Studies show that the increasing number of house shares means fewer people are using their kitchens, with more relying on takeaways on a regular basis.
You get in from a long, hard day at work and close the door behind you, shutting out the cold, dark and miserable weather outside. You’re starving hungry and need to eat, but can you really be bothered to cook?
You know it’s the healthier, cheaper option but the extra time it takes to find a recipe, prep the food and then cook it – not to mention the washing up afterwards – can be deeply off-putting, especially when your stomach is already rumbling. Or perhaps you live in a shared home where your housemate has got back first and has already commandeered the kitchen?
Whatever the reason, sometimes, cooking is just not that appealing and research carried out by Hammonds Furniture has yielded results that reflect that trend. So, what do the numbers tell us and why are we not using our kitchens?
Sometimes, the instant gratification we experience from getting a takeaway is hard to resist. It’s delivered to our door in double-quick time with minimal effort on our part and there’s no washing up or wiping down of the worktops to worry about once it’s eaten.
All of these reasons are contributing to people in the UK spending an eye-watering £2.7 billion per month on takeaways, while the average Brit makes just four meals a week from scratch and over two million of us never cook any meals in this way.
Those in the 25-34 age bracket are more likely to raid the menu drawer when it comes to sorting their meals, spending £65 on five takeaways each month while those aged 65 and above spend less than half that at £28.60 and order in just one and a half times a month.
Although takeaways are a frequent choice for many, artisan pasta maker Silvana Lanzetta fears they can have a negative impact on more than just our culinary expertise:
“Takeaways give the impression that they save you time which you can use to enjoy yourself, relax, or have some family bonding time. However, we usually just end up in front of the TV or on social media after we’ve ordered,” she says.
“Cooking together is a great way to bond with your family, cooking alone is wonderful for relaxation, and as you’ll be using fresh, unprocessed ingredients, you’ll know exactly what you’re eating. Seeing cooking as a chore is leading to more processed, convenience food (including takeaways), which has a detrimental effect on both our physical and mental health.”
The rising popularity of takeaway food has also been influenced by the greater amount of choice readily available. Services like Deliveroo and Uber Eats mean your options are no longer limited to the traditional cuisines such as curries, kebabs and pizzas. Instead, you can opt for a three-course extravaganza from one of your favourite high street restaurants.
Studies show that more of us than ever before are living in shared accommodation into middle age and beyond, with property prices – especially in London – contributing to that trend. In fact, the survey carried out by Hammonds Furniture revealed that 22% of people living in the capital choose to cook less frequently because they share a kitchen.
Those shared areas mean storage space can be at a premium, with less room to keep any utensils or ingredients that might help you cook up a storm in the kitchen. On top of that, it stands to reason that if your housemate has ventured into the kitchen before you, you might prefer to seek other options than wait your turn before satisfying your hungry stomach. All of these reasons contribute to people in London spending an average of £71.80 per month on takeaways – but how does that compare to other cities around the UK?
Well, 10% of people in Bristol are deterred from cooking because of their shared kitchen, and spend a whopping £95.30 each month on ordering in. Residents of Leeds are also relatively big spenders (£53.50) when it comes to takeaway food, while those living in Newcastle (£28.50) and Sheffield (£30.30) come in at the other end of the scale, spending the least each month.
“These results show that the UK public see cooking as an activity that takes time, patience and skill, and turn to takeaways to save time. However, there are so many simple, quick, convenient and tasty recipes available out there, that convenience is not really an excuse,” says Kirsty Oakes, Head of Displays and Marketing at Hammonds Furniture.
“It’s understandable that those living in house shares may feel a bit apprehensive to use the kitchen, but cooking doesn’t have to mean hours slaving over the stove. Simply 20 minutes, and then a five-minute clean-up time is more than enough time to make something delicious and healthy.”