The end of the Sunday roast and ovens switched off for good?


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27 September 2022
BBC Good Food Nation survey reveals cost of living impact on how we shop, cook and eat.

THE annual Good Food Nation survey from BBC Good Food has revealed the extent of the changes people across the UK are making to their shopping, cooking and eating habits to try to save money in the face of cost of living increases.
The key findings from the 2022 Good Food Nation report, which surveyed 2005 adults and 1007 children (aged five to 16), has revealed a large proportion of respondents making extensive changes in order to cut costs.

The rising cost of energy bills has had an impact with 23% saying they use the oven and hob less, and microwave more (21%) for cooking. There are also changes 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. 

Among those who cook, 26% claim they are less likely to cook a Sunday roast and with 20% not cooking as many cakes or biscuits. Some people have closed the oven door for good with 18% saying they no longer switch it on.  

Planning meals in advance (28%) and batch cooking (23%) were two of the most popular ways people felt they could control costs, as well as 20% of people saying they specifically looked for money off stickers or yellow stickers on food when shopping.

Takeaways and eating out look to be in decline, with 34% of people saying they have stopped buying or are buying fewer takeaways and 31% say they are eating out less.

Over half the respondents (52%) said they were 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 over 3 in 5 (64%) agreeing that they are cutting back on food waste in order to save money.

Christine Hayes, Editor in Chief of BBC Good Food, said: “These findings reveal the extent to which rising food prices and energy costs have impacted on the way the nation eats in a relatively short space of time. Traditional cooking methods, the oven and the hob, are being switched off in favour of appliances that use less energy, and shopping baskets and mealtimes at home are looking very different.  People have told us they are eating out less and ordering fewer takeaways, and more children are taking packed lunches to school. It’s also become clear that people are very conscious of not wasting food and are looking for ways to use up leftovers and be creative with the ingredients they have.”

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Children aged five to 16 were also surveyed on their cooking and eating habits – and 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 (61%) and buying cheaper ingredients (55%). 

Children reported seeing 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 cafes, restaurants or fast food. Other saving measures included a change to taking packed lunches to school instead of having school dinners (15%). 

The findings include:

  • The top 5 meals/foods respondents are not cooking as much of owing to the cost of ingredients and energy:
  • 26% - Roast meat/dinner
  • 26% - Anything too long on the gas/electric hob
  • 20% - Baking cakes and/or biscuits 
  • 18% - Casseroles/stews in the oven
  • 18% - Anything that goes in the oven

How shopping habits have changed:

  • 30% swap from brands to own labels
  • 28% cut back on more expensive ingredients
  • 26% avoid overbuying ingredients
  • 26% plan meals in advance
  • 25% shop less frequently
  • 22% shop around rather than sticking to one shop
  • 20% shop for food with yellow/money-off stickers
  • 19% plan meals using leftovers
  • 19% plan meals using ingredients they already have that are about to expire
  • 17% eat less meat

The top 5 ways respondents said changing the way they cook/eat to save costs has impacted them:

  • 31% - I eat out less
  • 22% - I eat more of the same meals 
  • 15% - I have changed the type of meals I cook 
  • 12% - I don't have as much variety on my plate
  • 10% - I am less adventurous with foods I have never tried 

What people have stopped buying or are buying less/fewer:

  • 34% takeaways
  • 22% alcohol
  • 20% red meat
  • 20% snacks not used for meals
  • 16% organic produce
  • 15% food delivery boxes
  • 13% cream
  • 12% fish
  • 11% butter
  • 10% cheese

What children said has impacted them and their family due to rising costs:

  • 48% having fewer takeaways
  • 32% have made cut-backs on different items
  • 31% eat fast food/in cafés/in restaurants less often
  • 22% eat more frozen food
  • 15% have packed lunches not school lunches
  • 15% eat more tinned and packet food
  • 15% eat different meals to what we would normally eat
  • 12% have school lunches not packed lunches

Photo by Sebastian Coman Photography

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