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New research from the UK's top money-saving brand has revealed that 62% of British workers choose to purchase their lunch during the working week rather than make it at home, hitting an average annual spend of £1,840.

Those who chose to make a ‘packed’ lunch at home had a far smaller annual lunch expense of only £552, £1,288 less than those who buy it each day. Furthermore, ‘tiredness’ was revealed as the most popular reason not make lunch at home, with supermarkets voted the most popular haunt for those deciding to buy their midday meal.

The study showed that three-fifths of Britons now choose to purchase their work-time lunches, paying an annual average cost of £1,840 for the privilege. Those making their lunch at home spent £1,288 less than those who chose to purchase, with ‘tiredness’ voted the main reason not to make a ‘packed’ lunch. Supermarkets were voted the lunch outlet of choice, ahead of company cafeterias and nearby restaurants.

The research, conducted by vouchercloud, polled 2,646 UK adults, all of whom were over 18, with an even split of male and female respondents. In order to qualify for the survey, all respondents had to be in full-time employment and consume at least one meal during their daily shift at work. The survey was conducted as part of ongoing research into the spending habits and financial attitudes in the daily routines of working Britons.

Initially, all respondents were asked whether they purchased their lunch or took a ‘packed’ lunch to work, to which 62% stated that they purchased their lunch. These respondents were asked to detail why they didn't make their lunches at home, with the majority (47%) citing ‘tiredness’, followed by ‘more choice at work’ (41%) and ‘lack of time’ (38%).

The survey then asked the same group of respondents to detail where they purchased their lunch from. Respondents able to select all applicable answers, which revealed the below top 5:

  1. Supermarket - 47%
  2. Company café/refectory - 42%
  3. Restaurant - 35%
  4. Fast food outlet - 27%
  5. Street vendor - 18%

In order to understand the financial implications of a purchased lunch over a packed lunch, the survey then asked all respondents to detail the amount they spent on their lunches per week. The results were calculated and broken down by the team at vouchercloud, based on a typical 46 week working year, revealing an average annual spend of £1,840 for those purchasing their lunch. Those who chose to take a packed lunch were spending £552 by comparison, £1,288 less than those who bought lunches every day. When questioned, more than half (57%) of those who purchased their lunch said they thought buying lunches each day was an expensive habit.

Finally, the survey asked all those who took their own lunch to work whether they had made it themselves, to which only 38% stated that they did. Of the 62% who didn't make their own packed lunch, the majority (44%) stated that their lunch was made by their partner, 31% had theirs made by a parent and 10% were made by a work colleague.

Matthew Wood of vouchercloud made the following remarks:

“With increasingly busy lifestyles, it is understandable to see why people are choosing convenience over economy. It's very easy to slip into a routine of popping to the shop to grab a sandwich rather than planning your weekly or monthly shops to incorporate the components of a homemade lunch, then taking the time to prepare it on top.”

He continued:

“Obviously, there will be times where making your own lunch is just not feasible or even possible, however, when presented with these findings, I think those opting for convenience will be alarmed. With average annual savings close to £1,300, it seems bonkers not to try and get into a routine of making your own, even if this is just a few days a week. Think of what the surplus could be spent on instead! It could even equate to an extra holiday!”