Average British dinner lasts 21 minutes

The average British dinner lasts 21 minutes and is eaten in the lounge and in front of a screen, according to a survey.

Just 24 minutes is spent preparing the average meal, the poll for Co-op Food found.

More than half of people (57%) do not eat dinner together as a family each night, but when they do 34% eat on a sofa, 20% eat in the kitchen and 18% eat at a dining table.

Increasingly busy and conflicting schedules are the most commonly cited barrier to eating together, meaning that dining alone is a common occurrence for one fifth of Britons and a daily occurrence for 14%.

A fifth of British households (20%) no longer own a dining table.

Just 2% of people prepare a three-course meal on a regular basis, the survey found.

More than half of families (55%) have a television, computer or handheld screen present when eating together.

Despite this, the survey found almost half of Britons (49%) consider having a meal at home or at a family member's house to be the most important way of spending quality time together and 47% said they would like to do it more.

Dr Patrick Alexander, from the Social Issues Research Centre, said: "Families continue to recognise the social importance of sharing food and identify eating together as an activity that most brings them happiness and a sense of togetherness.

"What eating together means, however, is changing. Screen time during mealtimes, for example, is now common for the vast majority of families.

"However, contrary to negative perceptions of how social and digital media impact on family life, the advent of the 'digital dinner table' may present us with new opportunities to interact over food."

:: Opinion Matters surveyed 2,164 UK adults between January 5-10.

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS