Pupils in UK primary and secondary schools will have compulsory cooking lessons from September this year – as new research from Mintel suggests less than a third of British people aged 16-24 are confident in the kitchen.
The market research organisation found 16% of 16-to-24-year-olds living in shared accommodation still had parents or guardians cooking for them. Just 27% of young people cooked from scratch most days, compared to 54% of those aged over 55.
“Our research reveals some relatively discouraging attitudes which 16-24s harbour towards cooking, which could be having a detrimental effect on their diet,” said Alex Beckett, global food and drink analyst at Mintel. “In particular, 16-24s are the least likely to have a confident and valued perception of cooking, and they are the most likely group to perceive cooking as stressful.”
What do young people eat?
The market researcher found that young people often relied on prepared foods, like ready meals, pizza or soup, with 68% of those aged 16-24 eating such foods more than once a week.
Mintel found that only 30% of those in this age bracket said they felt confident in the kitchen, compared to 39% of UK adults as a whole. Sixteen per cent said they found cooking stressful, compared to 11% of UK adults on average.
“Considering obesity rates in the UK are climbing, and this country has the highest rate of childhood obesity in Western Europe, the need to encourage young adults to cook and eat healthily is perhaps imperative,” said Beckett.
Under the UK government’s new proposals, children will be taught how to put together balanced meals and basic cooking skills from the age of eight.
However, Mintel also found that British people across all ages were generally enthusiastic about cooking, with about one in three (34%) saying they found cooking relaxing, and 19% saying they liked to experiment with new recipes at the weekend.