LONDON, 2014-9-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — As a nation, our cooking age is falling short of our real age, and we are reaching it much later than we should, according to new research released today by Sainsbury’s. The research comes as the retailer announces plans to inspire a new generation of children to eat well through its Active Kids scheme – as practical cookery becomes compulsory for children up to Year 9 in England for the first time.
Based on extensive research amongst 3,000 people aged 14 to 50, the national cooking age is a first of its kind classification. Developed in collaboration with the British Nutrition Foundation, much like a person’s reading age, it benchmarks food knowledge and cooking skills against suggested core competences and the National Curriculum.*
The findings reveal that while adults aged between 40 and 50 years old say they can confidently cook to the level required of GCSE students, school leavers preparing to look after themselves at university struggle most in the kitchen with a Cooking Age of just 12 years old.**
When asked, two thirds of 19 to 24 year olds (63%) say they would be unable to rustle up simple, balanced dishes such as a shepherd’s pie. Nearly half (44%) of 17 to 18 year olds admit they are unable to make time saving, nutritious dishes like an omelette from scratch.
The UK’s Cooking Age, when compared against core food competences required to GCSE level:
|Current secondary school pupils aged 14 to 16||13 years|
|School leavers aged 17 to 18||12 years|
|Students and young adults aged 19 to 24||14 years|
|Young adults aged 25 to 29||15 year|
|Adults in their 30s||15 years|
|Adults aged between 40 and 50||16 years|
The findings suggest that the new cooking and nutrition aspects of the National Curriculum will provide the UK with a vital opportunity to equip young people with the skills they need to prepare and enjoy good food. To help teachers deliver these new lessons at classroom level, Sainsbury’s is launching an ambitious new nationwide schools competition through its Active Kids scheme – Sainsbury’s Active Kids Superstar Cooks.
Supported by free curriculum-linked lesson plans and recipe ideas, and fronted by Diversity founder and Got To Dance judge, Ashley Banjo, Sainsbury’s Active Kids Superstar Cooks will get children aged five to 16 cooking in the kitchen, helping to improve the Cooking Age of the next generation.
Active Kids Superstar Cooks challenges pupils to cook the ultimate, great tasting, healthy meal for the chance to win £10,000 of new kitchen kit for their school plus an exclusive dance class with Ashley Banjo. It has been created for children of all ages and abilities, with entries in two age categories 5 to 11 and 11 to 16 year olds. One winning school will be selected in each of the two age groups.
Roy Ballam, Education Programme Manager, British Nutrition Foundation, commented: “It has long been thought that the cooking ability of successive generations has been in decline due to a variety of factors, such as changing lifestyles and education. Research shows that around 23% of children aged 2-10 years and 35% aged 11-15 years are now overweight or obese, therefore new changes to the National Curriculum in England will be vital in boosting the cooking age of the next generation and help children apply healthy eating for life.***
“This is a huge collective effort by Government and education partners to improve the diets of our nation’s children. Initiatives such as Active Kids can play an important role in helping teachers to bring food and nutrition education to life in a fun, engaging and inspirational way for children.”
Tara Hewitt, Active Kids Campaign Manager, said: “Basic food knowledge and cooking skills are things we all need to lead healthy, balanced lives but as a nation we are learning these skills too late in life.
“The popularity of TV shows such as Junior MasterChef and the Great British Bake Off mean that children have become more interested in cooking. The Active Kids Superstars Cooks competition will help build on this at school level, which is why we have joined forces with Diversity star Ashley Banjo, who embodies the benefits of eating well and being active. Ashley will help teachers to inspire kids to plan, prepare and cook great tasting balanced meals at school, giving them the skills they need to enjoy good food at home throughout their lives.
