MAKING A MEAL OF IT: RETURN TO CULINARY COMFORTS
-58 per cent of Europeans have improved their skills in the kitchen over the last year
-Households have reconnected by cooking and eating together
-Rebirth of the dinner party as two-thirds plan to host family and friends once safe to do so
-Europeans have become more experimental with recipes this year
-Roast dinner, spaghetti alla carbonara and crêpes amongst top home comfort dishes
They say necessity is the mother of all invention, and resurgence for all things culinary is certainly proving that to be true. Along with takeaways and restaurant DIY kits, taking the time out to cook at home is still going strong. In fact, 58 per cent of Europeans have improved their skills in the kitchen over the last year and the average household spends up to 20 hours a week whipping up delightful dishes - a 38 per cent rise from the year before.
A new report from Mastercard, the brand known for connecting its community to passions, revealed people are taking comfort in family favourites such as a roast dinner, spaghetti alla carbonara, and crêpes. And although a return to the traditional is heartwarming to some, two thirds (65 per cent) are feeling confident enough to experiment with their cooking and recipes more often. The influence of TV, streaming service and social media has also contributed to inspiring many (47 per cent) to cook what they are seeing on screen.
However, beyond the practical, cooking has unlocked the desire to lead a healthier lifestyle (53 per cent), learn new skills (49 per cent) and spend more quality time with loved ones. Over half (55 per cent) of Europeans said mealtimes have meant reconnecting with those in their household with 71 per cent saying that the ritual of gathering around the table is here to stay.
The last year also saw a rebirth of the ‘dinner party,’ with 51 per cent of home cooks hosting for friends, families, or their bubbles when it was safe to do so. A further 22 per cent hosted a virtual dinner party and 63 per cent say dinner parties will be a regular event on social calendars when permitted.
Lockdown limitations have also changed how and where consumers shop. One in three (30 per cent) purchased groceries online for the first time over the last year. 29 per cent said they spent more money on groceries when shopping online due to impulse buying different food and ingredients. One third (34 per cent) will continue shopping for food online even post restrictions.
Spend on food entertainment is also up, with cooking equipment, cookbooks, crockery, and candles all experiencing mini booms. Other staples of the dinner party are also up, with 18 per cent investing in smart speakers for mood music and 20 per cent purchasing dimmers for mood lighting.
“It’s been a challenging 12 months; however, it is reassuring to see positive trends emerging such as the culinary boom that is happening across Europe. The core role of our brand is connecting people with the things that bring them joy, whether that is through our partnerships, delivering on once-in-a-lifetime experiences or providing them with convenient, safe, and secure ways for purchasing everyday items. Ultimately, that’s Priceless” said Jeannette Liendo, Senior Vice President Marketing, Mastercard Europe.
Most popular comfort food dishes around Europe:
- UK & Ireland – Roast dinner
- France – Crêpes
- Italy – Spaghetti alla Carbonara
- Germany – Rindsrouladen
- Spain – Tortilla
- Poland – Naleśniki
- Russia – Kotleti
- Ukraine – Borscht
- Turkey – Köfte
- Hungary – Palacsinta
- Romania – Mămăligă
- Netherlands – Stamppot
- Portugal – Bacalhau a bras
- Sweden – Kottbullar
- Belgium – Frieten
- Czechia – Guláš
- Austria – Wiener Schnitzel
- Slovakia – Kapustnica
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Notes to Editors
Independent research company Fly Research questioned 19,000 adults across 19 countries in Jan/Feb 2021.