Despite the fact that a weekly Sunday roast is something Brits are well known for, new research commissioned by leading food entertainment and lifestyle channel food Network UK, highlights that the traditional family meal is on the way out, with four in ten families saying they only manage to sit down for dinner twice a week or less.
The poll, carried out by the food entertainment channel to mark the UK’s equivalent of Thanksgiving, Thank You Day, highlighted that a shocking one in ten never sit down for a family meal, with Dads being cited as the worst culprit for missing meals, closely followed by teenagers.
The research, which questioned 2,000 British adults, revealed that long working hours were the main reason that family meals were missed followed by after school commitments. Fifteen per cent of those asked said their lengthy commute made it tricky to share a family meal in the evening and a fifth highlighted domestic chores as something that got in the way of a good family get-together.
Special occasions were cited as the thing that does get us eating together more, with a huge 88 per cent portion of the nation planning to sit down together for Christmas dinner, 79 per cent enjoying meals for birthdays and one in ten planning dinner for the up and coming Thank You Day celebrations. Whilst these important events do see us enjoying more meals together, a third admitted they wish they sat down for a meal more regularly and not just for special occasions.
Positively, almost half of adults do encourage their family to eat together more often, with a third of children inspiring the big family meals that bring families together.
Nick Thorogood, Senior Vice President of Content and Marketing, Food Network EMEA said, “Modern life means we all lead really busy lives and the research shows that sitting down for a family dinner every single night of the week is something that no longer happens.”
“This is something most British families will be able to relate to as it is an unfortunate consequence of having hectic social and work lives, as well as kids having school and sporting commitments.
“It is very encouraging though to see that families still make an effort to get together for special occasions, like Christmas and birthdays. Thank You Day provides another great opportunity to cook and share a meal together, whilst catching up with friends and family.”
The research found that a quarter said it was hard to get the family to eat together because people like different food, and a quarter feel guilty that they often miss the chance to eat together.
TOP TEN REASONS FOR FAMILIES MISSING DINNER TOGETHER
1. Parents working too late
2. All wanting to eat at different times
3. Taking part in shift work
4. After school / sports clubs commitments
5. Everyone eating different types of food
6. Needing to get on with domestic chores
7. Enduring a lengthy commute
8. Kids wanting to watch TV
9. Work issues getting in the way
10. Parents socialising
This Thank You Day Food Network UK is encouraging families to make the time to eat together with special themed programming designed to inspire the nation with creative ways of celebrating with food.
Tune into Food Network UK this Thanksgiving from 19:00 - 23:00 on Thursday 22nd November and check out the host of special themed programming including Guy Fieri and Barefoot Contessa, who are shaking things up this Thanksgiving with delicate dishes to suit a variety of tastes. Delicious truffle butter turkey, mouth-watering sausage stuffed mushrooms, brussels sprouts aux lardons and pumpkin banana mousse tart recipes will be on hand to make your Thank You Day family meal a special one.
You can also catch the Man v Food Nation Feast Special, as Adam Richman explores the U.S. for the best places to tuck into for the fabulous family style feasts, from the Amish to the more traditional!