Over one-third of under 34s don’t cook from scratch: SuperValu Home Truths II report

Juneau Conroy, one of Ireland's youngest chefs, celebrates 'Getting Ireland cooking' alongside celebrity ambassadors Kevin Dundon, Martin Shanahan, Bernard Brogan, David Gillick and Anna Geary

SuperValu Good Food Karma project aims to inspire Ireland to eat less processed and more nutritious food, following comprehensive survey results



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19 April 2016

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The second annual SuperValu Home Truths II Report contains some encouraging and convincing evidence that, as a nation we really believe in the benefits of cooking from scratch, with virtually everyone saying that it gives them control over what is purchased, cooked and eaten. However, time and cooking skills are still cited as the deterrent for most consumers.

The report which was developed in conjunction with Dr. Mary McCreery, consultant dietician nutritionist at Blackrock Clinic, Dublin, is an in-depth, annual study. It was carried out by RED C with a random representative of over 1,000 adults aged 18+.

Scratch cooking – the national picture

The report unveils a real age divide in attitudes and behaviour towards cooking. Nearly 60% of Irish adults over the age of 45 cook from scratch at least six times per week, with their younger counterparts finding cooking from scratch much harder – but less than 40% of those under 34 years managing to do so as often. This is despite acknowledging that it’s healthier to cook from scratch, with almost everyone of all ages believing that it is healthier (93%), and that it allows them control over the contents of their food (91%).

However other factors are at play too; 37% of under 34 years olds say they don’t cook from scratch out of pure laziness; 31% are looking for inspiration in what to cook and 16% say they don’t know how to cook. Cooking skills are a particular issue for the younger generation and the fact that only 10% of adults cook with their younger children means that situation is going to get worse, not better.

Nearly three-quarters (71%) of adults under 34 also admit to having a take away at home at least once a week, if not more often – with 50% eating at least one meal from a fast food restaurant per week.  This compares to just 42% of those over 45, who have at least one take away at home per week and only 20% eating weekly in a fast food restaurant.

An emerging trend for these time-poor groups is cooking from scratch at weekends and freezing meals; with 82% of those under 34 saying it saves them time during the week.

Meal time patterns and behaviours

Interesting behaviours in relation to weekly meal occasions were also revealed, with over four in five families with young children having a family dinner at least weekly.

The Sunday roast remains the preferred weekly get together for two in five of us, with almost a third of us (33%) trying to make the Sunday roast a little healthier. However, less than half of us have a Sunday roast weekly with one in four having a Sunday roast less than once a month.

Perceptions and misconceptions

The report had some interesting insights into misconceptions or perceptions of what constitutes a healthy meal – especially a healthy breakfast or a home cooked dinner, with some surprising results. Again, there is evidence of an age divide here, with 18-24 year olds believing smoothies/cereal bars are healthier options for breakfast while those over 55 believe tea and bread/toast is the healthy way to start the day. At the same time, fruit, porridge and eggs top the list as healthy breakfast option in most people’s minds, though not reflected in their behavior.

A “healthy dinner” also means different things to different people. 81% of adults believe that including fresh vegetables along with a balance of meat constitutes a healthy, home cooked dinner while 61% believe that it is a meal cooked from scratch (whatever the ingredients).  61% think its low in salt and 59% think it means a meal with no processed food or additives.

Good Food Karma project

Ray Kelly, marketing  director at SuperValu says the group is “passionate about supporting further growth in home cooking which will help ensure the next generation is healthier than the last”.

SuperValu’s Good Food Karma launched last year as a campaign to help the nation to cook and spend more quality time together, in 2015. The retailer is now taking the initiative a step further.

SuperValu is working with an army of foodies including celebrity chefs Kevin Dundon, Martin Shanahan and Sharon Hearne Smith, athletes David Gillick, Bernard Brogan and Anna Geary, The Happy Pear, Daniel Davey and inspiring foodies Conor Bereen, Marc Bereen, Duncan Maguire, Federico Riezzo and Ciaran McGonagle.

These ambassadors have created a series of recipes, videos and blog posts, all available at supervalu.ie, to inspire Ireland to get eating less processed and more nutritious food. What’s more, they will also be hitting the road this summer to visit communities around the country giving demonstrations and helping people to improve their culinary skills. The project focuses on four key food moments – healthy breakfast, healthy mid-week meal, Friday night in and the backbone of every Irish family, the Sunday roast.


  • As a nation we are big supporters of cooking from scratch, believing that it is the healthiest option; with 9 out of 10 of us saying it gives us control over what we eat
  • Yet 37% of under 34 year olds say they don’t cook from scratch out of pure laziness, 31% say they lack inspiration and 16% say they just don’t know how
  • One in 10 Irish adults never involve their children in cooking at home which is a concern, given the importance of cooking as a life skill as they grow into teenagers and adulthood
  • The report shows a real age divide when it comes to meal options and behaviour – with 18-24 year olds having above average weekly consumption of take-aways and fast food while over half of us have a takeaway at home at least weekly
  • Two-thirds of Irish adults still sit together for dinner on a weekly basis and the Sunday Roast remains the weekly get together for two in five people




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