Feeling stuffed: Half of Brits can’t cook a Christmas Dinner from scratch

15 December 2021

  • Third are unable to cook roast potatoes, more than two fifths can’t roast a turkey and two thirds don’t know how to cook sprouts from scratch
  • As a result, one in three don’t intend to cook Christmas dinner this year
  • Network of Community Fridges set to help more people improve their cooking skills

Almost a half (47%) of UK adults can’t cook a full Christmas dinner from scratch, according to new research released today by Co-op.

The research reveals why people feel stuffed when it comes to cooking a Christmas dinner and puts the spotlight on the amount of food set to go to waste this Christmas.

When delving into the reasons why Brits are opting out of cooking at Christmas, one-third (33%) say they’ve never being taught how to cook and a further third (33%) said they don’t have the space or equipment.

Cranberry sauce tops the list as the item UK adults are least likely to be able to cook from scratch, followed by bread sauce and Christmas Pudding.

Top 10 festive foods Brits can’t cook from scratch:

  1. Cranberry sauce (81%)
  2. Bread Sauce (73%)
  3. Christmas Pudding (73%)
  4. Mince Pies (64%)
  5. Pigs in Blankets (50%)
  6. Parsnips (49%)
  7. Gravy (44%)
  8. Brussel Sprouts (43%)
  9. Roast turkey (40%)
  10. Roast potatoes (33%)

As a result, more than one in three (34%) don’t plan to cook a Christmas dinner this year.

Instead of slicing and dicing, over half (55%) of UK adults say they’ll rely on others to cook for them instead. Almost a sixth (15%) will forego a Christmas dinner entirely and almost a tenth (8%) will eat at a pub or restaurant.

However, all is not lost as two fifths (41%) of UK adults say next year they want to learn how to cook from scratch.

When asked how they’d most like to do this, almost a third (30%) would want to learn from someone who is an expert or has lots of experience and a quarter (25%) want to learn close to where they live.

A fifth (20%) would want face to face sessions as opposed to virtual learning and almost a fifth (18%) want to learn from someone like themselves.

Perhaps as a result of a lack of culinary skills, over a third (35%) of Brits say they expect to waste food this Christmas.

Brussel Sprouts, turkey and Christmas cake are most likely to go to waste followed by bread sauce, potatoes and Christmas Pudding.

Showcasing a want from Brits to reduce food waste, over two thirds (67%) said they would find advice on how to reduce what they throw away helpful.

The research comes as Co-op commits to doubling Hubbub’s network of community fridges as part of its ongoing partnership with the environmental charity, funding a further 250 fridges, bringing the total to 500, which is expected to save a total of 34 million meals from going to waste annually.

In addition to reducing food waste, the fridges which will be open over the festive period and are a place where communities can gain access fresh food and learn skills such as cooking.

Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community and Shared Value at Co-op said: “Cooking is not only a fantastic skill to have in terms of providing for yourself and eating well, but it’s one of the best ways to come together with members of your family and the community – especially at Christmas.

“However, the reality is that knowing how to cook from scratch isn’t a skill that everyone has access to. Through our partnership with Hubbub we hope that more people will take up the opportunity to meet with others at their local Community Fridge and share and learn skills such as cooking.”

Liam Sweeney, Creative Partner at Hubbub said: “Food has always been a way to bring people together but the role of a Community Fridge goes way beyond its contents. Not only do these fridges provide people with fresh food that would otherwise go to waste they offer a place for communities to come together, support one another and learn from each other.”

Co-op is encouraging people who are looking to learn new skills and to find their local Community Fridge to visit its online community Co-operate.


Notes to editors From 3rd – 6th December 2021, Censuswide conducted an online survey, on behalf of Co-op, with N=2,0001 people in the UK. To ensure a representative sample, demographic quotas were set. It should be remembered that while the data is representative, a sample was interviewed and not the entire population.

About Co-op The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with interests across food, funerals, insurance and legal services. Owned by over 4 million UK consumers, the Co-op operates 2,600 food stores, over 800 funeral homes and provides products to over 5,100 other stores, including those run by independent co-operative societies and through its wholesale business, Nisa Retail Limited.  

Employing over 60,000 people, the Co-op has an annual turnover of £10 billion. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Co-op is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes. The Co-op exists to meet members’ needs and stand up for the things they believe in.  

This investment in community fridges has been made possible by Co-op members and customers thanks to the contribution of 2p in every £1 spent on Co-op own-branded products, shared between its Local Community Fund and Co-op’s new Community Partnerships Fund, which support grassroots projects that provide access to food, help improve mental wellbeing or create opportunities for young people.

About Hubbub Hubbub is an award-winning charity that inspires ways of living that are good for the environment. Hubbub designs trailblazing campaigns that make environmental action desirable; disrupting the status quo to raise awareness, nudge behaviours and shape systems.

Since 2014 Hubbub has built collaborations with over 1,600 organisations, from international businesses to local authorities and community groups – inspiring over 800,000 people to take action and change their behaviour. This includes bringing together all the major coffee cup retailers to collect and recycle 5 million coffee cups in 1 year.

Hubbub’s campaigns include #LeedsByExample which brought together 25 of the UK’s largest companies to boost recycling on the high street, a 3-year partnership with IKEA to create the world’s largest consumer-facing sustainability campaign ‘Live Lagom’ and creating a Network of over 150 Community Fridges across the UK, each redistributing on average 1.5 tonnes of food every month that would otherwise have gone to waste.

Hubbub also runs campaigns to tackle litter, air pollution and climate change and to promote sustainable fashion. Their innovative approach saw Hubbub win the Charity of the Year Award at the prestigious Charity Times Awards in 2020.

For more information, please contact: Emily Penkett (emily.penkett@coop.co.uk) & Mark Carrington (mark.carrington@coop.co.uk)