Families have crossed Sunday roasts, stews and home baking off the menu and in drastic cases no longer use their oven, as skyrocketing energy costs force major changes in the kitchen.
One in four home cooks said they were less likely to prepare a roast dinner, while a fifth did not bake as many cakes or biscuits, according to the annual Good Food Nation report.
The survey, which looks at shopping, cooking and eating habits, found major changes in behavior linked to cost-cutting as families struggle to cope with higher energy and food bills.
Almost 20% of respondents said they no longer turned on the oven, while 23% said they used the oven and hob less. People chose quick-to-prepare meals to keep a lid on energy use, with a fifth reporting they used a microwave more.
Christine Hayes, editor-in-chief of BBC Good Food, said their report revealed how rising food prices and energy costs had changed the way the nation ate in a relatively short space of time.
“Traditional methods of cooking, the oven and hob, are being switched off in favor of appliances that use less energy, and shopping baskets and meals at home look very different,” she said. “People have told us they are eating out less and ordering fewer takeaways, and more children are bringing packed lunches to school.”
The survey of 3,000 adults and children showed evidence of strict budgeting. Expensive foods such as red meat, organic produce, fish and dairy were crossed off the shopping list, with shoppers hunting for reduced stickers and visiting multiple stores to get the best deal.
When asked how rising costs had affected their family, children reported eating out less and having fewer takeaways. A fifth also noticed they were eating more frozen food, while 15% said they had more things from tins and packets.
The top things home cooks said they didn’t do as much of – either because of the cost of the ingredients or the energy use – included making roast dinners, “anything that took too long on the stove”, baking cakes and biscuits, casseroles and “everything that goes in the oven”.
Planning meals in advance and batch cooking were two of the most popular ways people felt they could control costs. They also admitted that they ate the same meals more often and took fewer risks on dishes they hadn’t tried before.