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Zeco Chapter 1: Sustainable Breakfast Bar

Greenpeace revealed there are 56.5bn units of single-use plastic packaging sold annually in the UK, from which we can assume a large percentage to be from breakfast and brunch food. About 99% of plastic packaging is also made from fossil fuels.  A recent report from the charity Recoup shows that only a third of yoghurt pots, ready meal trays and other containers were collected for recycling in 2016-17, with the rest of the two thirds being sent to landfill.

At Zeal, we are taking sustainability into our own hands. For the first week of July, we’ve partnered with Leeds Refills Zero Waste Shop to create our own agency breakfast bar! Owned by Ian Thursfield , Leeds Refills’ main goal is to help you to reduce the amount of single-use plastic used to get products to you! They aim to source all of their food and products in plastic-free or very minimal packaging to help cut the plastic supply chain.

Aside from the personal benefits of a breakfast bar being healthy and delicious, it has great environmental benefits too.


Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?

It is recommended that you eat breakfast within 2 hours after waking up to kickstart your metabolism. As you can imagine, rushing around after children or running about to get to work in the morning can make it hard to fit any kind of breakfast in. On the off chance there’s time for breakfast, it is usually a sugar filled cereal or a measly looking banana. It is easy to get swept up into eating whatever is easiest in the mornings, and often the cereals advertised as ‘healthy’ are crammed with additives, sugar and are packaged in single use plastic!

Breakfast bar

How have breakfast habits changed?

The pandemic (sorry to mention it) has greatly shifted how the UK eats breakfast. ‘More than three-quarters (78%) of those who worked from home in some capacity said that being able to work from home gave them an improved work life balance in February 2022’ and ‘almost half also reported improved well-being (47%)’.

Working from home has freed up so much time in the morning. People are taking this extra for themselves, be that to sleep, to go to the gym, or to walk the dog. Whatever it is, it has created a more solid morning routine, one including time to sit down and enjoy breakfast. So now we have time to eat breakfast, there is no excuse to not eating sustainably! The changes can be as simple as making overnight oats for the week ahead. That way you are saving money, eating healthier and reducing your reliance on plastic packaging (fruit salads from the shop and so on) for breakfast!


Guilt free breakfast

Following a survey, we found out that over 1/3 of our team buys coffee from a shop and bins the cup when it is empty, instead of using their own reusable cups. Whilst we cannot stop people from nipping to the local coffee shop, nor would we ever want to, we are making changes. To reduce the amount of waste we have from coffee tins and cups, and money spent on unnecessary packaging, we are trialling the refillable coffee from Leeds Refills.

Our survey also revealed that 8 people skip breakfast entirely, which as we know can lead to a decrease in focus, motivation and energy. 12 people eat breakfast in the office, and for those that already do and those who want to make use of the breakfast bar, it will be nice to sit down with each other and talk (don’t worry non morning people, we’re not forcing you), and have a gentler start to the morning.


Zeal’s breakfast of champions

  • Oats – are incredibly nutritious and packed with tonnes of important vitamins and minerals. Also, they are known as  slow burning carbohydrates, so you’ll have more energy for longer, and you won’t hit the sugar crash wall
  • Banana chips – are a great source of vitamin A, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and potassium. In small amounts, banana chips
  • Dried apricots – similar to banana chips, they contain vitamin A, phosphorus, and potassium as well as fibre, calcium and vitamin C
  • Dark chocolate chipstouted as a cholesterol-lowering food, nutritious and has lower added sugars and fats compared to milk chocolate

For the month of July, we will be making changes to become a more sustainable office, as well as showcasing the best sustainable dinner spots in Leeds – if you can’t tell, we’re a very hungry agency. We hope you stick around and take inspiration from our efforts!


We are cereallously looking forward to it!