Four in Five Brits Typically Eat Lunch Alone, Latest Research Reveals

More than four in five Brits generally eat lunch on their own, according to new research from Greene King delving into lunchtime loneliness among the UK workforce.

According to the pub company and brewer’s study, a considerable 84% of UK workers – more than 25 million people - always, often, or sometimes eat lunch alone.

And the trend towards solo dining could be having a negative effect on the nation’s wellbeing, the data shows, as nearly nine in ten (89%) people say eating with others improves their mood.

More concerning still are the reasons for eating alone, with almost two in five (38%) people doing so while they work and more than three in ten (31%) dining while scrolling social media.

Notably, more than one in ten (12%) UK adults don’t feel confident enough to ask for company at lunchtime, while 11% say their work colleagues don't make the effort to eat together.

As a result, it’s no surprise around three in five (58%) people wish there was more out there to combat loneliness, with the data showing that eating lunch with colleagues can help to develop relationships (39%) and reduce stress (27%).

Surprisingly, young people aged 18-24 are most likely to eat lunch alone.

Geographically, Oxfordians are most likely to eat lunch alone, with a huge 94% of residents in the city regularly dining on their own, followed by people in Birmingham (91%) and Edinburgh (91%).

The research follows Greene King’s sponsorship of The Big Lunch and partnership with the Eden Project– as they invite people to share friendship, food and fun at The Big Lunch throughout the Month of Community in June, with millions expected to take part.

As part of this year's initiative, Greene King will host in-pub events throughout the month, providing Brits nationwide with a place to come together and meet new people to help reduce loneliness and social isolation.

Click here to find a Big Lunch event at your nearest pub.

When it comes to what we eat for lunch, leftovers are the nation’s go-to option, with the average Brit eating them more than six times a month (6.52) and almost one in five (18%) doing so between three and four times a week.

Meanwhile, pizza has been crowned the nation’s ultimate leftover meal, with more than one in five people (21%) selecting it as their favourite.

Youngsters are most likely to eat leftovers for lunch, the data shows, with 18-24s doing so almost every other day, compared to those aged 55-64 who eat leftovers just once a week on average.

Meanwhile, the UK capital is the home of the leftover meal, with the average Londoner enjoying them for lunch more than twice a week, compared to people in Norwich, who do so less than once a week.

1. Pizza
2. Lasagne
3. Roast Dinner
4. Spaghetti Bolognese
5. Pasta Traybakes
6. Quiche
7. Risotto
8. Stir Fry
9. Fish Pie
10. Fajitas

Nick Mackenzie , CEO at Greene King, said: “As a pub company and brewer at the heart of so many communities nationwide, it’s unfortunate to see how many people regularly eat lunch alone, as revealed in our latest study.

“We know the vital role our pubs play in bringing people together in communities up and down the country, and we believe that pubs are the original social network where people come together to socialise and get to know one another.

“That’s why we’re so proud to be a headline sponsor of this year’s Big Lunch, a hugely important initiative that we’re excited to throw our full support behind. Through in-pub events and initiatives, we aim to provide spaces for people to connect, share, and reduce social isolation.”

Lindsey Brummitt MVO, Eden Project’s Programme Director, said: “Here at the Eden Project we’re bringing people together to create happier and healthier communities and we are delighted to be partnering with Greene King to encourage people to share friendship, food, and fun!

“The Big Lunch also kicks off the Month of Community from 1-2 June and this year we’re encouraging everyone to make their Big Lunches greener to help the planet too, with lots of top tips on how to make affordable dishes to share, decorations to upcycle and activities to take part in.

“There’s still time to knock on your neighbour’s door for a cuppa and cake or check out our website to find Big Lunches taking place at Greene King pubs all across the UK!”

To celebrate Greene King’s sponsorship of The Big Lunch with the Eden Project, the pub company and brewer is giving three customers the chance to win lunch for them and their work mates, each worth £500.

There are also ten £100 and twenty £50 Greene King gift cards up for grabs – the perfect option for a group of co-workers and friends in search of a lunchtime treat.

To enter, simply visit the competition website here and complete the form.

For more information on The Big Lunch and how to get involved, visit: https://www.edenprojectcommunities.com/the-big-lunch/the-big-lunch-map