Families have removed Sunday roasts, stews and home baking from the menu and, in drastic cases, no longer use the oven, as high energy costs force major changes in the kitchen.
One in four home cooks said they were less likely to cook a roast dinner, while one-fifth didn’t bake as many cakes or cookies, according to the annual Good Food Nation report.
The survey, which looks at shopping, cooking and eating habits, found big changes in behavior related to cutting costs as families struggle to cope with higher energy and food bills.
Nearly 20% of those surveyed said they no longer turn on the oven, while 23% said they use the oven and hob less. People opted for quick-cooking meals to keep tabs on their energy use, with one-fifth reporting using the microwave more.
Christine Hayes, editor-in-chief of BBC Good Food, said her report revealed how rising food prices and energy costs had changed the way the nation ate in a relatively short period of time.
“Traditional cooking methods, the oven and the countertop, are being phased out in favor of less energy-efficient appliances, and shopping baskets and meals at home look very different,” he said. “People have told us that they are eating out less and ordering less takeout, and more children are bringing packed lunches to school.”
The survey of 3,000 adults and children showed evidence of strict budgeting. Expensive foods like red meat, organic produce, fish, and dairy were crossed off shopping lists, with shoppers looking for reduced stickers and visiting multiple stores to get the best deal.
When asked how rising costs had affected their family, children reported eating less and having less takeout. A fifth also noted that they ate more frozen foods, while 15% said they ate more things from cans and packages.
The top things home cooks said they weren’t doing as much, either because of the cost of ingredients or the energy use involved, included preparing roast dinners, “anything that took too much time in the kitchen,” baking cakes and cookies , stews and “anything that goes in the oven”.
Meal planning ahead and batch cooking were two of the most popular ways people felt they could control costs. They also admitted to eating the same foods more often and taking fewer chances with dishes they hadn’t tried before.