Late snacks replace traditional meals: Fridge raids rise as breakfasts lose appeal

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN has become a nation of late-evening snackers, who ignore 'main' meals such as breakfast and lunch but raid the fridge as midnight approaches.

Traditional mealtimes at home are being replaced by snacks, which now account for one-fifth of all meals, according to a new study of domestic eating habits. Most of these satisfy late-evening hunger pangs; 35 per cent are eaten after 10pm.

The study, produced by the market research firm Taylor Nelson AGB and based on reports from more than 17,000 households, also pronounces the final death sentence on the traditional British breakfast of bacon and eggs. These make up only 6 per cent of breakfasts. Bread or toast and marmalade are also declining, with more people eating cereals and fruit.

Both breakfast and lunch at home have succumbed to changes in work and lifestyle, with more solitary eating, a greater spread of mealtimes, less food eaten and less time taken to eat it.

However, the traditional meals come into their own at the weekend. Cooked breakfasts are relatively popular on Saturdays and the Sunday 'meat and two veg' is still popular.

Taylor Nelson says people are missing the communal meal and an increasing emphasis on quality of life may lead to its renaissance. Bill Patterson, editor of the survey, added: 'Everyone has been grabbing what food they can, when they can, but we may be rediscovering that the mealtime is a constructive social occasion.'

Trends in Meal Habits at Home 1985-93; Taylor Nelson AGB; 14-17 St John's Square, London EC1M 4HE; pounds 895.

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