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With most construction pros (78%) beginning their day before 8 a.m., and over half (55%) working longer than eight hours, 87% of 500 surveyed construction workers say they feel hungry throughout their workday, according to a How Food Fuels Construction Teams report from ezCater.

In addition to going long periods without food, 57% start their day with only a coffee or an energy drink at least three days per week, and 28% say they rarely (or never) eat breakfast before work.

Noting cost and access as barriers to having a proper lunch, 37% of workers say buying lunch is too expensive, while 29% say limited access to food options prevents them from buying a meal. Time is also a large factor in preventing workers from eating, with 35% saying they don’t have enough time to get lunch. The majority note only having 11 to 30 minutes for lunch, and 7% typically don’t take a break at all, the report states.

When workers do get to eat, 90% say the food they eat at work is not “very healthy” and 57% wish their meals during work were healthier. To make it quick, 65% typically buy lunch from a fast-food chain; 44% go to a gas station or convenience store; 36% go to a deli, sub, or pizza shop; and 23% stop at a local food truck.

Directly connected to productivity and safety, 44% of workers say that without lunch they have low energy (44%), are less focused (37%), and are unmotivated on the job (35%). When hunger strikes, 51% say they are concerned about making mistakes. Additionally, 54% worry about rushing a project, performing tasks out of order (41%), skipping safety measures (31%), and missing instructions from the boss (30%).

Uncovering that feeding crews could boost employee retention, 65% of workers say free meals would motivate them to work harder. Ninety percent say that free food is their most appreciated work perk, and 77% say free meals would make them feel appreciated.

“Construction workers made it clear: When their stomachs are full, their output soars,” says Diane Swint, chief revenue officer, ezCater. “These folks are working hungry because they struggle to find affordable and accessible options near the jobsite. 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."