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Kiwis eat the same weekly meals because they can't afford to change them, rarely eat as a family and check their phones during dinner, according to a new survey.
The Old El Paso study which investigated Kiwis’ eating habits also found that many of us are too nervous to try new recipes and four out of 10 (41%) serve the same 6-10 weekly meals over and over again!
Nearly one-quarter of New Zealand families (24%) have an even smaller repertoire of just 1-5 routine dinner meals that are rotated every week.
The Old El Paso study found that along with a lack of confidence budget constraints were the main reason Kiwis stick to their standard menus at home, with 38% saying they can’t afford to have more variety in their meal offerings.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the lack of variety, 12% of all Kiwis confess their dinnertime meal choices are boring.
The Old El Paso study also found a further half of all Kiwis describe their meal choices as just ‘OK’, with nearly four in 10 people (38%) saying they would like to have more variety in their evening meal plans.
Despite being fed up with serving and eating the same meals every week, 18% said they rarely introduced anything new to the lineup or tried a different recipe when it came to feeding the family.
However, another one-third (33%) admitted it’s simply more convenient to stick to the same options every week, and two out of ten Kiwis said they don’t have time to research and prepare exciting new meal ideas, or are limited in their options by fussy eaters in their brood.
A further 16% admitted they lack the confidence or the cooking skills to try new recipes, which means they have to stick to the same routine platefuls every week.
But when home cooks do attempt to try something new in the kitchen, it’s often inspired by an experience eating out, with over half (59%) saying they have tried to recreate a favourite restaurant dish at home.
But no matter what food is dished up, the new research discovered a large number of New Zealand families fail to sit down together to eat at night.
A fifth of all respondents (20%) said they almost never have every member of the household sitting down to dinner together - the equivalent of over 920,000 families around the country.
Just over one-third (35%) of families manage to share a meal together every night, with another 31% managing a sit-down with everyone in the house present 3-6 nights a week.
When it comes to distractions at the dinner table, 28% of us admit to committing an etiquette faux pas by checking a mobile phone at least once during the meal - but only 11% of feel guilty for the technology intrusion.
However, the majority of Kiwis (72%) claim to be able to leave their phones alone for the duration of a meal when they are dining with others.
The new research into Kiwi dinnertime habits was conducted to coincide with the launch of the Old El Paso Restaurante range of meal kits and seasoning, designed for home cooks to create authentic Mexican meals in their own kitchen.
Old El Paso spokesperson Kevin Taffs says the Restaurante range was created so Kiwis could create delicious restaurant style meals at home and at an affordable price.
“We wanted to inspire families to create delicious Mexican style street food in the comfort and convenience of their own home and offer them a meal solution that was great value for money.
“The Restaurante range allows families to enjoy the exotic tastes of the very best blend of Mexican herbs and spices without having to leave the house. We wanted to ensure that Mexican restaurant style food was available to all Kiwis at a price which meant they could enjoy the food as often as they’d like to,” he says.
The Old El Paso Restaurante Pork Al Pastor Soft Taco Kit, Chicken Tinga Soft Taco Kit and Steak Carne Asada Soft Taco Kit (RRP$9.69) are available from supermarkets now.
Consumers can share their photos and in-home restaurante ideas using #cooklikelocals!