The rising cost of living has forced families to change their cooking habits and our UK-wide Good Food Nation survey of more than 3000 adults and kids reveals even our beloved roast dinner is facing the chop.
Families are changing their daily shopping, cooking and eating habits in an attempt to save money in the face of the rising cost of living. The key findings from the 2022 Good Food Nation report, which asked 2005 adults and 1007 children (aged 5 to 16) about their eating habits, pointed towards a more frugal approach with many respondents adopting new regimes in order to cut their shopping costs.
Meal planning is key
Planning meals in advance (28%) and batch-cooking (23%) were two of the most popular ways people felt they could control costs when cooking. One way to meal plan is freezing ingredients or your batch cooked meals. Our results show that 22% of respondents now eat more frozen food.
More ideas for meal planning:
The impact of energy price increases
Impending bill rises for gas and electricity have also had an impact, with 23% saying they use the oven and hob less, and 21% who say they use the microwave more for cooking. There’s also change in the type of things people cook, as 19% claim to use quicker-to-cook ingredients and also look for speedy recipes to save on energy use. This could mean some of our customs and traditions are under threat.
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More on microwave cooking and reducing energy use:
Less cooking and baking
Among those who cook, 26% claim they are less likely to make a Sunday roast, and with 20% not baking as many cakes or biscuits, our beloved teatime could look quite different as well. Some people have even closed the oven door for good, with 18% claiming that they no longer switch it on.
More ideas for saving time and money on Sunday lunch:
Limiting food waste to reduce cost
There is still an eagerness to learn among those we asked, with over half the respondents (52%) keen to discover new budget-friendly recipes so they can continue to eat interesting meals. And this tightening of the budget has had a small but positive impact in the way we consume, with more than three in five people (64%) agreeing that they are cutting back on food waste in order to save money. Children have strong opinions on budgeting, too. When asked what they thought their family could be doing to save on costs when cooking, the top responses were using up food they already have in the house (61%) and buying cheaper ingredients (55%). Children also saw the impact of the cost of living increase in other areas, with 48% of their families ordering fewer takeaway meals and 31% saying they ate out on fewer occasions, whether in cafés, restaurants or fast food. 19% of respondents also reported planning meals around ingredients they already have that are about to expire to save on costs for other full meals.
More advice on food waste and making food go further:
Saving on packed lunches
Another money-saving tactic the kids have embraced is taking packed lunches to school instead of paying for school dinners (15%) with noticeable cutbacks on different items that they would normally have (32%).
Ideas on how you could save on kids’ lunches:
Notable change in shopping habits
Our results show that people’s food habits reflect the current energy and food price increases, with common ingredients being left on the shelves and swapped for cheaper alternatives. Alongside fewer takeaways and meals out, respondents to our survey buy less alcohol (22%), red meat (20%) snacks not included in meals (20%), cream (13%) and butter (11%), which has seen a notable price rise this year. 15% have stopped food delivery boxes per month, with 30% swapping branded items for supermarket own brands, 26% avoiding overbuying produce and 25% shopping less frequently by doing one main food shop to last until the next. 22% also recorded that they shop around for deals and reductions rather than sticking to one supermarket.
More advice on shopping:
This research, commissioned by Immediate Media, was conducted by Censuswide between 8-10 August 2022.
A total of 3,012 respondents participated. 2,005 were general consumers 16+ and 1,007 were children aged 5-16. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles. The survey is not nationally representative.