Meat and two veg revealed to be most popular meal among adults in Ireland
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Meat and two veg revealed to be most popular meal among adults in Ireland

VEGANISM MIGHT be in vogue but, when it comes to cooking the evening meal, old habits die hard in Ireland.

Figures produced by Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, revealed the classic “meat and two veg” was the number one evening meal type eaten by adults in 2019, accounting for 11% of all adult evening meals across the average week.

Chicken dishes and pasta with sauce meals, such as Spaghetti Bolognese, were in 2nd and 3rd spot at 10%.

The findings were gleaned from a nationally representative online survey of over 1,000 Irish consumers charting eating habits.

It resulted in a sample of 5,925 adult and 1,841 child evening meals collected over seven consecutive days.

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Pasta with sauce meals, such as Spaghetti Bolognese, was the number one meal type eaten by children, accounting for 14% of all evening meals.

Red meat was the most popular meat consumed in Irish households, with 29% of all adult meals including red meat, although chicken follows closely behind at 21%.

Incidence of fish within all meals was at 7%. However, this increased to 11% on Fridays demonstrating it is still a popular evening meal choice.

Dairy was a key part of evening meals among Irish consumers, with 17% of all meals containing cheese.

Potatoes were also at the heart of many evening meals in Ireland (28%), with consumption increasing significantly for over 45s.

1 in 10 evening meals contained eggs, with consumption particularly high amongst under 35’s, highlighting their desire for protein and preference for lighter meals.

Almost 3 in 10 (28%) of all evening meals featured bread.

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Over 80% of respondents placed a high level of importance on eating a balanced diet. 4 in 10 adults cited awareness of the food they eat and the impact it can have on physical and mental wellness as having a great deal of influence on evening meal choice.

Ethical considerations were also influencing consumer behaviour, as almost 3 in 10 people feel making choices that are more positive for the environment has a great deal of influence on evening meals.

While just over 2 in 10 (23%) people claim to have prepared more vegan meals at home in the last 12 months, the realitywas that just 1% of evening meals prepared over the last 7 days were vegan dishes.

Commenting on the growing influence of health and wellness trends on dietary choices, Bord Bia Consumer Insight Specialist, Grace Binchy said: “When it comes to evening meals, this comprehensive study captures a clear intent to make healthy and socially responsible food choices and people believe they are regularly doing so.

“However, as a growing ‘time poor’ nation, life gets in the way. There is a tendency for people to remember the choices they make as being better than they were and their original intention is not always reflected in their actions.”

The top 10 adult meal types were as follows:

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1. Meat & Two Vegetables
2. Chicken Dish (for example Roast Chicken)
3. Pasta with Sauce (for example Spaghetti Bolognese)
4. Italian Foods (for example Pizza & Lasagne)
5. Diner Style Favourites (for example Burger or Steak & Chips)
6. Fish Dish (for example Fish Bake or Fish & Chips)
7. Light Meal (for example Toasted Sandwich or Beans on Toast)
8. Chinese / Oriental meal
9. Stew or Casserole
10. Indian Dish (for example Chicken Tikka Marsala, Korma, Curry)

(Picture: iStock)

The top 10 children’s meal types were:

1. Pasta with Sauce (for example Spaghetti Bolognaise)
2. Chicken Dish (for example Roast Chicken)
3. Meat & Two Vegetables
4. Italian Foods (for example Pizza & Lasagne)
5. Diner-Style Favourites (for example Burger or Steak & Chips)
6. Stew or Casserole
7. Fish Dish (for example a Fish Bake or Fish & Chips)
8. Chinese / Oriental Meal
9. Indian Dish (for example Chicken Tikka Marsala, Korma, Curry)
10. Light Meal (for example Toasted Sandwich or Beans on Toast)