Social media trumps breakfast as morning priority for Australians

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 16th December 2013

As many as a third of Australians are starting their day with a social media fix rather than eating breakfast, and for one in five it is a regular habit, according to new research commissioned by the Australian Breakfast Cereal Manufacturers Forum (ABCMF).

The study, which was conducted by market research organisation Galaxy Research, showed that 65 per cent of Australian adults skip breakfast, with 41 skipping at least twice a week.

Lack of time was the number one reason given for skipping breakfast, but the research also showed that more than half (53 per cent) managed to find time to check Facebook, tweet, text or email before leaving home in the morning. In fact, social media was the most common morning activity among breakfast skippers.

The ABCMF said it was a “worrying trend”.

“The research shows for most Aussies it takes less than five minutes to make and eat a bowl of breakfast cereal, yet breakfast is being sacrificed as people choose a Facebook newsfeed over a real feed to start their day,” said Leigh Reed, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Director of the ABCMF. “It’s a crazy decision. Having breakfast is one of the easiest things you can do to set yourself up for the day. A bowl of cereal will give you loads of essential nutrients and boost your mood, energy levels and concentration,” she said.

“There’s no doubt we are increasingly time poor but investing in breakfast is well worth the returns,” Ms Reed said. “Science supports the fact that regular breakfast cereal eaters are more likely to have better nutrition, tend to be slimmer, and benefit from improved mental and physical performance. While in the long run, a daily breakfast cereal habit may reduce the risk of lifestyle related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes,” she said.

The Galaxy Research study also revealed:

  • 86 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds skip breakfast and 55 per cent are skipping on a regular basis. Among this group of skippers, 69 per cent are still finding time for social media in the mornings.

  • The main reasons Australians skip breakfast are not enough time (50 per cent), not hungry or prefer to eat later in the day (34 per cent), too disorganised (23 per cent).

  • 53 per cent of regular breakfast skippers still find time for social media including checking and sending emails (44 per cent) and “Facebooking” (34 per cent), doing household chores (31 per cent), watching television (25 per cent), helping get children ready (24 per cent), reading the paper (19 per cent), opting for a little early morning romance (11 per cent), or exercising (10 per cent).

  • Nearly one million Australians find time for sex but not breakfast.

  • Nearly three million Australians regularly skip breakfast and just grab a coffee instead.

  • Twenty years ago, more than 90 per cent of people ate breakfast at home, now 37 per cent of full-time workers regularly eat breakfast on-the-go, most commonly “desktop dining” when they get to work (30 per cent) or eating breakfast on public transport or in the car (12 per cent).

  • Generation Y is the least likely to eat breakfast at home (65 per cent) and more likely to eat it on-the-go (20 per cent) or at work (28 per cent).

  • The average Australian allocates 10 minutes to breakfast on a regular weekday, while most breakfast cereal eaters (69 per cent) can prepare and eat a bowl of breakfast in less than 5 minutes.

  • While widely regarded by dietitians as an important start to the day, breakfast is also the most skipped meal of the day (44 per cent) with just 17 per cent of people more likely to skip lunch and 4 per cent more likely to skip dinner.

The Galaxy Research was conducted in October 2013, among a total representative sample of 1001 Australians aged 18 to 64 years.

The ABCMF was established in 2011 to provide information about the value of eating breakfast, in particular breakfast cereals, as part of a healthy lifestyle.

A third of Australians favour social media over breakfast in the morning