Nation's Eating Habits Revealed: We Still Eat Together, Although It's Mostly In Front Of The TV

Good news! Almost half of British people still eat a meal together, every day.

The not-so-great news? Two-thirds of us are watching at least one screen whilst we eat and a fifth are in front of two or more screens.

The findings are part of a new study that focuses on the nation's eating habits. And boy does it put us off our food.

The YouGov report, which polled 10,000 adults to mark the 25th anniversary of BBC Good Food, also found that just over half of people can confidently cook 10 or more dishes from scratch but a full 10% of the population cannot cook a thing - including 16% of men.

Meanwhile, the horse meat scandal appears to have had little impact on buying and eating habits.

Although 42% say the scandal has made them pay more attention to where meat comes from, fewer than one in 10 (9%) are eating less because they are worried about the quality.

Some 15% are now eating less meat than a year ago in an effort to spend less money on food, while 65% said they only sometimes, rarely or never visited their local high street food shops, with 40% of them citing cost.

The microwave is the kitchen item most Britons cannot live without (56%), beating kitchen knives (51%) and a toaster (47%).

Roast dinner is the most popular dish, with 50% cooking it at least once a month, followed by spaghetti Bolognese (49%) and curry (43%), while 32% always make their own lunch.

Chinese is Britain's favourite takeaway (53%), just ahead of fish and chips (51%).

BBC Good Food editor Gillian Carter said: "The impact of the horsemeat scandal has meant that people are more concerned about where meat is coming from. However it is interesting to note that more people are cutting back on meat consumption due to concerns about cost rather than the scandal."

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Gillian added: "Butchers also don't seem to be benefiting to any great extent. The vast majority of respondents only sometimes, rarely or never visit high street shops, with the perceived cost again being the most common reason.

"What is of concern is that five million respondents say they are unable to cook a single recipe. We know that cooking is a feel-good activity, with large numbers of respondents saying they felt happy, comforted or inspired when cooking, so the more we can encourage people to cook, the better."

Chef Tom Kerridge said: "We can see that overall the nation's cooking ability is good, but there seems to be a group who haven't ever learned the basics, including a disproportionate number of men.

"Cooking needn't be a big chore and is something everyone can learn the basics of and enjoy."