People stuck inside during the coronavirus outbreak are turning to cooking both to use up time stuck indoors and for the comfort of home-cooked meals, a study said.
The report from market researchers GFK found that purchases of deep fryers showed 76.4 per cent growth in the first week in April compared to the same week last year, while hot beverage makers rose by 65.4 per cent and sandwich makers, waffle makers and grills rose by 62.1 per cent.
Food preparation products grew by 61.5 per cent overall, driven by leaps in purchases of food stand mixers, which rocketed by 218.6 per cent, hand mixers, which doubled in popularity and food processors, which saw 43.7 per cent more sales – all used mainly for home baking.
Kelly Whitwick, UK retail lead for market insights at GfK, said: “Looking across these home cooking appliances, the average price is showing an upward trajectory since lock-down started. It seems we are using the money saved from not dining out to invest in premium cooking equipment and smarter models.
“For brands and retailers in the small domestic goods sector, this is the time to be promoting your higher-end products, as a ‘treat yourself’ purchase and a way to eat more healthily, as well as entertaining yourself, during lock-down.”
Meanwhile, a separate report from environmental charity Hubbub found that “virtual meals”, where people join together to eat through video calls from different houses, cooking from scratch, wasting less food and families eating together more are some of the positive shifts in food-related behaviours taking place in households across the country.
However, the research also reveals many are struggling to put meals on the table and are worried about food, with increasing numbers turning to food banks for the first time.
The poll found that 45 per cent of respondents say they are cooking more since the restrictions were introduced to stop the spread of coronavirus. Over half of those cooking more said it was because they now have the time to cook that they didn’t before and 42 per cent cite the need to cook from scratch more due to the sort of food they can get hold of.
Young people in particular are keen to learn to cook more, with almost half of those aged 16-24 are seeing lockdown as an opportunity to improve their cooking skills, compared with a national average of 34 per cent. Those aged 16-24s were, however more likely to find this tiring, with 40 per cent saying they find preparing more meals everyday exhausting.
Whilst a reconnection with food has been a positive experience for some, for others the pandemic has reduced their food security. 45 per cent of respondents said they were more worried about food than before and 43 per cent are worried about the extra cost of providing food for their household.
Of those polled by Hubbub, 7 per cent of people said they have had to use a food bank for the first time since the restrictions began, rising to 15 per cent of those aged 16-24 and 14 per cent of those aged 25-34.
Trewin Restorick, co-founder of Hubbub said: “The impact of COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we are eating. Our polling reveals a divided nation. Some families are eating together more, young people are learning to cook, people want to know more about growing food and are planning meals better and using up leftovers. More people are shopping locally. But concerningly, just under half are more worried about food than previously and 43 per cent are concerned about the cost of food.”