BRITS are spending more time than ever in the kitchen, experimenting with bread makers, food processors and even toastie machines as they try and bond with their kids.
A study has revealed people are spending an extra 14 hours a week in the kitchen, with 58 per cent of people turning to appliances to be more creative with their dinner.
The poll of 2,000 people found seven in 10 mums and dads are spending quality time with their kids baking and cooking – and gadgets are being deployed in force.
Ice cream makers, air fryers, waffle machines, sandwich makers, smoothie makers, and pizza ovens are just some of the gadgets Brits are using to jazz up their mealtimes.
The top dishes to whip up with their children include homemade pizza, with 46 per cent giving this dish a go, while 36 per cent tried to make a new dessert, and 54 per cent baked a cake.
Toasties have soared in popularity as a lunchtime treat, with 39 per cent serving them up, while 50 per cent have experimented with pancakes.
Top 10 tips to save money on your bills
1. Pay attention to the energy consumption (wattage) of items that generate heat, as these will cost the most to run
2. After turning the oven off, leave the door open to heat up the room
3. Invest in a slow cooker for as little as £18 and save money by avoiding using the energy hungry oven.
4. Cooking food that has come straight out of the fridge takes longer because it’s colder. Simply take it out of the fridge and leave it on the side at room temperature for 30 minutes or so and it will cook much quicker.
5. Overfilling the kettle is the main way we waste energy – only boil enough water for your requirements.
6. Switch off or unplug microwaves, dishwashers, washing machines and electric ovens as they will continue to use standby energy.
7. Grab your kitchen appliance manuals and choose the eco settings – more dishwashers can be used in eco mode and will save up to 50 per cent of the energy required for each load.
8. Don’t choose inferior, cheaper washing-up liquids – the better the degreasing agent, the less hot water you’ll use to wash items. Cheaper alternatives are often a false economy as they are less effective.
9. Fill your freezer to capacity and it will run more efficiently – it takes more energy to power a partially empty freezer compared to one that is full.
10. Using lids on pots when cooking will stop heat from escaping, and food will cook quicker, requiring less energy.
Four in 10 turned to cooking as a way to bond with their family over the last 12 months, with 51 per cent of Brits saying mealtimes became the main form of evening entertainment.
While a third admitted they were simply looking for ways to keep the kids busy, so dusted off – or invested – in some high-tech kitchen equipment.
And 57 per cent said recipe books re-appeared in the kitchen, with six in 10 families polled via OnePoll eating more food than normal over the past year.
But while families may have enjoyed their food more, something else has also increased – the bills.
Some 84 per cent of adults admitted they had no idea how much energy their kitchen appliances used, with more than half confessing they don’t factor in running costs when buying them.
A renewed focus on cooking has undoubtedly helped to keep people’s spirits up during the pandemic
While 54 per cent don’t even bother to check the appliances’ energy rating factor.
A spokesman for Utilita, the Pay-As-You-Go energy company that carried out the study as part of its #EnergyHigh5 campaign, said: “A renewed focus on cooking has undoubtedly helped to keep people’s spirits up during the pandemic, but it’s important that we all consider what these gastro gadgets are costing in terms of the impact on our pockets, and the planet.
“For items that are only on for a few minutes, energy consumption shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
“It’s the items that stay out on the worktop to be used more regularly, or for longer periods, such as coffee machines, slow cookers and air fryers – mainly those that produce heat or refrigeration – that could be costing more than we expect over a year.
“But the good news is that it is so easy to monitor real-time energy usage today, giving households a chance to limit their gadget usage, or offset the extra spend by saving elsewhere in the house.
“Just this week, we welcomed news that the Government plans to simplify energy efficiency labels with regulations coming into force this summer.
“This improvement will help consumers to make more informed choices to reduce their energy consumption and bills, which is great news.”
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