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In a recent report by the British food manufacturing giant Premier Foods, the nation’s cooking habits took centre stage. The report confirmed something that has been simmering under the surface of the pandemic since Lockdown 1: Brits are having a love affair with cooking, and their number one choice when whipping up a meal at home is Italian cuisine.
Pasta and risotto were found to be the most popular meal choices, and this should come as no surprise. Italian cuisine’s influence on the typical Brit’s home cooking repertoire is massive. Partly, this is due to the incredible versatility of Italian cuisine and its approachability for any level of home chef.
But the key piece of information uncovered in the report was the vast number of people who said they had rekindled their passion for cooking at home. Nearly three-quarters of Brits said they enjoyed cooking at home over the past year. Rather than seeing it as a necessary obligation at mealtimes, consumers are having fun, taking ownership of the food they eat, and spicing up meals by spending a bit more than they used to on higher-quality ingredients.
We can expect to see some change on the horizon here. As the hospitality industry reopens and consumers fall back into dining out for occasions and special weeknight meals, we’re certain to see a slight shift away from home cooking. But the joy that was unearthed over the last year in lockdown won’t disappear – especially for those consumers who have connected with the fantastic quality Italian ingredients found at their local shop or deli and the shop owners who helped them discover new delights in the kitchen.
Covid-19 has brought so much difficult news for the food and drink industry – but it has also provided consumers an opportunity to reconnect with their kitchens, experiment with new flavours, try their hand at healthy dishes, and perfect classic favourites. Turning this love affair into a long-lasting romance will take continued effort from the fine food sector – by championing the best products and sharing the inspiration that heritage ingredients bring to the home, success is all but guaranteed.