Shorter lunch times mean that one out of five Irish consumers skip on lunch almost every day, finds a consumer survey by Canadean.
However, this presents a great opportunity for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies which need to bring convenient, tasty and comforting lunch options to the table.
According to the survey, one in five Irish consumers are skipping lunch almost every day and 44% are skipping their afternoon meal at least twice during the working week.
Lunch is supposed to be a staple meal in consumers’ diets, providing a break half way through the day.
However, as consumers feel stressed at work and are looking to impress their employers, they often take a quick break or none at all, leaving little time to enjoy food.
“Nowadays, many busy employees who feel under pressure to meet their work commitments grab a quick bite at their desk, if anything at all,” says analyst Kirsty Nolan.
“Even though this might initially sound like bad news, shorter lunch breaks actually present a huge opportunity for FMCG manufactures to target busy consumers with convenient, fast and exciting options.”
Lunch options with comfort, relaxation
To date, manufacturers have been paying a lot of attention to consumers skipping breakfast, with innovators constantly creating the latest on-the-go breakfast solution.
Canadean says the morning goods category, which includes ready-to-eat baked products such as croissants, pancakes and toaster pastries, had a volume of 4.5 million kg in 2014, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 2.7% over the next five years.
Leading players in the market such as Kellogg’s and In-store Bakeries have been providing consumers with the ideal, convenient breakfast solution.
Meanwhile, the lunch box has remained much the same since the launch of Pot Noodles in the late 70s and Marks and Spencer’s introduction of pre-packed sandwiches in 1980.
The survey reveals that six out of 10 consumers in Ireland agree that convenient food can also be tasty, while roughly the same number (62%) find food appealing that suits their needs for comfort. “These results abolish some barriers that used to stand in the way of convenience food,” says Nolan.
“The strategy to reignite the lunch time might lie in offering consumers a moment of comfort and relaxation with a fast and appetizing lunch option.”