New Study Reveals How Hunger Affects Construction Workers

New Study Reveals How Hunger Affects Construction Workers

The absence of food reportedly has a profound impact on construction workers.

Employees in the construction industry face several major health and safety concerns. But a new study just uncovered one aspect even those in the business might not have considered.

In a release dated August 9, ezCater—which specializes in corporate food solutions—announced the findings of a recent survey titled “How Food Fuels Construction Teams.” Conducted in May 2023, the study surveyed 500 full-time onsite construction workers nationwide, with a focus on their eating habits during lunch.

Of those surveyed, 87 percent of workers said they felt hungry during the workday, with 57 percent claiming they usually started their days with only coffee or an energy drink. Despite 78 percent saying they began work before 8am, only 28 percent claim to rarely or never eat breakfast before work. And the survey uncovered 90 percent admit what they do eat at work is not very healthy, with 57 wishing their meals during work were healthier.

The biggest reasons workers gave for not eating lunch were cost, lack of time and limited access to food options. As a result, ezCater says this hunger has a direct impact on the productivity and the safety of construction workers. In fact, 51 percent of respondents said they’re concerned about making mistakes because of hunger. The top concerns were rushing a project, missing instructions, performing tasks out of order and skipping safety measures.

“Construction workers made it clear: when their stomachs are full, their output soars,” ezCater’s Chief Revenue Officer Diane Swint said in a statement. “These folks are working hungry because they struggle to find affordable and accessible options near the job site. By feeding their workforce, employers can not only help improve productivity, but also boost employee morale — saying goodbye to a hungry crew, and hello to happier employees.”

Across the board, between 35 percent and 44 percent said they felt either sleepy, less focused, or unmotivated at work due to their hunger. However, 65 percent of those surveys admitted having free meals provided by their employers would motivate them to work harder. Seventy-five percent of respondents even revealed they would continue working for a company if it provided free meals, with 77 percent saying it would make them feel more appreciated too.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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