Foodwork in the United Kingdom from 1983 to 2014: A compositional data analysis of repeat cross-sectional time use surveys.
PubMed ID : 34520806
While foodwork (tasks required to access food, including home food preparation) in the UK declined toward the end of the 20th century, it is not known whether this trend has continued into the 21st century. While evidence suggests many people feel they lack the time to cook, it is not known whether this is attributable to increasing demands on their time.
Analysis of repeat cross-sectional data from three UK time use surveys: 1983, 2000 and 2014; participants aged 19+ (N = 14,810). We analysed changes in foodwork participation across survey years using linear regression, adding interaction terms to determine whether trends varied between different socio-demographic groups. We categorized time use over 24 hours into eight parts, forming a composition: (1) personal care; (2) sleep; (3) eating; (4) physical activity; (5) leisure screen time; (6) work (paid and unpaid); (7) socialising and hobbies; and (8) foodwork. We examined whether the time-use composition varied across survey years, testing for interactions with socio-demographic characteristics.
Foodwork declined significantly between 1983 and 2014. However, a concurrent increase in time spent on work was not observed. Instead, time spent on sleep and screen time increased significantly. The decline in foodwork was significant among women but not among men.
While many people in the UK continue to allocate time to foodwork on a daily basis, foodwork has continued to decline into the 21st century, though there was no concurrent increase in time being allocated to work, suggesting external and non-discretionary demands on time have not increased. Practitioners seeking to address a lack of time as a barrier to foodwork may wish to accommodate a broad definition of what this could mean.