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April 14, 2016

The Ideal meal survey: from France to Brazil, do we take the time to eat well?

Edenred is publishing the results of its survey “What is your ideal meal?”, conducted among 2,500 of its employees in 14 countries worldwide.

Its aim? To gain a greater understanding of the cultural particularities concerning food, to help tailor its initiative of promoting a healthy diet that began over a decade ago with the Ideal meal program. And it’s a survey that reveals the diversity of our eating habits.


The lunchbreak: a core component of well-being at work

What makes a successful lunchbreak? It’s mainly about having a reasonably long break in the working day. After all, the length of lunchbreaks may vary from one country to another, but the majority of those interviewed take at least 30 minutes and, in the case of Brazil and France, more than three quarters of an hour. Where this is not the case, the reasons are often cultural. Take the UK, for instance, where lunch is simply not the main meal of the day: consequently, some 73% of employees take less than 30 minutes

And according to 41 % of our interviewees, this time spent on the lunchbreak is seen as an important time for relaxation, much more than as a physical need, which only takes precedence in countries where GDP is lower, or as a time for sharing with others, which in many cases is reserved for the personal life, over dinner.  

For this reason, half of the countries surveyed prefer to go out and lunch at restaurants, with the exception of the English-speaking world, where delivery services thrive. 9 out of 10 Italians, in contrast, dine out for lunch several times a week.  

Having said that, time is counted during the lunchbreak and should never be wasted! That’s why nearness is the main criterion when answering the age-old question “Where shall we eat today?”, followed by speed of service (77%) and price (75%), hence the success of food trucks, which meet all three of these criteria.


Lunch in 3 words

When Edenred employees were asked about their ideal meal, three main categories stood out:


Healthy eating an important concern

Outside of work, the meal remains a key moment in employees’ days: three quarters of respondents don their aprons at least three times a week, confirming the trend for Do It Yourself, including in the kitchen. As for the other options, namely delivery and ready meals, these remain popular in the UK, Japan, Brazil, Mexico and, above all, in the United States. Just 36% of Americans consider the major subject related to food in their country to be the influence on their health – instead describing their diet as a requirement for the satisfaction of their appetite (compared to 54% across the panel as a whole). 
This effect on health is also mentioned more in European countries or those with high purchasing power (United States, Japan), whereas access to food to meet their basic requirements is referred to more by Mexicans and Venezuelans.


Learn more about the survey

Read the press release


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