Death of the Microwave Meal

UK - Busy Brits are ditching microwave meals in favour of home-cooked 'fast food', a study has revealed.
calendar icon 29 January 2013
clock icon 4 minute read

Worries about the cost and their diet means that people are now cooking something quick from scratch, such as a stir-fry or omelette, instead of reaching for the staple microwave ready-meal when they are short of time.

Almost a quarter of Brits even admitted their microwave is completely redundant or they said they don’t even own one.

And despite the myth that students and young adults are the most likely to survive on microwave food, the study, by British Lion Eggs, found that the over 50s are more likely to consider the gadget to be an important part of their kitchen.

Andrew Joret, chairman of the British Egg Industry Council said: "People seem to be becoming more adventurous in the kitchen, and are now cooking more meals from scratch, even when they are in a rush.

"Grabbing a microwave meal when time is tight is no longer what the majority of people do – instead, they are relying on quick-fix meals which are healthy and quick to cook and prepare. It’s interesting to see that the younger generation seems to be the ones who are embracing fresh-cooked fast food. The general consensus is that young people are most likely to rely on a microwave for their meals, but it seems that this isn't the case."

The study of 2,000 Brits found that when they are tight on time, seven in ten people are rustling up a quick dish from fresh ingredients.

Just one in five people are relying on microwave or ready-meals for a quick fix.

Andrew Joret said: "It seems more people are reaching for main meals like omelettes which don’t take any longer to cook than heating up a microwave meal – but can be both healthier and cheaper."

2012 saw a 5 per cent year-on-year increase in retail sales of eggs with more than half a million of them added to shoppers' baskets every day.

The study also suggests that the popularity of celebrity chefs and cooking shows on television has led to a drop in the nation’s microwave use, with two thirds of people being inspired to try a new dish they have seen on a TV programme.

Another 68 per cent of people think younger people are becoming more inspired to cook from scratch thanks to the popularity of celebrity chefs.

But the research found that adventurous cooks looking for inspiration away from the traditional recipe books are turning to the internet or Facebook instead.

When looking for something new to try, 47 per cent scour the internet on cooking websites while another 29 per cent rely on search engines like Google.

Almost one in five save things they have seen on TV, 23 per cent cut ideas out of newspapers or magazines and one in twenty even turn to YouTube for inspiration.

But less than one in ten would go and buy a new recipe book.

Twenty-eight per cent of people have even been inspired to try a new dish or recipe after seeing a picture posted by a friend on social network websites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

And 24 per cent of people admit if they create a dish they are proud of, they always post a picture on their social network profiles.

Researchers also revealed that 83 per cent of Brits enjoy cooking and another 79 per cent of people enjoy experimenting with their meals and ingredients.

More than eight in ten also like trying out new recipes or unusual dishes, with 62 per cent saying they consider themselves to be an adventurous person in the kitchen.

British Lion Eggs is working with chefs to help home cooks rustle up meals in minutes through - plus a new range of cookery videos on YouTube.

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