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However, the initiative, supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, also found a rise in the UK’s consumption of convenience food (29%), alcohol (29%) and tasty treats (34%).

The findings were revealed from a survey of 5,000 consumers in ten European countries to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer food behaviours.

The research was carried out by a consortium of universities in Europe, led by Aarhus University, Denmark.

The ten countries surveyed were Spain, Sweden, Germany, UK, Poland, Italy, France, Greece, Finland, Romania.

Cooking behaviours

The report also highlighted contradicting trends in cooking behaviours.

UK consumers would appear to have rediscovered a pleasure for cooking during the pandemic, with 42% saying they were spending more time experimenting with new recipes.

However, snacking, rather than eating set meals, increased by 27% during the same period.

Explaining the apparent contradictory findings of the report, Professor Klaus Grunert of Aarhus University said: “There is a general trend towards more home cooking, and more enjoyment in the kitchen and during meals. However, not everybody is a budding gourmet cook with an abundance of time on their hands.

“Convenience foods need not be meal replacements. They can be products that help people achieve enjoyment in the kitchen and at family dinner tables, and it is up to the industry to develop products suitable for this.”

UK shopping habits

Shopping behaviours changed significantly during lockdown and there was large growth in online food shopping, both for groceries and restaurant deliveries, according to the research.


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