While a significant minority of young people can be deemed ‘non-scratch’ cooks, it is female cooks in the 16-24 age group who most enjoy cooking
YouGov SixthSense’s “Cooking – Consumer Typologies” report, which investigated influences on and attitudes towards cooking habits, found that 11% of consumers in the UK are ‘non-scratch cooks’ – that is, they never, or hardly ever, prepare anything other than ready-to-eat foods. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the youngest respondents are the most likely to fall into the category of ‘non-scratch’ cooks. More than a fifth of young men under 25 never cook from scratch, while the corresponding percentage for women is 16%. The most commonly given reasons for avoiding cooking from scratch include lack of skills (48%) and shortage of time (36%).
However, women under 25 are the most likely to claim maximum enjoyment from cooking (28% compared with 20% overall), while men of the same age are the least likely to say they get maximum enjoyment from cooking. This is despite the fact that young men claim to be passionate about food, with 17% of 16-24 year-old males describing it as one of the most important things in their lives, compared with only 9% of the over-55s of both genders. This does not necessarily mean younger men are passionate about cooking though, as it is they who are more inclined than their elders to regard food as nothing more than fuel, with one in ten young men saying this.
From those who do cook from scratch, less than half of 16-24s (46% men, 41% women) actually prefer cooking from scratch over ready meals. This is compared to 51% of men and 57% of women overall.