There appears to be a change in the eating habits of many blue collar workers in the UK’s construction industry, according to statistics unveiled by one well-known hospitality business. This family-owned SME feeds over 30,000 construction workers every day and their conclusion is that the traditional ‘builder’s breakfast’ is on the way out.
According to Antonio Motisi, a director with Bon Appetit, construction workers are increasingly opting for healthy dishes, such as poached eggs or porridge oats, rather than the ‘good old fashioned British fry up.’ He says construction workers are now less likely to ask for the traditional ‘British fry up’ – which is also referred to as the ‘Full English Breakfast.’
And that should be good news for doctors and medical staff across the country, and may be a small crumb of comfort for our struggling National Health Service (NHS), with hospital waiting lists getting longer day-by-day.
Antonio said: “The old-fashioned image of a builder’s breakfast is a myth. Our research shows that construction workers are now choosing to eat fried items in moderation. If current trends continue, then the traditional breakfast will soon be overtaken by healthier options.”
And Antonio says there are stats to back-up this claim. Last year, Bon Appetit served 10 million meals to construction workers, and almost half of these have turned their backs on the once-customary ‘fry up’, preferring to choose a healthier diet.
He added: “They are now more likely to select freshly prepared omelette with salad, or scrambled eggs with smoked salmon. The traditional breakfast has fallen from 81% to 56% over the last 10 years. And, during the past year, we have served more than 10 million breakfast dishes to workers on construction sites.”
The Bon Appetit Group specialise in serving the country’s onsite workforce. They are commissioned by organisations to feed workers on a giant scale, including logistically challenging projects such as the 2012 London Olympics, or the on-going construction developments at Heathrow Airport and Westfield Stratford.
The company’s major clients include Berkeley Group, Bouygues, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Lendlease, Mace and Multiplex.
Bon Appetit can also provide statistics that illustrate how changes in healthier eating habits have accelerated since the pandemic. Antonio said this switch has extended to ‘main meals’ too. Pre-Covid, 75% of construction workers typically chose traditional items such as sausages or burgers.
But this has fallen to 52%, with lighter cuisine – such as fish and chicken – accounting for 48% of lunchtime choices. Antonio explained: “There’s an increasing awareness of the importance of good nutrition within the construction sector. A well-fed workforce gets the job done.
“Believe it or not, we also offer a range of Vegan and vegetarian options at most of our construction sites. However, one traditional dish that remains unassailably popular is fish and chips. This accounts for up to 82% of orders at some sites on a Friday.”
Bon Appetit is currently providing catering solutions at more than 30 infrastructure projects around the UK. These include the new prison at Full Sutton, Yorkshire; AstraZeneca in Cambridge; and the new airbase at RAF Lakenheath.