More staff are taking mid-day breaks - but not necessarily to eat.
The great British lunch-time is making a comeback - 7% more people are taking regular breaks than last year - and the substantial 16.5% rise in the average amount spent suggests that lunchers are becoming more discerning in their choice of food.
Sandwiches and rolls remain firm favourites but the trend towards healthier options such as salads and pasta continues, despite the fact that only 12% are concerned about the calorie content of their lunches. On the other hand, afternoons fuelled by lunch-time drinking are now a real rarity, with only a steadfast 1% claiming to imbibe every day.
Lunch is not only an opportunity for oral gratification, however - 57% cite rest and relaxation as the main benefit of taking a break, and 27% enjoy 'socialising with colleagues'. Presumably this is surveyspeak for bad-mouthing the company or spreading rumours, which may explain why only 1% of respondents are alive to the possibilities of a romantic lunch-time liaison.
Employees taking lunch breaks 78% 71%
Average length (minutes) 32 33
Average amount spent £1.69 £1.45
Top five favourite foods 1998
Jacket potato 23%
Fish and chips/soup 14%
SOURCE: The Eurest Lunchtime Report.