What’s cooking: 91% of Brits intend to cook as much, or more, over the year ahead

People are experimenting more in the kitchen: on average, one third of households have added a dish to their weekly ‘go-to’ evening meals over the last year.
February 26, 2021
  • People are experimenting more in the kitchen: on average, one third of households have added a dish to their weekly ‘go-to’ evening meals over the last year
  • While the classics have continued to be popular, lighter options such as fish and potatoes, and meat-free dishes such as vegetarian curry, have seen fast growth
  • Health remains a key priority:  81% of people want to eat more healthily over the year ahead

In its first report looking at the nation’s cooking habits and mealtime occasions, the Premier Foods Kitchen Cooking Index has found that 91% intend to cook the same amount, or more, over the year ahead and the majority of Brits (73%) have enjoyed cooking meals at home over the past 12 months[1].

As well as enjoyment (42%), the big drivers as to why people plan to cook more at home include the cost saving potential (58%) and the health benefits (55%). Men rate enjoyment as a bigger driver for cooking at home in the next year than women do at 45% vs 40%[1].

How and what people cook in the pandemic have also seen changes. British households have turned away from ready meals and are instead opting to do a little bit more in the kitchen. People are also expanding their repertoires: on average, one third of British households have added a new dish to their weekly evening meal routines – the biggest increase in five years[2].

While the nation’s favourite evening meals have continued to prove popular, people have increasingly sought to add variety to their evenings. Lighter options such as fish and potatoes, as well as meat-free dishes such as vegetarian curry and vegetarian pasta are amongst the dishes that have seen the fastest growth since the start of the pandemic. Overall, the trend we have seen over the last few years towards vegan and vegetarian meals also continued to grow: with plant-based (vegan) meals up 46% compared to the previous year, and vegetarian up 25%[3].

Households have also looked to try new things and incorporate different flavours, with taste the top consideration when choosing their evening meal. Chutneys and relishes, world ingredients (such as poppadoms and curry pastes), and cooking sauces have all featured more frequently in our evening meals, up by 32%, 23% and 11% respectively[4].

With restaurants closed for much of the last year, people have also increasingly sought to replicate the eating out experience in the home. Friday and Saturday ‘treat dinners’ have gone up 25% compared to before the pandemic[5] and 54% have tried their hand at a ‘fakeaway’ – recreating their favourite takeaway at home. Nearly two fifths (18%) have made a ‘fakeaway’ on average at least once a month[1].

Alex Whitehouse, Chief Executive Officer at Premier Foods commented: “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, for ourselves and our loved ones.

“But perhaps more importantly, it seems we are really enjoying it. While the last year has been difficult for people across the country, for many, cooking and enjoying meals together has become a really important part of getting through it. What is great to see is that, even when we look ahead to a time when things have returned to normal, the majority of us want to keep cooking the same amount or more.”

MOST POPULAR EVENING DISHES DURING THE PANDEMIC[3]

Dish % of total evening meal occasions
1 Italian Food (Pasta/Risotto) 11.2%
2 Roast Dinners 5.7%
3 Indian Food 4.9%
4 Oriental Food (incl. Thai) 4.5%
5 Sandwiches 3.7%
6 Vegetarian Dishes 3.4%
7 Mexican Food 2.6%
8 Mince Dishes 2.4%
9 Salad 2.1%
10 Stew/Casserole 2.1%

FASTEST GROWING EVENING DISHES DURING THE PANDEMIC[3]

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

About the research:

  • The polling was conducted by YouGov on behalf of Premier Foods, between 4th 5th February 2021. Total sample size was 2,084 adults. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
  • All other statistics are derived from Kantar’s Usage panel for the 52-week period ending 29th November 2020. All figures are compared with the same period the previous year, unless otherwise stated.

 

[1] YouGov survey of 2,084 adults, February 2021
[2] Kantar, Usage data, Individual weekly repertoires at the evening meal, 36 w/e 29th November 2020 vs 52 w/e 22nd March 2020
[3] Kantar Usage panel, savoury foods at lunch/evening meal, in home & carried out, 36 w/e 29th November 2020 vs previous year
[4] Kantar Usage panel, 12 w/e 29th November 2020 vs. 12 w/e 1st December 2019
[5] Kantar Usage panel, 36 w/e 29th November 2020 vs previous year