Home cooking loses its flavour for millions as food fatigue sets in

Monday, 19 April 2021
Phil Vickery kicks off the Eat Well Week at the Virtual Village Hall
Food fatigue has well and truly set in for 18.6 million* people as our early enthusiasm for lockdown home cooking goes off the boil.

According to research by Royal Voluntary Service and People’s Postcode Lottery, at least one in three Britons tucked enthusiastically into cooking (36%) and baking (33%) at the start of the pandemic but a year on, have lost their appetite for it. Quick fixes have become the answer for many with more than four in ten surveyed eating more takeaways (47%) and ready meals (43%) as the pandemic has gone on. Only three in ten (30%) say they have cooked healthy meals during the pandemic.

One in ten (10%) of those surveyed by the charity say they just don't have the energy to think of new meal ideas and one in eight (12%) haven't felt motivated to cook at any point. More than a quarter (26%) tend to cook the same dishes and one in seven (14%) are fed up with the same meals.

On a mission to make us hungry for healthy home cooking is TV chef Phil Vickery who launches Eat Well Week at the Royal Voluntary Service Virtual Village Hall on Monday 19 April, with a live, free cookalong from his home kitchen. Eat Well Week at the Virtual Village Hall is designed to make us fall back in love with our kitchens and features a packed programme** of live, free daily cookalongs by top culinary experts including MasterChef winner Irini Tzortzoglou, TV chefs Ching-He Huang MBE and Kwoklyn Wan, food writers and chefs, Jack Burke and Michelle Wilding, and award-winning Caribbean chef, Mike Springer.

"Throughout the pandemic and particularly during the lockdowns, food has been an important focus for our day. Having more time on our hands has been a great motivation for many people to cook or bake, some for the first time. However, after a year of planning every meal, the joy of cooking has waned for many which means we’re reaching for less-than-healthy alternatives, and no doubt feeling the effects.

"I’ll be shaking things up for Eat Well Week at the Virtual Village Hall to get people feeling positive about healthy home cooking again. Our talented panel of top chefs will be sharing some simple, healthy and delicious recipes to make at home that will be packed full of flavour but with a fraction of the calories of ready meals and takeaways."

Phil Vickery
Eat Well Week takes place at the Virtual Village Hall Facebook page from 19-23 April. It is free to join, open to everyone and a Facebook account is not required to take part.

When people do get stuck into their cooking, it has a positive effect on their mental health. More than one in five surveyed said they felt healthier (21%), happier (23%) and more positive (27%) as a result of their efforts, and more than one in three felt a sense of achievement (34%) and satisfaction (38%).

"As these challenging times continue, dialing up more takeaways or reaching for ready meals can be incredibly tempting, but good nutrition and a balanced diet are vital to our physical health and wellbeing, particularly for those with underlying health conditions. We know from our research that home cooking and baking have had mental health benefits during the pandemic too.

"Whether you live alone or are cooking for a large family, we hope you’ll join Phil and our Virtual Village Hall chefs for one of our live Eat Well Week cookalongs. You never know, you might even be inspired to ditch that takeaway menu altogether!"

Sam Ward, Director of Services and Deputy Chief Executive at Royal Voluntary Service

"Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the Royal Voluntary Service Virtual Village Hall is constantly finding new ways to support people’s health and wellbeing, from healthy eating cookalongs and exercise and dance classes to mindful craft and meditation sessions."

Laura Chow, Head of Charities, People’s Postcode Lottery
The Virtual Village Hall is a popular online community hub, designed by Royal Voluntary Service and supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery to connect people and help them stay active during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. With tens of thousands of followers, it offers over 300 themed sessions, with activities available seven days a week. The Virtual Village Hall can be found on Facebook, on the Royal Voluntary Service website and on YouTube, with sessions updated regularly.

In a recent survey***, 81% of Virtual Village Hall followers said it has boosted their wellbeing. 73% said it has helped them stay physically active at home and 53% said it has helped them feel connected to others.

To find out more about the Virtual Village Hall, visit: royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/virtual-village-hall

For further information

Royal Voluntary Service is one of the largest volunteering organisations in Great Britain, providing vital, responsive services which support public health, social care and wellbeing. Its staff and thousands of volunteers support people in need, with the aim of building resilience in local communities.

Originally set up as the Women’s Voluntary Service (subsequently the WRVS) in 1938, the charity began its life helping civilians during the Second World War. To mark our 75th anniversary in 2013, we became Royal Voluntary Service and welcome volunteers of all genders and backgrounds from age 14+.

The charity has supported the NHS since its inception. Today’s Royal Voluntary Service NHS volunteers provide patient companionship and transport, on ward exercise sessions, and settlement support for vulnerable patients following a stay in hospital.

In local communities, Royal Voluntary Service (volunteers) run(s) physical activity classes, dining clubs and social groups which bring people together, promoting better health, social interaction and connection.

In March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, NHS England commissioned Royal Voluntary Service to deliver the NHS Volunteer Responders programme to support the NHS and provide practical help to the 2.5 million most at-risk people who were shielding at home. This was the biggest volunteer mobilisation programme in peacetime and represents a revolution in volunteering, using technology to register, alert and deploy volunteers quickly, wherever needed. The programme created a safety net of on-call support in every community across England and to date, NHS Volunteer Responders have responded to 1.6 million requests for help.

The charity is also one of the UK’s largest hospital retailers with volunteer-run shops, cafés and trolley services providing refreshments and company to patients, hospital staff and visitors.

Royal Voluntary Service offers a dynamic, rewarding, flexible volunteering experience, with volunteers supporting services designed to meet specific local community needs and the NHS.

To become a local volunteer search for volunteering opportunities in your area. Or help make a difference by making a secure online donation.

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