It seems that everyone’s got it out for Millennials. The newest statistic for finger-wagging fodder? Millennials are spending all their money on takeout because they don’t know how to cook.
According to a poll carried out by the BBC’s Good Food magazine, the average 16-to-24-year-old in Britain knows how to cook only four recipes from scratch. This culinary ineptitude leads, naturally, to increased spending on convenience food — to the tune of £19.61 per week on takeout and £28.26 per week on cafes and restaurants (translation: $29.85 for the takeout, $43.01 for the cafes and restaurants). Compare this with the adult average of £11.30 on takeout and £17.22 on cafes and restaurants.
And it’s not just inability that’s leading the younger generation to turn to takeout — it’s convenience, too. “I spend less than five minutes preparing the few meals I know from scratch,” 19-year-old Joe Clarke told the Independent. “If it takes longer than that I probably won’t bother. Takeaways are quick and easy. I’ll eat at least a couple per week to save time.”
The problem with this is that Millennials aren’t making enough money to justify all the fast food they’re scarfing down. Not to mention the health consequences: the poll found that 14 percent of adults under the age of 24 eat no fruit or vegetables at all. Henry Dimbleby, children’s food campaigner and founder of the natural fast-food chain Leon summed it up in an interview with the Independent. “Learning to cook is so important. It’s very expensive if you don’t learn to feed yourself but it can also be a one-way ticket to a life plagued by diabetes and obesity.”
In response to the survey, Good Food has launched the “Take It to Ten” campaign, aiming to equip Brits of all ages with the ability to cook ten recipes from scratch. Plus, last year the British government mandated that schools teach cooking to children under the age of fourteen.
The changes sound great on paper, but the real question is whether or not they’ll have a lasting effect on the food habits of young Brits. After all, fast food has accepted the fact that Millennials are going to make or break them and are trying harder than ever to pander to young diners with their black Whoppers, all day breakfasts, and social media feuds. So we’ll have to wait and see how these policies take shape. And while we’re waiting… we might as well grab a burger at McDonalds.