Traditional meals in long-term decline, finds study

Family meals and time-consuming dishes, such as traditional meat roasts, are in long-term decline, according to Kantar Worldpanel research, commissioned by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).

The study showed that only 10% cook for a family of four today, while the number of people cooking for themselves has increased from 33% in 1980 to 44% in 2014.

HCC explained that the popularity of roast dinners has dropped 8.4% year on year, and blamed younger consumers for the decline because they “are not investing their time in meals that require a degree of effort”.

The research also revealed statistics highlighting how time spent on cooking meals had dropped. In 1980, people spent an hour making their meals; in 1990 they spent 45 minutes; while today the average has dropped to 31 minutes.

Sue Franklin, HCC’s UK market development executive, said: “Research has shown that consumers are moving towards dish-based cuisine, such as chillis, curries, and spaghetti bolognese and away from traditional roasts.

“Convenience is crucial nowadays, as people lead fast-moving lifestyles that don’t allow for long periods of time spent in the kitchen. According to the research, five evening meals are usually eaten at home, one is eaten out and one is skipped entirely during an average week.”

The data showed that the use of microwaves has increased by 7% since 1980, with 12% of all meals being cooked in a microwave now. There has also been a 13% growth in evening consumption of manufactured meals, reported HCC.

Franklin added: “The need for speed is emphasised by consumers calling almost one in six meal occasions a “light bite”.

“Also, the move to simplicity is reducing meals to two simple preparation stages, such as frying mince and adding an ingredient such as cooking rice to accompany a curry.”

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