It's not the healthiest way to start the day, but Britons are devouring more burgers first thing in the morning.

Last year, over 100 million burgers were consumed for breakfast away from home, an increase of more than 6% on 2012, according to the NPD market research group.

Around one in 12 of these burger helpings were eaten before 11am, compared with one in 16 five years ago.

The demand for burgers as a tasty early snack is rising, putting them on the top ten list of British breakfast foods – at the number eight.

However, the NPD poll found that the bacon sandwich is the UK's most popular breakfast meal, with more than 268 million eaten in 2013.

Croissants are at the bottom of the list, showing that Britons identify in the taste stakes with Americans rather than Europeans.

"When people eat breakfast, perhaps on the way to work, or in the office, or as a treat at weekends, burgers are clearly growing in popularity," Jack MacIntyre, UK foodservice account manager for NPD told BigHospitality.

"But the breakfast classics like servings of good old-fashioned bacon sandwiches, toast, eggs, sausage and baked beans are unlikely to be toppled any time soon."

To meet demand, more burger chains are coming to the UK, including American chain Shake Shack which is opening in London for the first time.

In the United States, according to an ABC poll, cold cereal is the most common breakfast food, cited by 31% of those who eat breakfast. Around 39% of Americans have eaten cold pizza first thing in the morning.

The most expensive burger in the world cost $332,000 (£199,000), and was made up of billions of lab-grown cells. The five-ounce burger was developed by Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands and funded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

Post is one of a group of scientists experimenting with new ways to grow meat in laboratories as an alternative to raising livestock. However, those who tasted the burger said it was dry and lacking in flavour.

Top 10 British breakfast foods
Bacon sandwich 268.1m
Toast 247.0m
Eggs 198.0m
Sausage 196.6m
Baked beans 151.7m
Hash browns 133.7m
Breakfast sandwich 116.6m
Burger 100.1m
Cereal 99.6m
Croissants 91.0m

Source: NPD Group