In addition, the company's first Kitchen cooking index report, published on 26 February, has revealed that fish and potatoes and vegetarian curries were the fastest growing evening dishes.****
The research confirms theories suggesting that the coronavirus crisis has fuelled a paradigm shift in shopper habits. With many people having rediscovered domestic cookery, 91% of those polled in the YouGov survey said they aimed to cook the same amount or more over the year ahead. The top three reasons for this were cited as cost savings, health benefits and sheer enjoyment.
One area that has been hit by the consumer shift has been ready meals, the research suggests. 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 (Kantar Usage 36 w/e 29 Nov 2020 vs. 52 w/e 22 Mar 2020).
Vegan and vegetarian meals
Overall, the trend of the past 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% (Kantar Usage panel, savoury foods at lunch/evening meal, in home & carried out, 36 w/e 29 Nov 20 vs previous year).
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 poppadom and curry pastes), and cooking sauces have all featured more frequently in our evening meals, up by 32%, 23% and 11% respectively.****
With restaurants closed for much of the last year, people also increasingly sought to replicate the eating out experience in the home, the research indicated. Consumption of Friday and Saturday ‘treat dinners’ had risen 25% compared to before the pandemic (Kantar Usage panel, 36 w/e 29 Nov 2020 vs previous year). More than half of the respondents claimed to have tried their hand at a ‘fakeaway’ – recreating their favourite takeaway at home. Nearly two fifths had made a ‘fakeaway’ on average at least once a month.
Britain 'reconnecting with cooking'
Alex Whitehouse, chief executive officer, Premier Foods, said: “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****
% of total evening meal occasions
Italian food (pasta, risotto)
Oriental food (incl Thai)
Fish & potatoes
Chicken & mash
Chicken & potatoes
Southern fried chicken
Pie & chips
Pie & mash
**** Kantar Usage panel, 12 w/e 29 Nov 2020 vs. 12w/e 01 Dec 2019
The polling was conducted by YouGov on behalf of Premier Foods, between 4-5 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+).