Brits struggle to find time for family meals

Brits struggle to find time for family meals

  • Table talk: Over 1 in 10 say their families are normally too tired to have a proper conversation at dinner (16%)
  • Traditional values: 8 out of 10 (78%) believe that meals together are essential to family life, yet the average family dinner lasts less than half an hour
  • 1 in 10 (11%) admit their family meals descend into arguments
  • Time-poor: A quarter say their families often survive off ready meals and pre-made sauces because they do not have enough time to cook (26%)

With half term a week away, families will be gearing up to keeping the kids entertained and spending quality time together. Strengthening family ties is synonymous with family meals and Opinium Research reveals over three quarters of those who have children living at home, (78%) still believe mealtimes are an essential part of family life.

However, Opinium Research also discovered that despite its apparent importance, the average family mealtime is actually less than half an hour (28 minutes). And for a quarter of households who dine together (24%), 15 to 20 minutes is the longest they spend around the table.

Additionally, it seems that family meals may not always be a bonding experience. Of those who have children living at home, two fifths have the TV on whilst eating (41%) and a further 16 per cent say they are usually too tired to talk to one another (16%). 1 in 10 (11%) even admitted they often end up arguing throughout the meal!

It seems like UK adults, who have kids at home simply don?t have the time or energy to make a ?home ?cooked? meal from scratch, which leaves a quarter (26%) relying on pre-made sauces and putting ready meals on the menu.

James Endersby, managing director of Opinium Research, commented: ?While it?s great to see that the family dinner is still considered to be an important part of family life and bonding, it?s a shame that the demands of modern life are putting such a strain on upholding this family tradition.

?With half term around the corner, now may be the perfect time for British households to strengthen their relationships. And what better way to start than by sitting down together for a delicious home cooked meal??

Throughout this release, any use of ?households? or ?families? refer to a UK adult who has children living at home.

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,012 UK adults from 10th to 12th September 2012, aged 18+ of which,688 UK adults have children living at home. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

The results of this research are also discussed on, a website dedicated to offering thought provoking views and ideas for families to discuss. Click here to see what their team of family and parenting experts make of our research findings as they discuss the benefits of eating together as a family.