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Country News - 2003

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Farmers’ worried over British breakfast
Wednesday 22 January 2003

MARKET research by farmers and food producers has thrown up the worrying statistic that a third of British school children skip breakfast – which can have a serious effect of their ability to learn when they do get to school.

The research was carried out by the NFU in preparation for Farmhouse Breakfast Week which started on Sunday, a nationwide campaign to persuade people to eat the meal which, it is said, built the British Empire.

The NFU findings included:

  • 11% of those children who skip breakfast do so to diet.
  • Oversleeping was given as a reason for not eating breakfast by a quarter, and a lack of time was by 21%.
  • Of those who do eat breakfast, cereal was chosen by 43%, porridge by 30% and a cooked breakfast by 13%. Worryingly, none of the children questioned ate fruit.

NFU member and Farmhouse Breakfast Week organiser Maggie Berry says: "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day but it's rapidly becoming a thing of the past for some school children.

"Eating breakfast provides energy to start off the day and increases concentration and mental performance, which are vital for school lessons. We were shocked by how many children skip it - and some for very worrying reasons indeed.

"Farmhouse Breakfast Week aims to remind as all how crucial breakfast is to everyone's health and well-being, but particularly our children's."

Farmhouse Breakfast Week is organised by the Home Grown Cereals Authority, Food From Britain, the Meat and Livestock Commission and Lion Quality Eggs. It is supported by the NFU and the Women's Food and Farming Union. More information is available from www.hgca.com/new/breakfast


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