for one in six. Cereal and porridge were the most popular workplace
breakfast choices, enjoyed regularly by more than four out of 10 workers,
while just one in 20 claimed to occasionally manage eating a fry up at their

Regionally, workers in London and the South East were found to eat the most
meals at their desks, with one in five averaging as many as two meals a day
in the workplace. East Anglians are among the biggest workplace snackers
between meals, while bosses in London, Birmingham, Southampton and Glasgow
appear to crack the whip the hardest, with more than one in 10 expecting
workers to eat at their desks.

However, some deskfest-ers said they didn’t mind becoming part of the
growing trend. Six out of 10 workplace breakfasters said eating at their
desk gave them more time in bed in the morning, while one in 10 said it
effectively meant they wasted time at their desk and therefore started work
later. Almost one in 10 said eating meals at their desk also meant they had
more time to spend on Facebook and Twitter.

“Our study suggests that the trend for eating in the workplace is not only
set to continue but to also increase,” added Kate Arthur. “The question is
what part the phenomenon will continue to play in shaping our future diets
and what we, as a nation, can do to stay fit and healthy despite the
increasing demands of the modern workplace. 

“These ‘deskfesters’ need to consider the choices they are making as it’s
all too easy to grab the nearest unhealthy snack for a quick energy boost.
I’d advise people to keep it simple. Try to make sure that two thirds of
your plate is made up of plant-based foods such as fruit, wholegrains, nuts
and seeds to stay healthy and energised and make sure you have some of these
healthier choices stored in your desk drawer!”

The good news is help is at hand from Alpro. The company has launched a
campaign to provide inspiration for healthy deskfesting. 

Alpro is challenging you to give your deskfests a makeover- by adding a
splash of Alpro Almond milk and a sprinkling of berries you can transform
your lacklustre porridge into something luscious. 

By tweeting a photo of your most creative healthy breakfast to #Deskfest or
uploading your photo to, you could win a trip to New York
and a further 1,000 runner ups will win a Keep Cup, so get snapping your
healthy breakfasts!

If you’re simply looking for more inspiration and ideas to help you turn
over a new leaf join the conversation @Alpro_UK #Deskfest



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