Home cooking on the decline in South Ayrshire

At the launch of the campaign are Savita Purran, Shabana Diouri and Kirsty Day (front). Pic: Rob McDougall
At the launch of the campaign are Savita Purran, Shabana Diouri and Kirsty Day (front). Pic: Rob McDougall

A new campaign has been launched to help Scotland’s families make simple changes to the way they shop, cook and eat.

South Ayrshire’s 12,316¹ families are being urged to buy, cook and eat healthier food - and to take advantage of the support on offer through the Scottish Government’s Eat Better Feel Better campaign to help make it happen.

Home cooking in Ayrshire & Arran is declining, according to a new survey commissioned by the Scottish Government, which shows that more families are turning to convenience foods and takeaways due to the pressures of family life.

The research shows that less than a third of mums (32 per cent) in the area consider themselves as very capable cooks, and are happy to cook a meal using fresh or frozen ingredients, without the use of a recipe.

However, more than a third of families (35 per cent) are eating takeaway food at least once a week and nearly three in ten families (28 per cent) are eating ready meals at least three times a week.

The research accompanies a new campaign from the Scottish Government which was launched today to inspire and support families with practical tips, advice and tools to help them make simple, quick and cheap changes to how they shop and cook and eat.

For many mums in Scotland, the reluctance to cook from scratch is down to a number of obstacles which they see as prohibitive to making healthier meals for their families. Four in ten (42 per cent) think that it costs too much money to shop for and cook healthier family meals, a third (33 per cent) think that it takes too much time, around the same number (31 per cent) say that they’re too busy. A quarter (24 per cent) say that their kids are too fussy.

Public Health Minister Maureen Watt helped to launch the Eat Better Feel Better campaign.

She said: “For many families across Scotland, buying, cooking and eating healthy food can be a real challenge.

“However, there are many quick and cheap changes that we can make which can lead to significant improvements in our daily diets.

“From dealing with fussy eaters and shopping on a budget to planning your meals and finding time to cook, Eat Better Feel Better aims to address the various challenges faced by families by providing lots of practical hints, tips and recipes to help families eat more healthily.

“We know that helping children to eat healthier from a young age can help them avoid major illnesses later in life.

“That’s why we’re working together with retailers and community groups from across the country in getting behind Scotland’s families - to provide the support, encouragement and advice which will help them eat better and ultimately feel better.”

Eat Better Feel Better will be working alongside supermarkets and the convenience sector, as well as stakeholders and community groups from across Scotland’s food and health industry, to provide ongoing support for families. From practical cooking classes at community groups to special offers on healthy ingredients in-store, the campaign will aim to provide advice and practical help in places and at times which suit them.

A new website – www.eatbetterfeelbetter.co.uk – will provide recipes, tips from parents and healthier offers available from Scotland’s food retailers. The site will also host a series of cook-along videos to provide practical, easy to follow guides to cooking healthier family favourites such as spaghetti Bolognese, home-made burgers and chicken curry. A key strand of the campaign will be directing families across Scotland towards local events and support in their community.

The campaign contributes to the Scottish Government’s food and drink policy and aspiration for Scotland to become a Good Food Nation, a nation where it is second nature to serve, sell and eat fresh, healthy food.

It is also part of a co-ordinated Scottish Government programme of measures to support healthier choices in Scotland, including the Supporting Healthy Choices Voluntary Framework, launched in 2013, which sets out specific voluntary action for the food industry, including retailers, manufacturers, caterers and the public sector to support healthier diets in Scotland.

For further information on the campaign, visit www.eatbetterfeelbetter.co.uk

The new survey was carried out online by Opinion Matters amongst a sample of 500 Mums in Scotland with at least one child under the age of 16 living at home. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26th November and 1st December 2014.