Office Fridge Theft – The Wild West of the Workplace.

We’ve all heard stories about the office fridge, from the unbelievable to the downright disgusting, but how much of what we hear is actually true? Are our colleagues really all fridge bandits? Does everyone try to avoid their gross office fridge for fear of contracting as-yet-undiscovered diseases?

We surveyed 400 UK office workers to find the truth. Here’s what we found:

More than 1 in 4 office workers has fallen victim to office fridge crime

The rumours are probably true – you may have suspected that your Manager has been helping themselves to your other half’s fantastic cooking and our results suggest there’s more than a 1 in 4 chance that it happened. It’s unlikely that you’d left it at home, or that you’d misplaced it on the way to work, if we’re being honest.

Interestingly, when we asked the same group whether they’d stolen food from their colleagues, only 7% owned up. We’ve either surveyed only the finest, most upstanding individuals in the country, or people aren’t telling us the entire truth.

We’ll let you decide.

36% of office workers say they’ve been deterred by ownership labels or warnings on their colleagues’ food

The vigilante fridge fightback is underway. More than a third of the UK’s office workers see offence as the best form of defence – if my name is on it, and everyone knows my name is on it, then we know where we stand. Hands off.

All we’d say on this is that it’ll take a lot of Sellotape to stop those fridge bandits. Or so we’ve heard.

18-24 year olds are twice as likely to have their food stolen than older colleagues

We have a theory on this one. It’s possible that the 18-24 year olds we asked sent a company-wide email rather than labelling their food, and there’s no way that it’s as effective as an in-fridge, strongly scribbled post-it note. There’s something about the handwritten approach that instils more fear.

We aren’t bitter about the fact that this generation is more digitally savvy than any generation that has been before. Honest.

Two-thirds of office workers earning below the average UK salary are bringing their own food to the office to save money

Yes, you read that correctly. It might be that you’re one of the better paid in your office and don’t have an issue buying your lunch at work every day, but for many of your colleagues right now, it seems that money is tight.

With inflation forecast to peak at 13.2% in October, and with money needed elsewhere in the household, it’s no surprise that 71% of households with income lower than £31,772 are having to cut back on the lunch luxuries.

56% of office workers have found mouldy or out of date food in the fridge in the last 3 months

Whose job is it anyway? I’m not the Office Manager! What do you mean it’s not their job to clean up after their gross colleagues, I thought that’s what we hired them for?!

Whoever is responsible, Britain has some truly grubby office fridges. Most of us will have seen the odd bottle of curdled milk or some butter from 2002, but we were stunned to read that more than half of the UK’s office workers have been faced with such horrors in just the last 3 months. Britain, do better.

68% of respondents say they are concerned about hygiene and cleanliness in their office fridge

Now, given the statistic we just shared about how much out of date food is in the average fridge, this comes as no surprise. At least those who are concerned about the hygiene risk aren’t likely to steal from you.

Perhaps this is the bulk of the three-quarters who aren’t coming near your food. Is a dirty fridge a low-crime fridge? We may be onto something here.

42% of office workers are concerned that the fridge won’t have space to store their food

We fully get this one, which is why we have two fridges in our office. Once you’ve accounted for a 50% condiment to lunch ratio, you’re not going to be able to accommodate everyone’s meals, especially if your colleague has done their weekly shop and left it here until they go home.

It happens – 27% of respondents said they’d seen full bags of groceries in there in the last 3 months. Really?!

There’s quite a lot of data to dissect here, but we hope this gives you some idea of how your own office fridge stacks up against the UK’s average office fridge. Have you found fridge related crime to be worse than this? Are you one of the 18-24 year olds who can’t catch a break?

Why not drop us a line and tell us about your workplace kitchen situation – it might just be that we can offer you a vending machine, coffee machine, smart fridge or micro market to take the fridge anxiety away once, and for all.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, we keep our clients’ machines and fridges clean and tidy with regular operator visits. Our wonderful team hate grime as much as you do.

Fair Use Statement: We’d love for you to share our stories – all we ask is that you link back to our original article on

Methodology: We surveyed 400 UK based, fully office-located workers for their views on Respondents answered 6 multiple choice questions, and consented to the use of demographic datapoints, including age, income, job role, seniority and location.