Van drivers now prefer smoothies to fry ups - is this the end of the full English?

Is this the end of the full English breakfast? (Getty Images)
Is this the end of the full English breakfast? (Getty Images)

In news that could spell the end for the great British breakfast, van drivers are turning their backs on full English fry ups in favour of healthier smoothies and cereal bars.

Many have ditched the greasy spoon for the organic cafe, according to a OnePoll survey of van drivers.

The survey, conducted by Vansdirect, found that less than 20% of van drivers aged 18-24 say they eat a full English for their breakfast, with the majority opting for breakfast bars, smoothies or fruit.

Overall, the number of van drivers consuming a full English fry up for their morning fuel now stands at only 26%.

Commenting on the switch from fried to fruit, Paul Cox, sales director at Vansdirect, said: “We’ve long assumed van drivers are the bastions of fry up culture, but that is looking increasingly not to be the case, especially as the recent lockdowns forced many drivers to plan ahead and pack their own breakfasts and lunches. It seems the 'get healthy' message has stuck.”

Read more: Your cup of tea doesn't need a spoonful of sugar

Millennials are turning away from fry ups. (Getty Images)
Millennials are turning away from fry ups. (Getty Images)

A fry up has been a staple part of British tradition for as long as we can remember. In the 1950s nearly half the British population began the day with a plateful of sausage, bacon and eggs, but the latest stats provide proof that the fry up could be dying out.

One in five people under the age of 30 have never even tried a full English, according to previous research.

So, what's making us turn away from our former breakfast staple?

With under-30s switching to a healthier lifestyle, it’s possible that the levels of fat in greasy fry ups just aren’t cutting the bacon anymore.

Asked to rate how unhealthy a full English breakfast is on a scale of one to ten, with ten being very unhealthy, the average 18 to 30-year-old rated it a seven.

“According to the results, avocado, scrambled eggs, salmon and oatmeal pancakes are replacing the humble fry-up in the nation’s hearts.” Ellie Glason, director of polling firm Ginger Research, who commissioned the study, said.

“The study found also that over half of young adults believe Britain is becoming more health conscious and shunning traditional English meals like fried breakfasts, bangers and mash, and pie and chips.”

It’s not just the grease that’s likely to be putting health conscious millennials off, either.

Breakfast foods from poached egg to avocado on toast have risen in popularity in recent years, giving us more options than ever when going out for breakfast.

More than two thirds (71%) of the 2,000 respondents in an English Breakfast Society survey said they would rather eat smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, smashed avocado on toast, or oatmeal pancakes for breakfast, while 5% opted for muesli.

Watch: 5 tips for making clean-eating breakfasts. 

Couple that with the fact that we're living in an increasingly multiracial and ecologically aware UK, where greater numbers are avoiding pork products for religious or green reasons, and it seems fry ups could be on the back (bacon) foot.

The desire to live a healthier lifestyle coupled with a growing number of people turning vegan and vegetarian could also be putting the classic fry-up at risk.

One in five under-30s said they believed fry-ups were associated with heart attacks, with the same number associating the once popular breakfast meal with obesity.

Health concerns aren't unfounded as previous research has found consuming just one rasher of bacon a day could substantially up your risk of bowel cancer

The study, led by Oxford University, looked into the link between red and processed meats – such as bacon and sausages – and bowel cancer.

It found that eating even small amounts of these meats was linked to an increased risk.

For every 10,000 people in the study, 40 people who ate 21g of red or processed meats daily were later diagnosed bowel cancer.

Read more: Breakfast in a mug? Yorkshire Tea launches toast and jam flavour combo

Young Brits prefer avocado on toast to a fry up. (Getty Images)
Young Brits prefer avocado on toast to a fry up. (Getty Images)

Another study also discovered eating bacon and sausages could increase breast cancer risk by as much as 9%, with the findings supporting previous research by the World Health Organisation linking the consumption of processed meats with higher cancer incidence rates.

It’s clear that health and fitness concerns are at the forefront of the younger generation’s minds, which does seem to fit with wider sales reports of a gradual generational shift away from the big brekkie.

Read more: Eating breakfast 'not a good strategy' for weight loss

But there is some evidence that tucking into a big, sizzling cooked breakfast could actually aid weight loss

Turns out high-protein breakfasts (such as eggs) help to control eating later in the day – leaving people less prone to snacking on unhealthy food, that's according to Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

So, all may not be lost for the traditional breakfast, as according to alternative polls, it remains a firm morning fave for some.

A 2017 YouGov survey found that 83% of English people described themselves as fans, while another study for the Grocer found the full breakfast was Britain’s favourite cooked option for the morning.

Whether you're a fry up fan or you're more of a chia porridge kinda guy or gal, it seems there's room on our breakfast menus for all.

Two bacon, one egg, hold the beans! 

Watch: The best full English breakfasts in London. 

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