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Eating smelly food and being a ‘feeder’ among list of office food faux pas

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The majority of the British workforce now reach for their first treat of the day at 11.30am – officially known as ‘snack o’clock’, a new study has revealed. A survey of 2,000 office workers found that while 72% start the day full of energy, it rapidly disappears as the day progresses.

By 11.30am, most workers are tucking into their first pick-me-up of the day to help see them through to lunchtime.

But the average employee now has to rely on two snacks to get them through the working day, grabbing another small bite to eat at 2.55pm to beat the mid-afternoon slump.

The survey, by snack brand popchips, also found that snacking isn’t just fuel for the day but for arguments too, as eating smelly food topped the list of office food faux pas.

popchips spokeswoman Dr Sandra Scott said:

“When we lack energy it can be difficult to concentrate.

“If this happens when you are at work it can affect your performance and potentially land you in trouble with your boss.

“Realistically there is not always time to leave your desk to grab a meal.

“At these times a well-placed snack can be exactly what you need. It can provide a quick boost to your energy levels so you can get back to focusing on your work and not on your rumbling stomach.”

Office snacking does comes with a certain etiquette, as 55% said eating smelly food at your desk is the biggest snacking faux pas, followed by tucking into noisy food.

A further 20% agreed they eat snacks quickly before anyone realises what they are doing to avoid any attention from hungry colleagues.

And more than one in twenty even choose to snack privately in the bathroom or toilet.

The study also found that more than three quarters of Brits think a snack helps to boost their energy levels, with the average worker reaching for the snack cupboard twice a day – on top of their usual three meals.

But worryingly, daily energy slumps are leading to inappropriate office behaviour, with 28% of workers admitting they have lashed out at colleagues – or even their boss.

More than a third also said they don’t listen to people properly when they are craving a snack, with almost half likely to avoid doing work all together.

Other tired workers also admit to chatting to colleagues or procrastinating on social media and shopping sites instead of completing their work.

Worse still, one in ten sneaky employees even owned up to faking an illness so they can go home early to see out their slump.


  1. Eating smelly food
  2. Eating noisy food
  3. Eating food that leaves a massive mess
  4. Asking if you can have some of someone else’s food
  5. Being a ‘feeder’