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Who cooks from scratch and how do they prepare food?

Tony Worsley (School of exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)
Wei Chun Wang (School of exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)
Pradeep Wijeratne (School of exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)
Sinem Ismail (School of exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)
Stacey Ridley (School of exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 2 February 2015

Abstract

Purpose

There is increasing interest in the domestic preparation of food and with the postulated health benefits of “cooking from scratch”. The purpose of this paper is to examine the demographic and food preparation associations of this term in order to examine its operational value.

Design/methodology/approach

A national online survey was conducted during 2012 in Australia among 1,023 domestic food providers, half of whom were men. Questions were asked about cooking from scratch, demographic characteristics, food preparation practices and interest in learning about cooking.

Findings

Three quarters of the sample reported they often or always “cooked from scratch” (CFS). More women than men always CFS; fewer 18-29 year olds did so often or always but more of the over 50s always did so; fewer single people CFS than cohabiting people. No statistically significant ethnic, educational background or household income differences were found. High levels of cooking from scratch were associated with interest in learning more about cooking, greater use of most cooking techniques (except microwaves), meat and legume preparation techniques, and the use of broader ranges of herbs, spice, liquids/ sauces, other ingredients and cooking utensils.

Research limitations/implications

In future work a numerical description of the frequency of cooking from scratch should be considered along with a wider range of response options. The data were derived from an online panel from which men were oversampled. Caution is required in comparisons between men and women respondents. The cross-sectional nature of the sample prevents any causal attributions from being drawn from the observed relationships. Further replication of the findings, especially the lack of association with educational background should be conducted.

Originality/value

This is the first study to examine the associations of demographic characteristics and cooking practices with cooking from scratch. The findings suggest that cooking from scratch is common among Australian family food providers and signifies interest in learning about cooking and involvement in a wide range of cooking techniques.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by a grant from Meat and Livestock Australia. The authors would like to thank Ms Veronique Droulez (MLA) her help and encouragement, and Ms Victoria Hodgeson of Clever Stuff Pty Ltd, who managed the data collection.

Citation

Worsley, T., Wang, W.C., Wijeratne, P., Ismail, S. and Ridley, S. (2015), "Who cooks from scratch and how do they prepare food?", British Food Journal, Vol. 117 No. 2, pp. 664-676. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-01-2014-0018

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited