The UK’s Savviest Home Cooks
The UK’s Savviest Home Cooks
Whether you’re looking to rustle up a quick midweek meal or just want to avoid the watering eyes that come with chopping onions, there are all kinds of convenience ingredients that we can use to make cooking our favourite Ocado recipes a breeze.
We all want to find ways to make life a little easier and save precious time wherever we can. Savvy cooks do just that. With the help of convenience ingredients (pre-prepared items such as garlic paste and breadcrumbs) and kitchen know-how, savvy cooks use shortcuts to cut down cooking time. But which of the UK’s home cooks are the savviest of them all?
We want our shoppers to make the most of their time in the kitchen. With this in mind, we set out to discover how convenience ingredients affect our cooking habits. We conducted a survey of over 2,000 UK adults, examined Google search data and even analysed our own sales figures to reveal the following.
The UK’s Most Hated Food Prep Tasks
Our survey of over 2,000 UK adults revealed that we are united in our dislike for these three kitchen tasks:
Onions contain an irritant called syn-propanethial-S-oxide which causes that tell-tale burning sensation in your eyes. It’s probably the reason 32% of respondents agreed chopping onions is their least favourite culinary task.
Peeling veg like carrots and potatoes is a time-consuming task. Therefore, it’s perhaps unsurprising this was the UK’s second most hated chore. 22% of respondents said they can’t stand peeling root vegetables.
Peeling garlic can be a fiddly process and it doesn’t help that it contains potent sulphur molecules which transfer onto your skin. It can leave your fingers smelling for days! For this reason, 19% of UK adults rated this the task they avoid at all costs.
Each City’s Favourite Convenience Ingredient
Next, we wanted to find out whether there are regional differences in our favourite convenience ingredients. It turns out that while each city has a firm favourite, many of us can’t get enough of tinned tomatoes.
Tinned tomatoes are a family favourite and the basis of some of the best weekday dinners, from spaghetti bolognese to shakshuka. If you’re looking for new ways to use your tinned tomatoes, get inspired with our vegetarian dinner ideas.
The Most Searched For Food Prep Questions
As well as our favourite convenience ingredients, we wanted to unveil the prep we need the most help with as a nation. We examined Google search data from the past three years, to see which preparation tasks the nation is asking the internet for guidance on and how these have changed over time. These were the 20 most searched ‘how to make’ questions.
Year after year, the food prep question we struggle with the most is ‘how to make pancakes’. Of course, searches spike around Pancake Day but across the year, average monthly search volumes are still around 135,000. Whether you’re a savvy cook who has the basics mastered or you need a bit more guidance, you can’t go wrong with these step-by-step pancake recipes.
With more people opting for a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, it’s unsurprising there are some food prep questions which fall into those categories. These include ‘how to make guacamole’, ‘how to make tomato pasta sauce’, ‘how to make coleslaw’ and ‘how to cut butternut squash’. Want to spice up your weekday meals? Get inspired with our collection of vegan recipes and vegetarian recipes.
The UK’s Savviest Cooks
This left us wondering where in the UK we can find the savviest cooks – those who take advantage of convenience ingredients for a nifty shortcut. We analysed Google search data to reveal which cities and towns had the highest volume of food preparation queries, before looking at our own survey results to unearth how frequently each town and city uses convenience ingredients, including the amount of time they save per year by using prepared ingredients.
|Rank||City||Google searches per 1000||Frequency convenience ingredients used per week||Time saved per year||Overall score|
Dagenham was crowned the UK’s savviest town, scoring over 82 in our savviness index. The home cooks of Dagenham are among those that use convenience ingredients most frequently, averaging over three times a week. Thanks to these shortcut ingredients, they manage to reclaim 5 hours and 14 minutes per year. These residents also made the most Google searches related to food prep question, proving that these expert home cooks are switched on and ready to learn!
Sunderland is the least savvy of the UK’s towns with a score of just 41. These North East city dwellers have one of the lowest volumes of internet searches relating to food prep questions, making 126 queries per 1,000 people each month.
Interestingly, when it came to our survey, those living in Greater London crowned themselves the UK’s savviest cooks. With a fast-paced lifestyle in the capital, 77% of Londoners classed themselves as either ’extremely savvy’ or ’somewhat savvy’ in the kitchen, however in our index, London actually came in 74th place.
Ocado Customers’ Favourite Convenience Ingredients
With all this in mind, we turned to our own sales data to see which ingredients Ocado customers have added to their baskets the most. This also helped us discover which convenience ingredients increased the most in popularity from 2020 to 2021.
In 2021, when many of us began resuming our normal lives, we found there was a staggering 96% increase in the sale of convenience ingredients. Tinned sweetcorn jumped the most (4,643%) in popularity. Pre-prepared fruits also led the way as orange segments, mango and kiwi pieces dramatically increased in popularity too.
On the other hand, Thai green curry paste saw the biggest decrease in popularity dropping by 42%, followed by chicken gravy granules and regular granules both by 39%.
Overall, it seems like we’re a nation that welcomes help in the kitchen from time to time, and some convenience ingredients play a crucial role in our weekly routines.
Whether you rely on convenience ingredients seven days a week or love to prepare every ingredient from scratch, we hope you relish those moments. Cooking at home should be a joy – however you choose to do it. If you’re looking for healthy eating ideas, there are thousands to discover on the Ocado recipes section.
About Ocado Retail Ocado.com (operated by Ocado Retail) is the world’s largest dedicated online supermarket, and is a joint venture between Marks & Spencer Group and Ocado Group. With over 830,000 active customers, we are the UK’s fastest-growing supermarket.
Customers benefit from an unbeatable range of almost 50,000 products – including big-name brands, more than 7,000 items from the M&S food and drink range and Ocado’s Own-Range – unbeatable service, with more than 97% orders accurate and on-time, and the most sustainable grocery proposition with the lowest levels of food waste (0.04%) of any British grocer.
Every order is carefully packed in one of our distribution centres using world-leading software and technology. Shopping is then delivered directly to customers using a network of regional spokes in one of our vans. Ocado developed the first grocery shopping app in 2010 and continues to develop and innovate to offer their customers the best possible experience.
We analysed the following data in our report:
• Internal sales data (Ocado)
• Survey of 2,054 nationally representative UK adults (Censuswide)
We used survey responses to establish the UK’s most hated food preparation tasks and most loved convenience ingredients, Google search data to find out the most searched for food preparation questions and Ocado internal sales data to discover ingredients which have increased in popularity the most.
We then combined Google search data and survey responses, giving them a weighted ranking to establish the index of the UK’s Savviest Cooks.
All data and prices correct as of 22/12/2021. Data available on request.