Lockdown lifts interest in home-cooking: 91% of Brits plan to cook ‘as much, or more’ this year

By Katy Askew contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: COVID-19, Home cooking

The closure of out-of-home foodservice channels and having more time on our hands during lockdown has raised interest in home-cooking and, new research suggests, this trend could have sticking power when restrictions ease.

Premier Foods released details on the UK’s attitude to food in its first Kitchen Cooking Index​. The YouGov survey results show that Brits have enjoyed the opportunity to get into the kitchen during COVID-19 lockdowns. 73% of people said they have enjoyed cooking over the last 12 months.

And the majority expect to keep it up in the coming year, even as lockdown lifts. 91% of respondents said they want to cook as much or more over the next 12 months.

“It’s great to see Britain reconnect with cooking again, spending more time in the kitchen to experiment with different flavours and create new, often healthier, dishes,”​ Premier Foods CEO Alex Whitehouse said.

“But perhaps more importantly it seems we are really enjoying it… Even when we look ahead to a time when things have returned to normal, the majority of us want to keep cooking.”

So, what is motivating the change? Premier Foods found that it isn’t all about enjoyment. 58% of people plan to cook more at home to save money and 55% believe home cooking delivers health benefits.

With 81% of people saying they want to eat more healthily this year, Premier noted health remains a ‘key priority’.

How and what people cook has also changed in the pandemic, the data suggests. People are turning away from ready meals. As they grow their culinary confidence, UK consumers are getting more adventurous in what they cook. One-third of British households have added a new dish to their weekday meal routine.

As people seek out more variety, Premier noted ‘lighter options’ such as fish and potatoes and vegetarian dishes, like vegetable curry or pasta, have seen the fastest growth since the start of the pandemic. Vegan meals were up 46% on last year, while vegetarian meals gained 25%.

Top ten fastest growing dishes during the pandemic

  1. Fish & potatoes 
  2. Vegetarian curry 
  3. Chicken & mash
  4. Chicken & potatoes 
  5. Southern fried chicken 
  6. Pie & chips 
  7. Vegetarian pasta 
  8. Pie & mash
  9. Toast 
  10. BBQ

Chutneys and relishes feature in feature in 32% more meals, the use of ‘world ingredients’ rose by 23% and the use of cooking sauces gained 11%.

Old favourites are still popular though, with Italian food (pasta and risotto), roast dinners and Indian food making up the top three most frequently consumed dinners.

Top ten fastest growing evening dishes during the pandemic 

Meal

% of total evening meal occasions

Italian Food (pasta/risoto)

11.2%

Roast Dinners

5.7%

Indian Food

4.9%

Oriental Food 

4.5%

Sandwiches

3.7%

Vegetarian Dishes 

3.4%

Mexican Food

2.6%

Mince Dishes

2.4%

Salad

2.1%

Stew / Casserole 

2.1%

Related topics: Market Trends, Diet and health, COVID-19

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