The UK: A nation of cooks (not couch potatoes)

Recent research* from website Great British Chefs has shown that the UK is in fact a nation of cooks, in love with cooking and obsessed with all things foodie.

Cooking has become both a passion and a hobby in the UK with 65% of Brits believing that food is one of the great pleasures in their life and over 50% agreeing that they enjoy talking about food and what they are planning to eat.

With the accessibility of exciting new ingredients, the popularity of food programmes and the ever influential bloggersphere, social media and celebrity endorsed recipe books we’re taking the kitchen by storm, with a whopping 68% claiming they love/enjoy cooking. Interestingly, a further 67% of Brits agree that they like to try new recipes, and 30% are cooking more than five times a week. We’re not shy about our cooking skills too, with only 8% considering themselves to be below average.

You might think that the UK is a nation gripped by the trend for plant based diets but this research concludes we should not all believe the hysteria as only 3% of Brits are, according to the survey, vegan. In fact, a significant 79% of people aren’t cutting out/avoiding any food products.

However, health is at the forefront of people’s food choices with over 55% claiming to be careful about what they are eating and seeking to control their intake of sugar, salt and fat. This supports recent research from Kantar Worldpanel which notes healthy groceries such as avocado and spinach as the fastest selling items last year. Another example includes Pret A Manger, who reported record results driven by their coconut porridge, a healthy alternative to normal porridge using red quinoa, coconut milk and coconut water.

Perhaps the two most interesting points from a brand perspective relate to geography and audience. The survey challenges the traditional presumption that AB consumers are ‘into’ food. The survey notes that there is a core audience prepared to pay for quality and seek out unusual products/artisanal brands but it does not consist of just AB/high income earners. In addition, as you might expect, London wins as the area most interested in/in love with cooking but the study concludes that more areas in the north love cooking than in the South.

So what might the rest of the year look like?

  • Healthy food choices as a nationwide trend and not limited to millennials nor the metropolitan
  • Brits opting for a vegan lifestyle will remain low overall but there may be an increased interest amongst younger age groups – the survey reported 18-24 year olds as being the largest age bracket for choosing veganism
  • Ever increasing love affair with cooking and all things foodie – from buying the latest kitchen gadget (because who doesn’t need an egg boiler, poacher and steamer?) to watching the latest foodie TV programme (Friday nights sorted)

That’s all from me now, back to the kitchen…

*In March 2017, Great British Chefs conducted a comprehensive survey with 2,007 consumers who were recruited to reflect the UK population (aged 18–74). The same survey was run with the Great British Chefs audience and weighted to reflect the demographics of their website visitors, according to Google Analytics. Together, these two surveys provide a unique insight into the UK’s love affair with food and allows us to understand how our audience compares to the general population. www.greatbritishchefs.com