Six out of ten meals consumed in homes are eaten in front of the television, it has been revealed. Research has shown millions of families have all but abandoned the dining table, and now retire to the sofa to enjoy their meal.
It also emerged more than one third of us regularly eat meals in front of the box without making any conversation whatsoever.
The research showed the average dinner table dodger tucks into meals in front of their favourite programmes at least six times a week.
The study, which was commissioned by Red Tractor beef and lamb, found 45% don’t actually enjoy the food they’re eating in front of the box, with many opting for easy ready meals and takeaways.
Jane Ritchie-Smith, from Red Tractor beef and lamb, said:
“We know we should try to eat our evening meal at the table chatting to family and friends about our day but the reality is that, after a long day at work, many people just want to sit down and relax in front of the TV.
“Although there’s nothing wrong with the odd TV dinner, it’s worrying that so many people aren’t enjoying the food they’re eating.
“That’s why we’re launching a new campaign – Highly Desirable TV Dinners – to help transform mealtimes. With a few simple changes, you can turn a lacklustre meal into a fantastic dish for the family, making the food you’re eating as exciting as your favourite TV programme.”
The research found the average person eats 13 meals at home each week, but at least eight of these are eaten in front of the television.
This results in almost two-thirds of British home meals being eaten in front of a screen- in fact, an overwhelming eight in ten people think the television is now a big part of modern meal times.
Six in ten are convinced that eating in front of the television is a growing trend, and admit they have done this a lot more in the last five years.
Remarkably, the average person eats six meals a week in the company of other people without actually engaging in conversation.
Nearly two-thirds of people often tuck into their food in front of the box without ever talking properly to the people eating with them.
While 57% of people would prefer to eat away from the television more than they currently do, they admit this never becomes a reality.
The main reason for not getting away from the screen when eating is because it’s now ‘just habit’, and now a part of the regular routine.
When asked whether they usually talk while watching television, over one-third of families said they usually just sit staring at the screen.
A guilt-ridden one in six has even lied to family, friends or colleagues about the amount they eat in front of their television.
Four in ten parents even said that, given the chance, their child would eat every meal in front of the television.
Almost half also admit they often make quick and easy food to eat in front of the box that doesn’t really taste very nice.
In fact, over a third says it’s quite common for them to sit eating a meal on the sofa and not even appreciate their food or notice the flavour.
Actress and mum, Angela Griffin, who is supporting the HDTV Dinners campaign, says:
“There’s always the odd occasion where we eat in front of the television and, sometimes, prising the kids away from the TV can be just as much effort as making the meal.
“When I was younger, we always ate dinner at the table and we still try to do this as much as we can. But, sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with catching up on your favourite soap whilst eating your evening meal, especially after a long hard day.
“As a working mum, time is always a key factor in the meals I make but I do want to make sure my kids are eating the right things, so it’s great to be showing people how to create delicious, healthy meals that really are easy to make whether you’re at the table or in front of the TV.”