Is the great British dinner party under threat?

Over a third of Brits feel they don’t have the time or space to host a dinner party, according to research by IKEA.

Swedish homeware giant says the great British dinner party is under threat, as 42% of Brits in a survey of 2,000 claim they can’t cook at all, with nearly a quarter (24%) feeling they don’t have enough space to host.

The retailer said: ‘This isn’t surprising due to the average British home measuring 85sq m, making it the smallest in Western Europe. Brits’ busy lifestyles and work commitments also get in the way, with 15% claiming that they are too time-poor to entertain.

‘This is despite a huge appetite to cook and eat together, with nearly a third (29%) wanting to entertain guests at least once a month – yet in reality this only happens once every two to three months (33%). When it does, staples like curry (17%) and pasta (16%) are the most popular shared dishes.’

Although a lack of time and space are resulting in us eating less together, IKEA has reported an increase in dining table sales of 10% in July 2016 compared with July 2015, revealing there is a clear aspiration to do so. The most popular occasion to gather around the table is for Christmas dinner (32%).

But Britain has experienced a 22% drop in families enjoying weekly meals together, with 72% claiming their parents would ensure a sit-down meal took place at least once a week, compared to 50% doing so today. Moreover, the decline in weekly family meals is part of a growing trend for eating alone; over a quarter of Brits eat at least one meal a day on their own (27%).

The study also showed we have become a nation of ‘food voyeurs’ with our love of cookery programmes on the rise. The influence of celebrity chefs and their recipes are fuelling this interest, with ‘The Great British Bake Off’ voted the nation’s favourite cookery show (21%) and Jamie Oliver named as the chef whose recipes we would most like to replicate (29%).

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