While celebrity chefs have spent years on a mission to make cooking more popular and accessible, young consumers still lack basic culinary skills.
That is the conclusion of Mintel, whose latest research has discovered that the younger generation finds rice and pasta difficult to cook.
While just 9% of rice users aged over 65 say they find it hard to cook rice properly, 37% of those aged 16 to 24 admit to having difficulty.
Similarly, over-55s are the age group least likely to find pasta difficult to cook – only 4% do – while 22% of the 16 to 24s have a problem.
“It appears that the efforts of some of Britain’s best-loved chefs to make cooking easier and more accessible have gone rather off the boil,” commented Alex Beckett, senior food analyst at Mintel.
“Indeed, it seems that this lack of confidence in being able to cook has resulted in an added cost being passed on, as consumers stump up for pricier chilled pasta as an easier option.
“Knowing the basics of cooking from scratch rather than tearing open a pre-prepared packet could help young people improve their health as well as their bank balance.”
She went on: “Britain’s more mature generations appear to be the most confident in the kitchen, suggesting our growing reliance on quick-fix foods is to the detriment of basic cooking skills. Television networks are crammed with cookery shows but their main aim is to entertain rather than educate.”
Mintel says that pasta’s place as a staple of the nation is reflected in the fact that 30% of Brits eat it two to three times a week – rising to 38% of the youngest group.
Both pasta and rice have benefited since recession as being an affordable meal solution, with 49% sales growth recorded for pasta between 2006 and 2011 and 26% for rice over the same period.