The share of home-cooked food in the diet of UK households declined from the 1980s. This was contemporaneous with a decline in the market price of ingredients for home cooking relative to ready-to-eat foods. We consider a simple model of food consumption and time use that captures the key driving forces behind these apparently conflicting trends. We show that observed behaviour can be rationalised by the fact that the shadow price of home-cooked food, which accounts for the fact that cooking takes time, has risen relative to the price of ready-to-eat food, due to the increase in the market value of time of secondary earners. We discuss the implications for policies that aim to encourage healthier diets.
CPP Co-Director, IFS Research Director
Rachel is Research Director and Professor at the University of Manchester. She was made a Dame for services to economic policy and education in 2021.
Research Fellow University College London
Valerie, a Research Fellow of the IFS, is a Reader at the University College London, whose research is focused on modelling intra-household behaviour.
Wenchao joined the IFS in 2010 as a Research Economist in the skills and education sector.
Journal article details
- Fiscal Studies
- Volume 43, Issue 2, June 2022, pages 105-120
R, Griffith and W, Jin and V, Lechene. (2022). 'The decline of home-cooked food' 43(2/2022), pp.105–120.
More from IFS
Understand this issue
28 August 2023
6 November 2023
17 November 2023
7 September 2023
1 November 2023
Dementia incidence trend in England and Wales, 2002–19, and projection for dementia burden to 2040: analysis of data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
30 October 2023
30 October 2023
25 October 2023