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Young Brits hate cooking, according to survey

1st March 2017
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Young people in Britain are still averse to cooking their meals from scratch, according to Co-op.

27% of millennials are “not interested” in learning how to cook and 31% can only create a “limited repertoire” of dishes, according to the research.

Despite this, 29% are bored of eating the same meals every week – and 22% are inspired to cook by TV chefs.

So, despite the fact that 55% of those surveyed enjoy cooking and celeb chefs like Jamie and Nigella are obviously having an influence, why aren’t young people getting in the kitchen?

There are a number of reasons, according to Co-op’s research.

The last 30 years has seen 54% decline in home cooking, and this is being attributed to the increased popularity of eating out - which is now seen as more of a regular occurrence than a special treat.

School is also been blamed for young people’s lack of cookery skill, with 26% of those surveyed saying their lessons weren’t adequate and only 16% saying they learnt anything at all.

Time is also key. The rise of “assisted cooking” – for example buying ready-made sauces or prepared salads – led a massive 85% of those surveyed to say that food being “quick and easy” to prepare is the most important factor in what they eat. When they do eat at home, 35% want to spend 30 minutes or less cooking their evening meal.

16 – 24 year olds aren’t confident in the technical side of cooking either – 37% don’t know which ingredients or flavours go together, making them less likely to experiment. This age group is also the most likely to find the process of cooking stressful.

Added to this, the number of 20 – 34 year olds who either still live with their parents or have moved home has risen 25% since 1996 – meaning many are finding cooking for themselves less of a necessity. 37% of those who can’t cook plan to learn when they leave home, whilst a worrying 24% think they’ll never learn.

Co-op, along with SORTEDfood, are on a mission to change this, though.

SORTEDfood is a global community of two million 18 – 35 year olds, launched in 2010, that is aiming to change the conversation around food through the sharing of recipes via “the world’s largest cooking conversation.”

Jamie Spafford, co-founder of SORTEDfood, says: “We’ve been surprised at the depth of the problem in the UK.

“Food has become not just physical sustenance but also a social currency - our generation often look for recognition of their food across social media and they want to be inspired with new, novel and different ways of cooking, yet this age of cooks is slowly dying out if millennials aren’t better equipped to learn to cook.”

SORTEDfood and Co-op have teamed up to change the nation’s cooking habits, launching Now Cook It -  a free cookery course for those who missed out on learning essential cooking skills at school - in January this year.

Now Cook It is “the first step to addressing the cooking skills gap”. Find out more about Now Cook It here.

The survey of 4,000 respondents was carried out in April 2016 by Co-op and SORTEDfood. 

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