Brits skipping breakfast to cover rising cost of living, FUEL10K research shows

Mauleverer: partnering FareShare for nationwide porridge donation project

Millions of Brits are skipping breakfast due to financial concerns caused by the rising cost of living, new research suggests.

Increased household bills, combined with low wages or unemployment has seen an increasing number of people struggling to afford three decent meals a day – and many see breakfast as the most disposable. 

The study revealed that half (49.11%) of those asked admitted they’d had to skip breakfast at least once over the past year – to save money and cover their household bills. That number leaps to two thirds (67.86%) for those living in London.

The research, carried out by breakfast brand FUEL10K, found that as many as one in 10 Brits (11.25%) have had to skip meals for financial reasons as often as once a week. 

London is the most affected region in the UK, with over a third of residents (36.23%) skipping meals at least once a week due to concerns over their finances.

Across the UK, it was revealed that men (17.7%) are slightly more likely than women (14%) to skip a meal at least once week due to money worries.

Young people are having to tighten their purse strings the most, with two thirds (64.47%) of 18–34-year-olds claiming they had skipped breakfast as they could not afford it. This age group also sees the number of those missing out breakfast on a weekly basis rise to 16.5%.

Across all age groups, a third (37.3%) said they had intentionally gone without one of their daily meals every few months to try and save cash – with the vast majority cutting out breakfast.

Yet missing a meal isn’t helping them – two thirds (65.48%) said they find it harder to focus if they go without a morning meal, while a similar number (62.75%) admitted that they feel more irritable when they don’t have breakfast.

Leading registered nutritionist Thalia Pellegrini said: “Skipping breakfast can have a negative impact on both our mental and physical wellbeing for the whole day – and that’s avoidable for far less than people think. Having ‘fasted’ overnight, you need to kick-start your energy with a nutritious breakfast and you don’t have to spend fortunes to do it.

“Refuelling is important. When blood sugar levels drop very low – which they can when someone hasn’t eaten for many hours – the day can feel much more of a struggle. People will notice they may be less in control of their mood – quicker to feel stressed, angry or anxious. It also makes it harder to concentrate, plus physical work may feel more challenging too.”

The research was commissioned to highlight a new initiative in conjunction with food redistribution charity FareShare – aiming to deliver half a million free portions of porridge – equivalent to 25 tonnes – to poorer households during the entire month of February.

Barney Mauleverer, co-founder of breakfast brand FUEL10K, said: “When we partnered with FareShare we wanted to commission our own study to gauge the scale of the problem and we were alarmed by the findings. If projected nationally this would mean millions of people are sometimes missing out on meals, usually breakfast, because of money worries. And young people report being disproportionately affected. Around 10% nationally could equate to more than 6 million people a week skipping breakfast as they’re concerned about cash flow.

“The figures tally with existing research from FareShare and shows that millions are facing this issue across the UK. This is precisely why we wanted to partner with them for our nationwide porridge donation project.” 

The Voices of the Hungry Project estimates that 8.4 million people in the UK are struggling to afford to eat – with 4.7 million of these people living in severely food insecure homes. This means that their food intake is greatly reduced, and children regularly experience physical sensations of hunger.

FUEL10K will be supporting FareShare – who work with the footballer Marcus Rashford – by donating a portion of porridge for every pot of porridge they sell during February. They expect the sales of their nutritious and functional Porridge Pots to provide more than 500,000 free portions of porridge directly into the hands of the many frontline community groups that FareShare work with – through on-shelf promotions and nationwide listings with supermarkets, online retailers and convenience stores.

Mauleverer added: “We’re delighted to be working so closely with FareShare. This is our second collaboration with them and it means so much to all of us at FUEL10K. At a time when so many people and organisations are struggling, we count ourselves extremely fortunate to be in a position to be able to donate so many of our nutritious breakfasts. Teaming up with FareShare give us great confidence that our porridge will reach those most in need.”

Since FareShare was founded in 1994 they have redistributed 55,046 tonnes of food to charities, equating to 131.9 million meals provided to those in need.  

FUEL10K’s porridge pot range is now available in five delicious flavours; Chocolate, Super Berry, Golden Syrup, Salted Caramel, and Apple & Cinnamon.  They are widely available in major UK grocery stores ASDA, Tesco, Morrisons, Co-Op and Booths, as well online at Amazon and in many convenience stores, including Nisa, Costcutter, Key Stores and Spa