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Foodie White Paper

The Great British Foodie White Paper

by Great British Chefs 15 February 2017

We asked and you delivered: take a look at the results of the UK’s biggest ever survey on what today’s foodies cook and eat, and see how you stack up against the rest of the nation.

Baking bread, stocking up on harissa and cooking quail – these are just a few of the things Britain’s foodies are doing on a regular basis. Since the start of the year we’ve been asking our readers what they like to cook, how they like to cook it and what inspires them. Over 5,000 self-confessed foodies shared their cooking and eating habits, and the results proved that we truly are a food-obsessed nation.

While the average Brit tends to cook the same seven dishes week-in, week-out, self-confessed foodies regularly cook an incredible forty-four and have close to 100 dishes in their repertoire. Almost all – 91% to be exact – are happy to eat anything and everything, with a surprising number of home cooks tackling exotic meats like ostrich, suckling pig and even crocodile.

Perhaps the most important results of the survey shed light on what we have in our fridges and cupboards, showing that international influences have truly shaped how we cook and eat at home. Today, foodies are more likely to own a bottle of Thai fish sauce than brown sauce, over half always have harissa on standby and over a fifth stock up on dried seaweed. Perhaps this is why foodies are regularly cooking dishes like tagine and Thai green curry or giving more advanced techniques a go by making their own dim sum, sushi and kimchi. With all these ingredients to hand, it’s no wonder that 85% cook from scratch when they need to rustle up a quick meal, rather than reaching for a ready meal or takeaway menu.

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The British foodie’s kitchen is filled with all sorts of appliances, gadgets, gizmos and kitchenware – after all, some specialist kit is needed for the 40% into pickling, the 13% who brew beer and a truly dedicated five percent that cure their own salami. It's no longer unusual to find ice cream makers, smokers, pizza stones and sous vide machines adorning countertops across the UK.

When it comes to what inspires us, 82% of foodies believe they’re much better cooks than their parents, finding ideas on what to cook in books (88%) or online (85%). However, eating out is an important source of knowledge, too – 85% try to recreate what they’ve been served in British restaurants and 76% take inspiration from their holidays abroad. The unstoppable rise of cooking shows on television has also had a serious effect on what we cook: 83% of foodies cook a dish they’ve seen on-screen.

These results show that we live in an entirely different world of food compared to as little as ten years ago, when things like Thai fish sauce and sous vide machines were only found in the most specialist kitchens. And the only way is up: with more and more ingredients becoming readily available, demand for cookbooks showing no sign of waning and new generations of foodies taking to the stove, we can’t wait to see what we’ll be cooking in five years’ time.

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