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More people cooking meals from scratch since recession kicked in

More than half of Irish people say they have a high level of confidence in their own cooking abilities.

Image: Cooking vegetables via Shutterstock

PEOPLE IN IRELAND are cooking more meals from scratch, comparing prices for groceries and buying local where possible, according to new research.

The study carried out for Bord Bia looked at Irish people’s food habits and found that many are returning to healthier and more traditional ways of eating.

Just under 7 out of 10 people – 67 per cent –  say that they cook from scratch several times a week, a jump of 11 per cent since 2005, with more than half of people saying they have a high level of confidence in their own cooking abilities.

Despite recent studies showing that 60 per cent of Irish adults are overweight or obese, most people think that they’re eating healthily. A total of 85 per cent of respondents said they have a healthy diet, with three-quarters of people saying they get their recommended 5 portions of fruit and veg every day.

The vast majority of people – 85 per cent – try to limit the amount of junk food they eat, but it can be difficult: the study found that 3 out of 5 people struggle to understand nutritional information on labels.

There has been a huge jump in the number of people who think it’s important to buy local, up from 50 per cent in 2005 to 70 per cent now.  Almost half of respondents also say that they care about air miles – how far the food has travelled to get to the supermarket.

The traditional focus is borne out in how people choose to buy their food; just 9 per cent of respondents say that they have ever bought groceries online, giving Ireland one of the lowest rates. In contrast, 30 per cent of shoppers in Spain have bought their household food online.

“The economic reality in recent years has led many of us to reconsider what’s important in our lives,” said Paula Donoghue of Bord Bia. “For so many people, food features prominently – whether it’s preparing meals for the family or entertaining friends”.

The survey was carried out by Ipsos MRBI in Ireland with research also carried out in nine other countries, including Britain, the US, France, Germany and Spain.

Read: Two thirds of Irish adults are eating more fat than their body needs >

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