A recent survey conducted by recipe box delivery company HelloFresh on UK households’ dining habits found that 25% of UK families sit down for a meal together just once a week or less.
With nearly three-quarters of UK households wanting to spend more time socialising over meals in 2022, HelloFresh are calling for Brits to commit to at least two nights a week of eating dinner as a family.
The survey found that families are spending less time together when eating their meals, and that more than a third of UK families eat dinner in front of the TV, either with their family (28.9%) or on their own (6.9%).
There are also differences in families across the UK. The survey results included 15 UK cities and found that Newcastle (32.7%) and Glasgow (32.5%) reported only sharing a family dinner at the dining table once a week or less, more families than anywhere else.
Belfast is the most family-focused city at mealtimes, according to the survey, with 87.5% of families sitting down together at the table for dinner more than once a week and 37.5% doing so every day.
There is a stark contrast between the Scottish cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh with 83.3% of families in Edinburgh sitting down together more than once a week at the dining table to share an evening meal, compared to 67.5% in Glasgow.
Percentage of families who sit down together for an evening meal once a week or less
HelloFresh spoke to Dr Lucy Stirling, clinical psychologist at HelloSelf about the positive impacts of eating together:
‘Research shows that eating with family facilitates social bonding and improves wellbeing. Indeed the more frequently people eat with others the higher their reports of happiness and life satisfaction.
‘A family meal encourages openness, laughter and the sharing of successes and struggles. This in turn nurtures a sense of belonging and promotes positive self-esteem and confidence.
‘So perhaps if January is a time for new beginnings and a decision to improve health and wellbeing then keeping up the family Sunday roast is a strong contender to support this.”
Mimi Morley, Recipe Development Manager at HelloFresh UK said: ‘We want to encourage families to commit to just one sit down meal with a family per week. To support families and make dinner time delicious we have developed the Ultimate range, featuring luxurious comfort foods with premium ingredients, quality sauces and sides.
‘The recipes include Ultimate Fish and Chips with Tartare Sauce and Crushed Minted Peas and Ultimate Meat Lovers Cheesy Pizza with BBQ Beef, Chorizo, Bacon and Rocket Side Salad for only £0.99 per person. With one recipe available each week, this is a great way to bring your family together in 2022, by treating them with delicious food and having the ultimate night in.’