Dinner trends in the UK

It wasn’t so long ago where families around Britain would gather together at the dining table to enjoy a nice meal and chat about their day — but does this tradition remain? In 2017, just over 20% of British families sit down to dinner together just once or twice a week, and one in five have their ‘family meals’ whilst sitting in front of the television. With figures like these, and the price of eating out becoming more affordable and more of a social activity, it comes as no surprise that eating out has become a popular social activity.

However, the question remains, which is more popular: eating in or eating out? Handmade kitchens supplier, Harvey Jones, investigates:

Are more people skipping home meals and eating out?

A study from Business Insider discovered that millennials eat out more than any other demographic. Over half of Millennials, 53%, are said to eat out at least once a week, with The Independent also revealing that 16-24 year olds spend more on food than any other age group.

However, it’s thought that this is due to the influence of social media platforms such as Instagram — with data highlighting the transformation of the restaurant sector. 87% of 18-29-year-olds actively use social media platforms — with Instagram averaging over 500 million active monthly users. It has now become the norm to snap your food before eating it, and making sure you have an Instagram worthy snap has become hugely popular. For the younger generation, have you even been out for food without taking a photo and Instagramming it?

More and more people are beginning to use social media as a tool to check-in and document their experience — while also using it to find new places to eat. According to research by Zizzi, 18-35-year-olds spend five whole days a year browsing food images on Instagram, and 30% would avoid a restaurant if their Instagram presence was weak — and if their food photos are poor. Some Millennials will only eat at a restaurant if they know they can snap a great food shot.

Eating at home

Although there’s much more choice when eating out, some families do like to eat at home. For families with young children, spending time together is vital for their development and building relationships in the family. Eating dinner together around the table is a time that can be taken advantage of for this, and is said to encourage healthier food choices. In fact, a survey found that 9-14 year olds that frequently eat dinner with their families consumed more fruit and vegetables, as well as less soda and fried foods, whilst figures show that homemade meals can contain as much as 60% fewer calories than meals outside the home.

As well as this, eating at home could potentially lead to healthier alternatives. Studies show that when we are presented with more food, we feel the need to eat more. Restaurant portions are continuously expanding, and by eating at home you can control your portion sizes.

Often seen as the hardest group of people to bring to the dining table, 71% of teenagers enjoy the catching up aspect with other family members. Social meal times are a great opportunity to get the family together for some quality bonding time. It’s important to make time to spend with your family to ensure healthier relationships between family members.

Not only that, more cookery television shows have also led to a change in UK eating habits. We have become a nation obsessed with cooking programmes, which in turn, has contributed to a change in our cooking and kitchen habits. From The Great British Bake Off and Celebrity Master Chef, to Saturday Kitchen and Come Dine With Me, baking and cooking have become ‘cool’ hobbies to have and these cookery programmes help boost our skills.

Can you afford to pay the price?

Although it has been reported that 2017 was the highest year for eating out spend; it hasn’t stopped people visiting restaurants. However, on the contrary, the rise of informal dining, chain restaurants and pop up restaurants are making eating out more affordable. But how does the price of eating out compare with eating in?

Excluding drinks and tips, an three-course meal in Britain costs around £28.59 on average. However, the average price can vary significantly when broken down by region. For instance, central London prices are likely to be significantly higher than prices in the North East. If you were to eat out five times a week, you would expect to pay on average £142.95 per person.

Looking at homes with 2.4 people; households can see the average spend on food being £85.50 each week; considerably lower than eating out. However, figures for supermarket produce are getting lower, too. Supermarkets now offer an array of money-saving recipes, often partnered with celebrity chefs. Families can no longer claim home cooking is too expensive for a family of four.

This has led to many supermarkets across Britain being competitive in pricing while being able to maintain the quality of their products. Some supermarkets offer ‘feed four for under £10’ offers which restaurants simply can’t compete with. These money-saving recipes encourage families to utilise their kitchens to their full potential and cook homemade meals instead of eating out or choosing ready meals and takeaways.