Bakkavor study predicts dramatic change in mealtime routines post-lockdown

With the nation waiting for confirmation on the final phases of social restrictions easing – with larger groups allowed to meet and pubs and restaurants allowed to serve food indoors – new Bakkavor research suggests the end of lockdown will create dramatic change in mealtime routines of one in five (21%) households.

For those that anticipate change - the allure of eating out, being able to meet friends and the prospect of a return to office life all point towards an exodus from the kitchen, a move away from scratch cooking and the demise of shared family mealtimes around the kitchen table:

The key changes to meal habits with the ending of social restrictions include:
• 33% of respondents said they looking forward to getting away from the kitchen, with many excited about enjoying meals outdoors;
• 32% of people are looking forward to going to places they haven't been able to go to, meeting friends and have a picnic together;
• 32% say they will be going out more to socialise, meaning members of their household will return to eating at different times;
• 28% are looking forward to going to restaurants;
• 23% admitted that with the return to the workplace, there will be fewer opportunities to have family mealtimes together;
• 16% said that busier lifestyles would mean they would buy more prepared meals.

Amongst younger people (aged under 25), almost half of respondents (46%) said their mealtime routine had changed already, with two in five (41%) scratch cooking less.

Similarly, drained after a particularly challenging lockdown, households with children under five - and single parents - were among the most likely have made changes to their mealtime routines (39% and 31% respectively) by enjoying a break from scratch cooking (both 40%).

Impulse buying as pressures on time increase
With elements of normal life returning, the research found that pressures on time are increasing with many spending next to no time planning and buying their food each week – instead grabbing items on impulse from day to day.

Around a fifth said they spent less than 20 minutes planning and buying their food each week. Meanwhile, 16% said they would buy more prepared food so they did not have to spend so long in the kitchen.

Again, pressures on younger people’s time were most apparent as under-25s were the most likely to be spending the least amount of time buying their food. Almost 3 in 10 (27%) said they were spending 20 minutes or less each week, while a quarter said they were buying more prepared meals, so they did not have to cook.

Mike Edwards, Bakkavor's Chief Operating Officer UK, commented, “UK consumers are starting to return to normal habits - reducing the time spent preparing meals from scratch to maximise time catching up with family and friends.

“People are returning to convenient, quick-to-prepare meals which satisfy whatever they feel like that evening – even if it’s a completely different cuisine to what other family members or friends are eating at the same meal occasion.

'At Bakkavor, we have seen this first-hand with our Heat and Enjoy and The Pizza Company ranges and as lockdown restrictions ease this trend is likely to gather momentum.”