Mintel’s new report* shows a growing trend towards “armchair chefs” , with a third of Britons unconfident about their cooking ability. “Ready Steady Cook” is the nation’s favourite television cookery programme, while Delia is most likely to inspire recipe recreation.

The research questioning 1,017 adults on the impact of celebrity chefs on cooking habits, shows that despite the multi-million pound TV chef industry, almost 40% of adults have no interest in cookery. The group classified by Mintel as the “can’t cook, won’t cook brigade”, do not have time to recreate recipes seen on the television, they are uninterested in cookery programmes and feel there are far too many of them on show.

Let me entertain you!

Almost half of those questioned enjoy watching “Ready Steady Cook”. “Can’t Cook Won’t Cook” is also popular, with almost a third of adults, enjoying this show. The popularity of these very much “entertainment-based programmes”, suggest that the entertainment value may be more important than the food itself.

“Two Fat Ladies” and Delia Smith are both enjoyed by 28% of respondents, despite the very different style of programme. Both programmes were particularly appealing to the older viewer, with 11% of 15-24 year olds enjoying Delia compared to over 40% of those aged 65 and over.

Budding Delias
Those viewers most inclined to recreate recipes cooked by TV chefs are Delia Smith fans, with 37% of Delia’s viewers trying her recipes in the home, in comparison to a quarter of all other viewers. Delia fans were also the most likely to have bought a book to go with the series (33%) and over a quarter of her viewers bought/tried a new ingredient after having seen it on her show.

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By contrast, those enjoying “Ready Steady Cook” were the least likely to recreate recipes viewed on the programme, these viewers were also among the least likely to feel sufficiently confident about their cooking abilities to recreate recipes viewed.

Still chained to the kitchen sink?

All TV cookery programmes are enjoyed most by women, although this is negligible for BBC’s “Food and Drink”, perhaps as a result of the programme’s inclusion of drinks and of its very factual nature.

Despite, the abundance of high profile male chefs, those falling into the “can’t cook, won’t cook brigade” are dominated by males, with almost 47% of men falling in to this category, as opposed to 29% of women. In terms of region, the Scots have above average enjoyment of TV cook shows, however, those in Scotland were the least likely to recreate recipes viewed on the TV. The Scottish were among the most likely to have been tempted towards more adventurous foods as a result of TV viewing.

“Although TV chefs have not produced a nation of supercooks, they have played a part in educating consumers, whether they can cook or not, broadening their interest in food” comments Camilla West, Consumer Goods Consultant.

The declining number of kitchen literate consumers may be inspired to produce new dishes, having watched a chef in action and this has no doubt assisted the growth of for example, pan-Asian cooking.

*’TV Chefs’ is available from Mintel. Price: £495.
Further details, tables and charts available from Amanda White in the press office.
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