A report from The Food Standards Agency showed that in 2020, 73% of people who made changes to their eating habits stated it was due to the pandemic and lockdowns.
Spending more time at home with the family meant meal times became the highlight of the day, and many people were putting more emphasis on what they chose to eat.
The lockdowns gave people the chance to adapt their habits in whichever way they wanted - some chose to follow rigorous exercise and healthy eating routines, whereas others turned to food as a source of comfort during a very difficult time.
Families whose schedules often didn’t align were suddenly able to spend much more time together, and a home cooked meal proved a great way to bond as a family. We also saw social media timelines be overtaken by images of people’s latest bakes of banana bread and other culinary adventures. With more time to commit to a hobby, such as cooking and baking, it was clear that many people’s culinary skills would improve.
After coming out of the pandemic, Rangemaster wondered what the long lasting effects were of the pandemic on our eating and cooking habits.
That’s why we conducted a nationwide survey to see how Britain adapted in the aftermath of the pandemic - and the results were overwhelmingly positive.
How our eating habits have changed
The latest Health Survey for England from the NHS showed that 64% of adults were overweight. Childhood obesity also proved to be an issue with over 25% of children aged 10-11 classed as obese and a further 15.4% overweight.
But how have the lockdowns affected our eating habits? And have we come out better or worse on the other side?
4 in 10 people are now making healthier eating choices
The nationwide and nationally representative survey that we conducted showed that a huge 43% of people say that they now make healthier eating choices compared to before the first lockdown. This is an overwhelmingly positive step in the right direction, with only 8% saying they now make less healthy choices.
Britain is becoming more adventurous
It seems the nation has also become more adventurous when it comes to what we eat, as 1 in 4 respondents said they now eat a wider variety of foods on a daily basis. Whether that’s expanding their palette with different international cuisines or eaters who were more cautious venturing out into more varieties of fruit and vegetables, it’s great to see that the nation is making positive changes.
We’re more conscious of our portion sizes
One of the most interesting takeaways from the changes in our eating habits, was that 31% of Brits now claim to eat smaller portions than they did before the pandemic hit the country. This suggests that the additional time spent at home encouraged the nation to take hold of their portion sizes and adapt how much food they consumed.
1 in 4 Brits now eat fewer snacks
The survey also revealed some interesting results around the amount of food we eat in between our main meals.
The results showed that 1 in 4 people now claim to eat fewer snacks between meals, with 24% also admitting that they now eat less cakes, biscuits and chocolates than they did before COVID. We also discovered that a large number of people are switching over to healthier alternatives, with over 20% of people eating more fruit and vegetables.
An additional 30% said they’ve cut back on the number of savoury snacks they used to eat too.
Our culinary skills are on the rise
A huge 40% of people claim that their cooking and baking skills have improved over the last two years. With one in four people now more interested in cooking, and 25% of the nation cooking and baking more at home in general.
We’re eating at home more
Going hand in hand with the proof that we’re better at baking and cooking, is the fact that we’re making more use of our kitchens at home.
A third of respondents said that they eat more home cooked meals, which coincides with a quarter of people using their home appliances such as their ovens more often.
Despite the fact that the country is now back to work and many of us are commuting and getting home late again, 22% of those surveyed also said that they now eat more as a family than they used to before the pandemic hit.
Britain is back in the kitchen
Whilst the pandemic came with many struggles and challenges, it did afford us all the chance to analyse the way we were eating, and make positive changes.
With culinary skills on the rise, and a focus on family bonding at the dinner table, it’s encouraging that the country seems to be making healthier food choices.
We’re proud to see that people are getting back in their kitchens and cooking up a storm for themselves and their families.
Rangemaster surveyed 2,084 UK adults between 30th June to 3rd July 2022 making this a nationally representative survey.