How Often Do You Cook Dinner?

Samantha Brennan, Editor

Samantha Brennan, Editor

Global research firm Nielsen recently surveyed more than 11,500 Australian shoppers for the 2013 Product of the Year awards, to find out which grocery items we love and what we’re looking for on supermarket shelves.

It seems while we’re open to paying a little more for certain products, we’re still paying close attention to those price tags – and increasingly choosing supermarket labels over branded alternatives. The research, discussed in Food Magazine, says 70% of us compare prices between the big brands and home-brand; 94% confess to having bought supermarket brands – and half of those people do it regularly. 

The other factor driving our purchasing habits? Convenience, and possibly at a cost to our health. Almost three-quarters of people surveyed said they’d eat better-quality fresh food if it cost less, while 41% said that buying pre-packaged meals is cheaper and easier than home-cooking. Fifty-three per cent said they don’t have time to cook a full meal from scratch. Does that number surprise you?

At our place, we cook dinner almost every night. I try to keep a few back-ups (like home-made bolognese) in the freezer for those times we’re too tired to cook. In summer, we often have grilled meat and salad, because it’s quick, easy and healthy, and there are plenty of different ways to change it up so we don’t get bored. In winter, it’s lots of bakes, soups and casseroles that can be made in advance. Do we always cook a full meal from scratch? I suppose not – we always have bottles of pasta sauce and packets of frozen vegies ready to go. But as a general rule, we try to eat freshly prepared food as often as possible.

But these new stats have us thinking, and we’re interested to know: how often do you cook dinner at your place, and what’s Plan B when there just aren’t enough hours in the day?