From Heston Blumenthal to Michael O’Hare, professional kitchens in the UK have never been as experimental as they are today, and it seems this has fired up the nation’s young chefs. New research from Mintel reveals three in five (60%) 16-34s* like experimenting with new cooking trends and ingredients, compared to 51% of UK consumers overall.

However, whilst young consumers show a passion for experimental cooking, they appear to be in hot water in the kitchen as many struggle to master the basics. Two in five (39%) Brits aged 16-34 say it’s hard to know when meat is cooked to a safe temperature, compared to one quarter (26%) of consumers overall, and over one third (37%) of young cooks say they prefer not to handle raw meat when cooking, compared to an average of 27%. What’s more, one third (34%) say it’s hard to get the seasoning right when cooking compared to just 22% overall.

Although the majority of young consumers love to cook, it is deemed too difficult by almost half (46%) of 16-34s who agree that cooking from scratch produces too much washing up, compared to one third (33%) of Brits overall. What’s more, 44% think preparing raw ingredients is a hassle, for example peeling and chopping, up from a national average of 32%.

46% of 16-34s agree that cooking from scratch produces too much washing up

Anita Winther, Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel, said:

“Brits are, on the whole, confident in the kitchen. Most who cook are happy to put meals together using whatever ingredients they have at home and to modify recipes based on whatever is available in the kitchen. However, Britain’s young cooks are lagging behind. Tutorials, as well as products that provide guidance, should appeal to these less confident cooks and help boost brands’ relevance among this group.

Whilst there is a generational divide in kitchen skills, Mintel research reveals that there is also a split in how the nation seeks recipe ideas. When looking for inspiration, cooks aged 16-34s are more likely to look online (53%), than to look in a cookbook (37%), while one quarter (24%) of young consumers look for inspiration using recipe apps. Cooks over the age of 55, however, are more likely to look in cookbooks (49%) than search online (22%) or use an app (11%).

Overall, in the UK friends and family are the biggest source of cooking inspiration. Some 44% of those who cook from scratch or partly from scratch turn to their friends and family for ideas.

“Friends and family are the most common source of recipe and meal ideas for home cooks. This underscores the importance of word of mouth when it comes to new foods, with cooks relying on the experience of people they know to build trust in new products.” Anita continues.

Today, cooking from scratch features on the weekly menu for over nine in 10 (93%) Brits who prepare meals at home, with as many as three in 10 (28%) doing so five times or more per week.

But rather than a chore, it seems for many, cooking is a labour of love. Half (50%) of Brits who cook meals from scratch or partly from scratch say that they do so because they enjoy it, followed by the fact that they have control of what goes into the food (49%) and to save money (47%).

“The majority of Brits find pleasure in cooking. Focusing marketing messages on the enjoyment found in cooking should provide ingredient and meal component brands with a means to tap into this emotional aspect of cooking.” Anita concludes.

*16-34s who cook from scratch or partly from scratch.

Press review copies of Mintel’s Attitudes towards Cooking in the Home UK 2016 report and interviews with Food and Drink Analyst Anita Winther are available on request from the press office.

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