Category Archives: Stats and facts on food, drink, eating habits etc

One in seven lacks the skills to cook a meal from scratch!

One in seven lacks the skills to cook a meal from scratch!

While British cuisine is having somewhat of a revival, this is clearly not making its way into household kitchens, as home cooked meals have dropped by 20% since the 80s.

According to new research by Kenwood, only four out of the average household’s 21 meals a week are cooked from scratch, whilst consumption of ready meals or takeaways has significantly increased.

The study also showed that kitchen nerves are more prevalent in men than women, and in particular amongst the under 35s, who find cooking more stressful than older generations.

This could be down to the fact that ready meals are so good these days that people don’t see the need to cook at home; or perhaps they no longer have as much time to cook, trying to fit food around busy social lives; or it could simply be attributed to the fact that we now have a generation who didn’t see their parents cook much, so therefore were not exposed to necessary home cooking skills – which I think is really sad!

Mark Swift, Director of Marketing at Kenwood, comments, “It’s a great shame to discover the extent to which cooking from scratch is on the decline, and the impact that this is having on our cookery confidence and ability in the UK. Cooking from scratch is a great way to de-stress and it’s also an important way to teach children about correct nutrition, and pass on cooking knowledge so they know their way around the kitchen.

What hope does Britain have of our ensuring our food revival continues, if we aren’t able to pass valuable cookery skills onto the next generation?


Costa launches Costa light! Check out the video to see how light it really is!


Costa’s Master of Coffee, Gennaro Pelliccia, gets airborne in this new video to promote Costa Light (cl).

The new concoction is a shot of Costa expresso, which is then mixed with skimmed milk and finally frothed together to make Costa light… sounds good to me!

One thing that surprised me about this video is that Costa sells a whopping 520 million cups of coffee each day worldwide – That sure is a hell of a lot of coffee!

Selfridges launches Project Ocean


Driven by the unthinkable prospect of the world’s major fisheries collapsing by 2050, Selfridges has announced an interesting new partnership initiative with The Zoological Society of London (ZSL), to raise awareness of the increasing damage we are causing to the ocean as a result of our ever growing consumption of fish.

Dubbed Project Ocean, the aim is to highlight that unless we change the way we fish and the seafood we choose to eat, global stocks will disappear before our eyes.  It will challenge us all to imagine a world with “no more fish in the sea” and in turn hopes to increase awareness, inspire change in consumer habits and raise funds.

The project will be running from 11 May – 12 June, and will involve international marine protection campaigners, 22 environmental NGOs, as well high profile activists from the worlds of art, fashion, culinary arts, and entertainment.

For five weeks, the Selfridges’ Ultralounge will be the epicentre for Project Ocean activity, including talks on the most pressing issues related to our oceans, film screenings, Guerrilla Science for families and cookery demonstrations by celebrity and aspiring chefs on how to cook sustainable fish.  On Friday evenings, the Ultralounge will emerge as the Dive Bar, hosting musical acts and performances as a means to raising awareness and showcasing up and coming talent. (See the calendar of events).

There is an informative Selfridges Fish Guide on the website providing useful information and recipes, and they have even launched a natty little (free) iphone app that you can turn to to find out which fish to eat and which to avoid.

Part of Selfridges Fish Guide, indicating endangered species and alternatives

Jonathan Baillie, co-creator of Project Ocean and Director of ZSL said, “Project Ocean signals the biggest-ever retail activism campaign designed to ‘sell’ and engage public mind-sets on overfishing, an issue that needs mass support.  We hope that this innovative partnership with Selfridges makes the public understand the issues around overfishing, and measurably leads to more fish in the sea”.

It’s a worthy cause, so if you are interested in donating, please follow the instructions below.

How to Donate: You can donate to Project Ocean to help the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) create new, and maintain existing, marine reserves around the world.  These safe havens for fish to breed, grow and migrate will help the future survival of our ocean environments and all that lives within them.

What your donation could buy:

£10 – underwater paper to record fish species and numbers; £30 – marker buoy to show boundary of reserve; £30 – mask and snorkel for diver to check fish & corals; £40 – air tank for diver; £60 – underwater torch; £100 – dive computer to record fish numbers; £150 – wetsuit for diver; £300 – dive training for local conservationist; £1,000 – annual salary of a fish warden; £3,000 – guardhouse to protect the reserve; £3,000 – patrol boat to protect the reserve; £4,500-7,000 – annual salary for developing country community worker … *estimated costs for a marine reserve in the Philippines

All donations to Project Ocean will go to the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) to help set up and maintain existing marine reserves around the world ZSL is a registered charity in England & Wales, no: 208728

Leith’s launches free Xmas cookery iPhone app


Another Christmas cookery app has been launched; this time it’s a goodun, and it’s free -yipee!  The Leith’s app is in the form of a quiz and is a great way to test your family members on their culinary knowledge over Christmas, and see who really is the cooking expert!

The app has a mixture of seasonal and technical questions, many of which are used within the school to test the Leiths Diploma students. Example questions include; when are brussels sprouts in season and what is forced rhubarb, to general cookery questions, such as, what does En Papillote mean?

Each quiz contains 10 questions which are randomly selected by shaking the app to mix up the questions in an animated blender.  There are 36 questions in total and at the end of each quiz you find out whether you are a Head Chef or a Comis Chef with your score.  If you made mistakes, fear not as the app allows you to review your responses to see what you got wrong and find out the correct answer.

The app also comes with five free seasonal recipes, taken from Leiths many cookery books.  Even better it will be updated throughout the year to reflect each season, so you can keep learning new nuggets of cookery info; additional seasonal recipes will be updated as well.

