Accepted abstract - Creative Tastebuds Symposium 2021

Are we ready for sustainable cookery? Comparing current (and future) cooking and time use practices in UK, US and Australia

Research paper

By C.J. Reynolds1, A. Kluczkovski2, A. Frankowska2, J. T. da Silva3,4, R. Levy3, F. Rauber5, X. Schmidt Rivera6, S.L. Bridle2; 1Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom; 2Department of Physics and Astronomy, School of Natural Science, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom; 3 Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, Brazil; 4 Research Institute, HCor, São Paulo, Brazil; 5 Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of São Paulo, Brazil; 6 Institute of Energy Futures, Brunel University London, London, United Kingdom

The impacts of cooking practices play a pivotal role in a healthy diet and lifestyle. Cooking is intertwined with dietary choices. To achieve a sustainable food system, we need to change how we cook and prepare food, along with the time we use to prepare and cook food.

Cooking practices involve a variety of parameters such as cooking times, method of cooking (e.g. boiling, baking, steaming, etc.), and type of appliances (electric hobs, gas ovens, microwaves, etc.) which all influence the nutrition content and energy density of food and will also result in varying amounts of emitted greenhouse gases. Behavioural cooking choices are driven by factors such as convenience, taste, health, and lifestyle and shape certain eating habits, but are also influenced by tradition and knowledge transfer.

This paper will present the findings of three pilot surveys deployed in the UK, US and Australia in 2019 (n = 385+ for each survey). These surveys asked about cooking and preparation time, methods, and equipment for 30 common foods.

Though based around similar food cultures, we find differences in cooking practices between the different countries’ populations. We then examine how food choices and cooking practices need to change differently in each country to be in line with current guidance on healthy, sustainable eating – such as the guidelines provided by the EAT-Lancet report.