Food & Drink | Posted 05 Jun 2019
Brits are known for our love of breakfast. For many of us, it’s not just the most important meal of the day, it’s also our favourite. And it seems that cafes and restaurants are taking notice, with more breakfast options that ever before, from the traditional to the quirky, health and unhealthy – there’s something for everyone. But what is the most popular breakfast of them all?

At Leonardo Hotels, we surveyed 2,000 adults from all over the UK to uncover the truth behind our breakfast habits. Here’s what we found.

Can I take your order, please?

Despite the rise of trendy alternatives like shakshuka, huevos rancheros and smashed avocado, the good old-fashioned fry-up continues to reign supreme. The ‘Full English’ came out on top as the UK’s favourite breakfast, with 83% of Brits saying they love this classic dish.

It seems that as a nation, we still favour more traditional breakfast options, with cereal (81%), a bacon sandwich (79%), croissants and pastries (78%), and pancakes (77%) making up the rest of the top 5.

However, while the Full English came out on top for the country as a whole, this wasn’t the same everywhere.

People in Belfast (81%) chose pancakes as their favourite breakfast, while Liverpool (88%) and Plymouth (86%) just can’t get enough of bacon sandwiches. Elsewhere, cereal came out as the breakfast of choice for people in Cardiff (87%), Edinburgh (87%), Manchester (85%), Newcastle (87%) and Southampton (87%).

Also, it looks as though the next generation may be moving away from our national favourite, with the Full English dropping down to 6th place with 16-24 year olds. This age group are opting for pancakes (77%), croissants and pastries (72%), cereal (71%), waffles (68%) and smoothies (68%) over a fry-up (66%).

The King of Breakfasts

So, we’ve established that the Full English is the UK’s favourite breakfast, but what exactly are we putting on our plates? Fried or poached eggs? Tomato ketchup or brown sauce? Hash browns or chips? All important questions that needed answering.

Unsurprisingly, bacon came out on top as the most essential element of a Full English, with 69% of Brits wanting this on their plate. Sausages took the number two spot with 66%, followed by toast (62%), baked beans (57%) and a fried egg (53%). We’re choosing fried mushrooms (42%) over grilled (38%) and hash browns (44%) over chips (19%).

For people in Northern Ireland, soda bread is the third most important element of a fry-up, with 60% considering it essential. And up in Scotland, black pudding is the 5th most important ingredient, with 52% of Scots wanting in on their plate.

When it comes to sauce, it’s tomato ketchup (29%) that we’re reaching for, closely followed by brown sauce (23%). However, these aren’t the only sauces we’re adding to our fry-up. 5% of Brits would happily add BBQ sauce or mayonnaise to their Full English, while 3% would opt for chilli sauce.

New kids on the block

While more traditional options continue to top the breakfast charts, recent years have seen a rise in the number of options available to hungry diners, with some of these climbing the rankings and finding a place in our top 20.

Breakfast hash is one of a number of American-inspired breakfast dishes that has become increasingly popular in the UK, with 51% of Brits loving this, with eggs benedict (49%) being another new favourite. Moving further afield, 26% of the UK like kedgeree, an Indian-inspired dish consisting of smoked fish, rice and hard-boiled eggs, while 16% love huevos rancheros, a Mexican breakfast made up of refried beans, salsa, avocado and eggs, served with warm tortillas.

As the nation becomes more health-conscious than ever before, we’re also seeing an increase in healthier breakfast options. 61% of Brits said they enjoy a bowl of yoghurt and granola for breakfast, while 59% like a smoothie. 36% of those in our survey have made their own overnight oats, a new trend sweeping the nation, while 33% have enjoyed the millennial favourite, avocado and poached egg on toast.

Tea or coffee?

When it comes to drinks, traditional options are leading the way once again, with fruit juice (85%), English Breakfast tea (69%) and white coffee (66%) coming out on top as the nation’s favourites.

While fruit juice came out as the most popular drink across the board, there were some variations when it came to hot drinks. According to our study, men prefer white coffee (68%) while women would rather have a cup of English Breakfast tea (70%).

Looking around the country, people in Birmingham (68%) and Glasgow (70%) are opting for a cappuccino (68%) while those in Edinburgh (69%) prefer a latte.

Boozy brunch

The increasing popularity of brunch has also led to a rise in brunch-friendly cocktails. And when it comes to cocktails, Brits are ordering a Bloody Mary (24%) before anything else, closely followed by a Bellini (23%) and a Mimosa (18%).


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