2006 B&I Census Report: Reinventing the meal

With revenues flat, B&I market’s top challenge is to create value-driven meals.

A CUBICLE CULTURE

Office worker survey shows that 75% of B&I customers frequently eat at the desk.

More than 90% of corporate dining operations participating in the FSD B&I Census offer foods for grab-and-go, confirming that the shift away from meal consumption in the dining facility is now a way of life.

The trend created what Impulse Research Corp. of Los Angeles calls "Cubicle Culture" and prompted it to conduct a survey last fall to determine the extent to which workers are eating at their desks.

According to survey results, three-quarters of desk-workers eat at their desk at least two to three times per week. Nearly half, though, say they eat at their desk "nearly every day."

Lunch, of course, is the most frequently consumed "desk meal," eaten by 75% of respondents. Almost 60% typically consume snacks throughout the day while 31% have breakfast at their desk.

Time crunch: Frequency of desk-eating may be correlated to length of lunch hour. Just under 10% say they get an hour or more for lunch; about 37% say they take 30 minutes to an hour, while one-third get 15 to 30 minutes for their mid-day meal.

When asked to describe their workplace culture at lunchtime, 38% of respondents said: "What lunchtime? Most people are lucky to get a bite at their desks." Just under one-third say lunchtime offers a chance to socialize with colleagues, while the remainder call it a "relaxing diversion from work."

What comprises their typical lunch? For nearly half, it's sandwiches, fruits and vegetables. About one-fifth bring leftovers from home, while another one-fifth get themselves a hot lunch (though the study doesn't specify the source: cafeteria or restaurant).

Health concerns: The rise of desk-eating, while convenient for workers, has health officials concerned. "It's a bad idea on a lot of levels, psychologically and physically, to eat lunch at your desk," says Elisa Zied, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. She's concerned that desk-eating limits workers' physical activity and could encourage over-eating.

Download: 
PDF icon FSD_B&I_Census_May06.pdf

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The School District of Philadelphia and Baltimore City Public Schools are the latest districts in the Urban School Food Alliance to switch to compostable plates.

The move to the eco-friendlier products will save 19 million polystyrene products from landfills, according to a news release .

Schools often use polystyrene products due to their low cost. Polystyrene trays cost on average around 4 cents apiece, while compostable plates cost an average of 12 cents each. The Urban School Food Alliance’s collective buying power enabled them to create a compostable plate that costs...

Managing Your Business
allergies

Guy Procopio got a taste of the future when Michigan State University hosted a Boy Scout event in 2015. Out of 10,000 participants at the East Lansing, Mich., campus, Procopio, the director of dining services, received 1,400 requests to meet special dietary needs, including a wide spectrum of allergies, gluten intolerance or insensitivity, and other new or unusual hyper-specialized diets.

This dining trend isn’t letting up, at least in America: Food allergies in children increased approximately 50% from 1997 to 2011. They now affect one in 13 children in the United States,...

Industry News & Opinion

Students of Broward County Public Schools in Florida were treated to a special meal by celebrity chef Aria Kagan during lunch last week.

The chef and former contestant on “The Next Food Network Star” prepared her farm-fresh pesto panini in front of students at McNicol Middle School in Hollywood, Fla.

Her visit was part of the district’s Chefs Move to Broward initiative, through which a chef from nonprofit Wellness in the Schools visits district cafeterias each month to prepare a healthy meal. The chef then teaches cafeteria staff how to make the dish so it can be...

Managing Your Business
woman alone in kitchen

In a post-Harvey Weinstein world, there’s an awful anticipation over which star’s worst-kept secret will be outed next. The outpouring of claims of sexual harassment and abuse helped popularize the #MeToo social media campaign, encouraging women to share their stories and spurring allegations against upwards of 60 high-profile men. In October, the movement’s momentum hit the foodservice industry. Since, behemoths such as Mario Batali, John Besh and Todd English were forced to confront accusations of alleged sexual harassment or misconduct.

For many women, the scope of the industry’...

FSD Resources