Ashley Banjo, Diversity star and Active Kids Superstar Cooks judge, concluded: “Eating well and being active has always been a really important part of my life. I developed a love of good food when I was young as I quickly discovered that it made me a better dancer. I’ve teamed up with Active Kids Superstar Cooks because I’m passionate about inspiring kids to learn how to cook basic recipes that will help them as adults. They might not grow up to be professional dancers or athletes, but all young people need to understand that eating well will help them feel good and give them the energy to lead full and active lives, now and in the future.”
Notes to editors
- * Core food competences for children and young people aged 5 to 16 years, which include cooking were updated in August by the BNF, alongside Public Health England, FSA Northern Ireland, FSA Scotland and the Welsh Government. Available at:www.nutrition.org.uk/foodinschools/competences/competences
- ** The survey was conducted by Redshift Research in August 2014 among 3,000 UK respondents, 500 in each of the following age groups: 14-16; 17-18; 19-24; 25-29; 30-39 and 40-50
- *** Based on Public Health England data, August 2014
New National Curriculum changes in England
For the first time ever, practical cookery is compulsory for children up to Year 9 in primary and secondary schools in England. The new National Curriculum, published by the Department for Education, lays out the importance of ‘instilling a love of cooking’ in pupils from a young age. The requirement for cookery lessons will come into effect in September 2014.
Calculating the UK’s Cooking Age
The research was conducted by Redshift Research in August 2014 among 3,000 UK respondents, 500 in each of the following age groups: 14-16; 17-18; 19-24; 25-29; 30-39 and 40-50. The questionnaire asked how confident (on a scale of 1-10) people are at a number of cooking tasks aligned to suggested Core Competences and the National Curriculum. An individual’s Cooking Age is calculated by their stated level of confidence at completing these cooking tasks. If they are confident to a level of eight at a specific task, then they are considered competent at said task. If a person scores eight or above on all tasks then they are awarded a pass for that stage. If they score below eight, they fail that stage. If they fail a stage, their cooking age is calculated by the number of tasks within the failed curriculum band that they are competent at. This is then divided by the total number of tasks, and multiplied by the number of years in the age band.
The BNF has worked with Public Health England, FSA Northern Ireland, FSA Scotland and the Welsh Government to update the Core Competences for children and young people aged 5 to 16 years. The competences are a framework of essential skills and knowledge around diet, consumer awareness, cooking, food safety and active lifestyles. The Core Competences are UK wide, helping teachers ‘unpack’ the curriculum, support future curriculum and qualification development and guide those creating resources for schools.
Sainsbury’s Active Kids Superstar Cooks
Active Kids Superstar Cooks is now open for entries! From now until 24 November, schools across the country will be challenged to create the ultimate healthy main meal for four people for the chance to win £10,000 worth of new kitchen kit for their school plus an exclusive prize with dance superstar Ashley Banjo.
The competition has been created for pupils of all ages and abilities, with entries in two age categories 5-11 and 11-16 year olds. One winning school will be selected in each of the two age groups. Special schools may use the entry criteria most suitable for the ability of their pupils.
The Superstar Cooks competition is designed to help schools deliver the new requirements of the National Curriculum in England and will help further support cooking and nutrition in the curriculum for schools across the rest of the UK. Teachers can download the competition toolkit, recipe ideas and lesson plans to help get pupils cooking.
About Ashley Banjo
Superstar Cooks judge Ashley Banjo is an inspirational figure to millions of children and young people across the UK, and with a ballerina for a mum and a boxer for a dad, he knows only too well the importance of eating well and being active.
Ashley leads Diversity, a dance troupe consisting of eight members from East London and Essex. In May 2009, Diversity took the UK by storm by winning Britain’s Got Talent, beating Susan Boyle in front of a 20 million live TV audience, in what was the most watched TV program in the UK for over six years.
Ashley has been a judge on Sky1’s dancing talent show Got To Dance since its start in 2010. On Friday 29 August, Ashley was on the judging panel as dance act Duplic8 were crowned the winners of Got To Dance 2014 after a closely fought contest with Dance Illusion and Bitter Harvest.