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Breakfast proving more popular than lunch, survey finds

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Consumers are spending more on breakfast and less on eating out at lunchtime, according to a new report.

Research by food service analyst the NPD Group found that the number of visits to breakfast outlets has grown by six per cent year on year, while outings for lunch and afternoon snacks have fallen by six per cent.

Spending on morning snacks increased by three per cent in the last year, but a corresponding decline of three per cent was observed for spending on lunch and afternoon snacks.

The company's research also found that consumers are continuing to eat out less. Visits to out-of-home destinations for meals and snacks numbered 179 per capita in 2012, down six visits on a couple of years ago.

"Breakfast is growing at the expense of other meal occasions - in this case lunch and afternoon snacks," said Guy Fielding, director of business development at the NPD Group.

In light of the findings, he suggested that firms in the catering business may consider investing in new kitchen equipment in order to diversify and meet the needs of consumers.

He said the shift away from lunchtime spending "signals the opportunity – and provides the motivation - for both operators and manufacturers to diversify into breakfast and evening snack occasions".

Mr Fielding added that "the mid-day dip" has been partly caused by "time-pressed consumers increasingly looking for food on-the-go that is both fast and fresh".

The desire for quick food on-the-go has contributed to the growth of 24-hour restaurants in the UK, with industry analysts believing round-the-clock service could be a significant new trend in catering.

Peter Backman, managing director of food consultancy Horizons, recently told the Independent that "we will likely see more places that are open for breakfast or into the night - it is a way of getting the most from the money you spend on overheads".

The Duck & Waffle, a restaurant located on the 40th floor of London's Heron Tower, recently launched as a 24-hour eatery offering panoramic views of the City.

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