“People spend too little time over lunch!” says lunchtime snack maker

As I’m writing this, I’m actually currently on my lunch hour. I’m not sure what the company policy in my office is for debunking PR surveys at lunchtime, but I think I’m fairly safe. Plus, at the very least, I’m taking a full lunch hour – unlike most people these days, according to the Daily Mail:

Whatever happened to the lunch hour? How breaks have been reduced to just 29 minutes because we’re too busy

Frantic Britons now spend less than 30 minutes taking a break for lunch because they are too busy to take the traditional full hour, a new survey has found.

The average worker in the UK spends just 29 minutes munching down their food before they have to get back to business.

A year ago the average lunch break nationally was 33 minutes, but the latest survey shows it has shrunk by a further four minutes in the last 12 months.

Source: Daily Mail, 25 January 2013

We Brits are poor, frantic creatures at lunchtime, desperately filling our cheek-pouches with whatever morsels are to hand before scurrying back to our desks to take up our places as cogs in the corporate machine – apparently. Unless you work for the Daily Mail, I assume, as journalist Suzannah Hills appears to have spent too little time at her desk, leaving sentences tantalisingly unfinished:

The latest statistics come shortly after research showed 60 per cent of workers don’t even take lunch breaks and end up eating their sandwiches at their

Health minister Anna Soubry described office workers’ increasingly frequent lunchtime habit of eating a sandwich at their desk as ‘disgusting’.

Presumably Suzannah was out to lunch – along with her editor – and didn’t have time to finish the article. And, of course, by article I mean regurgitation of a press release from a lunchtime snack company:

Just one in five employees are managing the traditional hour-long break, says a OnePoll study of 2,000 full-time workers for food and drink company Princes.

Not just any press release in fact, but a PR poll from 72 Point’s OnePoll. Why would Princes want to promote the idea that people find it harder and harder to take a lunch hour at work? Well…

A spokesperson from Princes said: ‘As the UK workforce gets busier, mealtimes are being increasingly neglected.

It means there is a growing demand for convenient food that can be eaten quickly.

‘This is why we have developed a new range of Princes Tuna Salads as they are nutritious, taste great and don’t need to be refrigerated which means you can eat them wherever you are no matter how busy you are.’

That would be these Tuna Salads, helpfully featured in a related download on Princes’ website.

It’s rare – and slightly refreshing – to see a PR story so explicit in its angle: Princes commissioned research to tell you lunchtimes are getting shorter, in order to sell you a range of ready-made tuna salads.