The app is currently available from the iTunes store, and as I mentioned before it’s free, so happy downloading!

Urban jungleites seek ‘the good life’, says Buxton Water


In a recent poll, Buxton Natural Mineral Water revealed a third of Brits would happily take a pay cut to move from the city to the countryside, with 8 out of 10 (81 per cent) citing soothing sounds of birdsong and running water as the most appealing aspect of rural life.

While the ability to grow your own fruit and vegetables received 65 and 54 per cent of the vote respectively, almost a quarter thought that rearing their own animals was particularly appealing.  Just three per cent were keen to follow in Kate Moss’ footsteps by making their own jam.

Interestingly, Buxton uses a natural filtration system for its water.  According to the British Geological Survey, this water actually fell as rain over 5,000 years ago, long before the atmosphere was polluted by any industrial activity, which ensures a much purer and fresher taste.

Is the World Cup bad for our health?


According to the latest research from Ocado, 83% of Brits will be choosing to watch World Cup matches at home instead of their usual pub outings, citing cost on pints and bar snacks as the principle reason.

Preferring to watch at home because they can eat and drink whatever they please, the average Brit will be eating an extra 340 calories per match watched and will worry about putting on an extra 4lbs.  So, if the average person is planning on watching 11 matches at home and 5 in the pub (as detailed in the findings), according to my calculation, we will each be consuming an additional 5,440 calories and worrying about putting on a huge 64lbs – eeek!!!

As well as adding to our waistlines, the research revealed that watching World Cup matches down the pub will cost each person a whopping £63.74 more than if they were to stay at home (£94.75 compared with £31.01).  Quite disturbingly, 85 million packets of crisps and 85 million pints of lager are expected to be consumed during the tournament…with pizzas, chocolate and crisps labelled as our favourite World Cup snacks – what about burgers?

The sofa vs. pub spend breakdown shows quite a significant difference!

Pub: Alcohol: £61.20  Food: £33.55

Sofa: Alcohol: £17.12 Food: £13.12

In a bid to encourage more people to watch from home, Ocado has partnered with The England woman’s captain, Faye White, to launch an innovative campaign called the ‘world recipe challenge’.  For the campaign, Ocado asked customers to submit recipes to its online library, and 32 of these (one for each qualifying nation) are battling it out to receive the most amount of page views and recipe downloads. Jason Gissing, co-founder of Ocado comments, “We’re hoping that our unique World Recipe Challenge prompts shoppers to try something different. We’ve got some great World Cup dishes on our website, everything from Japanese salmon to peppy Ghanaian stew.   It’s a feast of football in more ways than one.”

The recipes will go live on Ocado’s website on Friday, they sound pretty tasty so do let me know if you try any.

What really made me laugh about the research is that Ocado found that lager and champagne sales increased significantly during the previous World Cup (53% and 23%), but smoking cessation products declined by 17% – so what it really boils down to is that The World Cup is just bad for us in so many ways – we spend more money, put on weight, eat unhealthy food, drink more alcohol, smoke more and take no exercise! AWESOME, crack open the champers!!!

Eat cheese to boost your immune system


As many of you may well know, I am a major cheese freak (the smellier the better) so I was really pleased to hear the news that eating cheese helps boost your immune system.

Recent research, conducted by Finish scientist Dr Fandi Ibrahim, finds that certain cheese, made by adding bacteria to milk, naturally contains probiotic bacteria.  This bacterium, when digested, causes an increase in the number and activity of the immunity cells.

The study was conducted among the elderly whose immunity levels naturally decline with old age.  However, the scientists did mention that eating probiotic cheese would boost anyone’s immune system regardless of age.  Now that’s enough proof for me – more cheese please!

Cheese counter at Daylesford, Westbourne Grove

Discount restaurant vouchers rock


A new survey, conducted by, found that Brits save a whopping £3m every day using restaurant vouchers.

The findings revealed that over the last year 60% of Brits have used a restaurant discount in the last 6 months.

As per my previous post discount cards like View Card are the new paper voucher, however the rise of iPhone apps like Voucher Cloud will certainly be a challenger to the market.

Proof that alcohol speeds up ageing process – ugh…


I am pretty sure we all know that alcohol is bad for our skin, but according to an article in The Daily Telegraph, we now know why. 

The research, conducted by The University of Milan, found that drinking alcohol “causes stress and inflammation to telemeres – the end of DNA strands”, which means we can look haggard earlier than those who don’t drink.

The findings revealed that it was not only drink that caused the DNA strands to shorten, but that bad diet was also a key contributing factor.  Taking too much excercise and exposing your skin to too much sun and wind also have an affect on the telemeres. 

Still as long as you take ‘everything in moderation’ I am sure you’ll be fine … well that’s what my mum always told me, and i’m sticking to it 😉

Expresso bad for the heart?


I have always thought that coffee, expresso’s in particular, are bad for my heart – mainly because I can feel my heart beating frantically and feel agitated immediately after I have one!  However, I had never seen much proof until now.

According to recent research from the University of Palermo, just one single expresso can raise blood pressure significantly and restrict arteries for at least an hour after drinking it.

They also performed the same tests using decaf expresso, but this had no real effect.

While it may seem dangerous to drink coffee having just read this, the findings, that were published in British Coffee Association, were only tested on 20 people, and the British Coffee Association has since highlighted that “when consumed in moderation … coffee is safe for the general population.”

So, until I have further proof, I am going to continue to have the occasional expresso, well I can’t resist it!