It's egg boxes over Xboxes for new generation of 'Lockdown Little Chefs'

12 November 2020

• Children are now spending on average an extra 84 minutes per week cooking and baking

• 64% of parents have continued to cook and bake with their child since the first lockdown eased

• Almost 70% of children say they are a better cook than they were at the start of the year

• Almost a third of have been inspired to become a chef when they’re older

• Over half of parents said eating together as family has prompted positive changes in eating habits

New research from convenience retailer, Co-op, shows that British children are now spending more time than ever cooking up a storm in the kitchen, prompted by the extra time spent at home over the course of the pandemic.

The rise of the so-called ‘Lockdown Little Chef’ means youngsters aged between five and 13 years old are now spending, on average, an impressive eighty four minutes extra per week, creating their favourite foodie creations.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of parents or guardians said that they have continued to cook and bake with their children since the first national lockdown began to ease in the summer. And as all parts of the UK continue to live under new restrictions, on average, families state they’ll be aiming to spend around three hours cooking and baking to pass the time away.

Youngsters in the North West have been devoting the most time to their culinary creations – with an extra 116 minutes per week spent in the kitchen, followed by those in Northern Ireland at 110 minutes and West Midlands at 101 minutes.

Children’s favourite sweet treats to bake are fairy cakes (18%) followed by cookies (12%) whilst pasta (18%) and jacket potatoes (16%) are the top choices on the savoury menu.

When it comes to how children’s eating habits have changed over lockdown, over a third of parents and carers said they’d changed for the better and over half (54%) of those polled stated this was a result of being able to spend more time eating together as a family.

And it seems that British youngsters don’t want the time in the kitchen to come to an end, with over half (51%) saying they’d like to spend more time cooking dinner at home and a further 32% saying they’ve been inspired to become a chef or cook when they’re older. Almost seven in ten (68%) say they are better cooks than they were at the start of the year.

Greg Rutherford MBE, Celebrity MasterChef Winner 2019 and father of two, said: “As a father myself I know the sheer joy that can come from spending time in the kitchen with your child helping them to create anything from pizzas and pasta dishes to brownies and banana bread. Whilst enforced time spent at home has been hard on many of us at times, it’s encouraging to see that it has also prompted many youngsters to take more of an interest in cooking and baking. I really hope this upward trend helps to establish a healthy interest in food and mealtimes for our little chefs.”

Breige Donaghy, Co-op’s Director of Delicious Food, said: “The first lockdown earlier this year really shone a light on the simple pleasure creating a meal or baking a cake can bring, it certainly did with my two children in our home. As restrictions continue right across the UK, it’s heart-warming to think that children are discovering, perhaps for the first time, just how rewarding time spent in the kitchen can be as well as building up their bank of favourite recipes. The fun in the kitchen, whether whipping up some tasty buns or making smoothies, is building a life skill for our little ones.”


*Research was carried out by Opinion Matters in September and November.1000 parents and 1000 children aged between 5 and 13 were polled.

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