Thursday 23 February 2012


I thought this survey from Warburton's made very interesting reading. Having taken part in the Shake Up Your Wake Up campaign for Breakfast Week (see our blogpost here), I can now vouch for the fact that breakfast certainly does get you off to a brighter start to the day and I think they're probably right too - eating something hot does always seem more indulgent but also actually forces you to take the time to chill out for a few minutes while it's cooking, both things which have to help get you in a good mood first thing in the morning.


‘Happiness Index’ of breakfast foods revealed

Results from a new study released today showing the ‘Happiness Index’ of different breakfast foods reveals that eating traditional breakfast items such as hot buttered white toast and toasted crumpets, ranked 24 times higher on the happiness scale than when participants ate cold cereals - and 14 times higher after they ate bacon sandwiches.

A series of multi-sensory tests were conducted on participants during and after they ate a selection of breakfast products for The Breakfast Food Happiness study, commissioned by family baker Warburtons. With over 135 years baking experience, Warburtons decided to conduct the research in order to identify which foods, if any, had the most positive effect on people’s moods at breakfast.

To define happiness for this study, EEG tests monitored brain activity and measured positive emotional responses of participants while each food type was being eaten. After eating, participants were given a sorting task where they responded to images of happy and sad faces – heightened levels of happiness were quantified where the 25 participants showed a faster, more accurate and stronger empathy with positive faces.  Subjects were also asked to rate the foods on a scale of one to five for taste, aroma, satiety and happiness.
The Happiness Index – an amalgamation of all the test results– shows relative happiness when compared to the baseline* (standardised baseline = 0.00) for each breakfast food eaten.

Results from the Happiness Index found that:

       Overall, eating bakery breakfast products ranked three times higher on the happiness scale when compared to all non-bakery foods

       Eating bacon sandwiches ranked 4 times more favourably than cornflakes and 14 times more favourably than crispy rice cereals on the happiness scale

       White toast, crumpets and Brioche secured the three highest rankings on the Happiness Index
Psychologist Dr David Lewis, who conducted the research on behalf of expert bakers Warburtons, said: “It appears to be the multi-sensory aspect of bakery products that generate higher levels of happiness - Hot buttered bakery items, like toast and crumpets tend to have very emotive aromas and trigger positive memories such as the security of family and home which can increase the feeling of happiness. Whilst the perceived sophistication of foods like Brioche often gives a mindset that is already favourable to a product – in addition to its sweet smell and soft texture, which perhaps explains why it came out on top,”

The ten breakfast foods tested for impact on people’s happiness ranked in the Happiness Index in the following order:

1.        Brioche – happiness rating 13
2.        White Toast - 12
3.        Crumpets – 12
4.        Smoothies – 10
5.        Bacon Sandwich – 7
6.        Breakfast bars – 7
7.        Porridge – 7
8.        Cornflakes - 2
9.        Crispy rice cereals – 0.5
10.      Seeded breads – 0.05

Megan Harrison, spokesperson for Warburtons, added: “Happiness and mood are very complex human emotions affected by a variety of factors, but what surprised us was the significant influence that smell and taste had on participants’ overall happiness ratings, with foods such as buttered toast, brioche and crumpets scoring particularly well compared to cereals.”

The report was commissioned by Warburtons, the UK’s number one branded baker as part of their campaign to highlight the importance of starting each day with a balanced, tasty breakfast.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :


  1. a cinnamon cake makes me happy in the morning

  2. Pineapple always makes me feel happier, I think it's because it's so tasty and packed full of vitamins.

  3. A simple toast with strawberry jam and a cup of coffee immediately brightens up my morning!

  4. Really interesting, something I've not thought about before but I definitely favour hot buttered white toast, quick and easy and very tasty.

  5. I tend to have porridge and banana for breakfast

  6. I like a nice warm croissant covered in margarine, yum!


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