A mix of fussy eating and diverse family eating patterns is creating a mountain of food waste in Britain and making meal preparation increasingly taxing for British parents.
Millions of parents are cooking more than four times a day, according to new research, with those from multi-generational and larger families cooking up to ten differing meals every day.
A quarter of the 2,000 parents polled admit that in order to meet different family schedules they are forced to play chef several times in a 24 hour period.
As well as fitting in with the various jobs, school, clubs and activities, a third of mums admit they are cooking more often to try and meet the tastes of their fussy children.
While a further 21 per cent have family members who come home at separate times to eat alone.
Nick Canning, Joint MD of Iceland who commissioned the research for new TV show Eat The Week said: “Family life can be frantic, but with some savvy planning it’s possible to eat well, eat healthily and eat affordably.
“Just 15 minutes a week checking what’s in the kitchen and planning your meals can cut £520 a year off the family food bill by using up what you already have.
“Eating well is an investment in your child’s future, so we’re doing all we can to support the UK’s families to achieve this.”
But the study shows cooking so many different meals is leading to a mountain of food waste, with 26 per cent of Brits admitting they ‘regularly’ throw out edible grub.
The study shows the average family wastes £10 a week on ingredients that they already have tucked away in their cupboards or fridge – while 19 per cent waste £20 or more.
A further 15 per cent of mums admit they ‘regularly forget’ what is in their store cupboard.
And despite food planning being one of the best ways to slash waste, 57 per cent of families admit they don’t plan meals – although 18 per cent want help so they can start.
Overall, thinking up new ideas for meals is the biggest kitchen challenge for UK families, with two thirds saying they struggle.
A further 64 per cent worry about the cost of food with 28 per cent claiming they don’t have enough time to cook.