BBC Good Food Nation: Brits eat too much meat; too much fast food and are ditching British classic dishes

7 years ago

  • Half of the British public say “a meal isn’t a meal without meat”, with the average person now eating meat at least twice a day – but half the population don’t know how much meat is good for us
  • Generation Fast Food: While the typical adult eats fast food twice a week, a staggering one in six 16-to-20 year olds eat fast food at least twice a day
  • Overall, the nation’s favourite meal is still the Sunday Roast, but its popularity – as well as other Brit classics like fish and chips, the full English breakfast and bangers and mash is in major decline among the younger generation, with 16-to-34 year olds favouring international cuisinesBBC Good Food has revealed the findings of its annual BBC Good Food Nation Survey 2016, underlining a lack of knowledge about how much meat is good for us, an increasingly unhealthy appetite for fast food in the younger generation, and a decline in popularity of some of the great British classics.

    The study of more than 5,000 people shows that the typical adult now eats meat at least twice a day and has just six meat free days a month, with 21% of men and 32% of 16 to 21 year olds eating meat at least three times a day. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, half the population said that a meal isn’t a meal unless it includes meat. But the same number don’t know what the recommended maximum amount of red meat they should be eating is. In fact, the Department of Health advises an average of no more than 70g per day (70g is the equivalent of three slices of ham, one lamb chop or two slices of roast beef a day), yet nearly one in four people think it’s at least double that. A typical Sunday roast is twice the daily limit and a typical cooked English breakfast is nearly twice the recommended daily portion.

    Commenting on the Survey Christine Hayes, Brand Editorial Director of BBC Good Food said: “It’s easy to be confused about the amount of meat one can enjoy while still eating a healthy, balanced diet. This could be one of the contributing factors in the growing popularity of the vegan diet – ‘vegan’ searches on have increased by 300% this year. Those who do eat meat can still cook a Sunday roast and eat the occasional steak when balanced with some meat-free dishes. With 78% of us wanting a good butcher on our high street, we also celebrate the return of the high street butcher, who can advise on getting the best from every cut if you decide to eat less, but better quality, meat.”

    Classic British meals such as fish and chips and a full English breakfast have dropped out of the nation’s top five favourite dishes, with bangers and mash not even featuring in the nation’s top ten. The nation’s top five in 2016 are:
    1. Sunday roast
    2. Curry
    3. Pizza
    4. Pasta
    5. Steak and chips
    However, the nation is divided over its favourite food with Sunday roast not even make the top 5 for the nation’s 16-to-20 year olds. The younger generation’s top five favourite foods are:
    1. Pizza
    2. Curry
    3. Pasta
    4. Burger
    5. Steak and chips

    Supporting this trend is data showing that whilst the popularity of the Sunday roast declines, our consumption of fast food is increasing rapidly. The typical Brit now eats fast food on an average of two days every week. However, this is significantly higher amongst younger generations, with one in eight 21-to-34 year olds, and one in six 16-to-20 year olds, saying they now eat fast food at least twice a day.

    The national key findings include:
    • Average household spends £55 a week on food shop, around £20 on eating out and £10 on takeaways
    • Average household eats their evening meal at 6.40pm – Most regions in the country now calls that meal dinner, except for those in the North West, North East, Yorkshire and Wales who overwhelmingly still call it tea
    • Almost 60% of us are currently on some sort of diet. 11% class themselves as vegetarian and 2% vegan
    • One in ten men describe themselves as a complete novice in the kitchen, rarely cooking and only just about able to make toast
    • 38 minutes 43 seconds is the average length of time each Briton spends eating their main meal at the table at the weekend
    • 40% of those in their 20s and early 30s post pics on social media of meals they cook, a third do so when eating out, but less than one in ten over 50s ‘get social’ over food

    • Nation’s Top 5 Favourite Snacks:
    1. Chocolate
    2. Crisps
    3. Bananas
    4. Biscuits
    5. Nuts

    • The 2016 Kitchenary – The top five foodie phrases and words of 2016 are:
    1. Sugar-free
    2. Nutribullet
    3. Vegan
    4. Spiralizer
    5. Artisan

    For more information on the Good Food Nation Survey 2016 and thousands off easy to follow recipes visit Britain’s no1 recipe website Pick up the October issue of BBC Good Food Magazine on sale now for more recipes, and to find out about the return of the high street butcher and which cuts to buy and cook now.

For more information please contact Ridhi Radia on 020-7150-5016/ 07796138301 or email

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