Sunday 29 July, 2018
Research shows Kiwi children are deprived of family dinnertime
Kiwi children are deprived of precious family dinnertime as the evening tradition of sharing a meal together becomes
more of a luxury than a given.
Independent research commissioned by My Food Bag involving more than 1000 parents, grandparents, caregivers and children
nationwide, tells us 79% of Kiwi kids wish they could have more family dinners together and 98% say they enjoy sitting
down to dinner together as a family.
The research findings reveal fewer than half of New Zealand children are eating with their family every night compared
to a generation ago when three quarters ate with both parents every night.
My Food Bag co-founder, dietician and a mum herself, Nadia Lim says the results reveal a lot about modern life where
parents are busy at work and eating in front of the TV or device is more common than sitting around a table.
“We are eating less meals together than we were a generation ago and Kiwi kids are missing out on family dinnertime.
They love family dinners and wish they could have more of them.
“Many families are starved for time together and the dinner table often offers the only chance for kids to reconnect
with their parents,” she says.
“When I was growing up, dinner times were an occasion – the dinner table was a place of conversation and good food. Now,
with Bodhi two years old, we want him to have the same experience and, we find dinner time is much happier and relaxed
when we make a point of sitting down together without any distractions.”
Unfortunately, modern lifestyles mean parents are home less often for dinner – in fact, only 52% surveyed are eating at
home every night. When they are at home, 83% are distracted, on devices and social media, or glued to the TV. The
research suggests this creates feelings of pressure and makes evening meals more stressful.
Interestingly, it’s cooking together that really builds a connection. According to the survey, 61% of kids who get
involved in preparing the meal say it’s a great time to talk to their parents about their day, compared with 50% of
children who don’t get involved. Parents benefit too when they get their kids involved, 38% say prepping dinner is not
stressful compared to just 22% of parents who do the meal preparation and cooking alone.
Dr. Linde-Marie Amersfoort, Child and Family Psychologist at Parenting Place said, “The results from this survey align
with international research, which also suggests that many modern families struggle to take advantage of family dinner
times as opportunities to set aside their devices and distractions and connect with one another.
“While there are many reasons for this, the good news (as highlighted by My Food Bag’s research), is that children
really do value this time with their parents, and this often leads to richer and closer family relationships.
“The ‘magic’ lies in the fact that these activities provide regular and typically positive opportunities to reconnect with each other, allowing families to engage in more meaningful conversations, and promoting
feelings of family closeness.”
Lim added, cooking and sharing meals together at dinner time creates a sense of togetherness which is at the very heart
of My Food Bag.
“Everything we do at My Food Bag is about helping families and friends share a meal together around the dinner table.
“But it’s not only about sharing food, it’s about sharing stories, thoughts, troubles – dedicating time to talk to one
another and building those strong family bonds.”
The results inspired My Food Bag to encourage Kiwi families to recognise the value of sitting down to dinner together
with its latest crusade, Dinner Makes Families.
Fronted by Russell, an animated Brussels Sprout, the advert tells the story of a family who, through fresh food and new
recipes, rediscover the magic of dinner time.
My Food Bag’s purpose has always been to create healthier communities in New Zealand and Dinner Makes Families is an
important step towards achieving this.
For more information about Dinner Makes Families and Russell the Brussels Sprout visit: www.dinnermakesfamilies.co.nz
Dinner Makes Families research at a glance:
• 98% of children enjoy sitting down for a meal together as a family and 79% wish they had more dinners together
as a family
• Only 58% of children are eating at home every night compared to 74% a generation ago
• 96% of children see dinner as a great time to talk to their parents but 74% are watching TV or are on social
media or a device during dinner – 83% of parents are watching TV on social media or a device at dinner time
• 66% of households have at least one meal a week impacted by work and 44% of parents wish they could have more
dinners together as a family
• Only 52% of adults are eating at home with their families every night
• 37% of parents say week day dinners feel rushed and stressed
• Research conducted by independent research consultant Sarah Woollett
• Survey sample: 631 adults and 521 children aged between 8-12 years.
The research was commissioned by My Food Bag and developed with the Sunday Star -Times. The study was conducted by independent researcher Sarah Woollett and talks to more than 1000 parents, grandparents,
caregivers and children about how our evenings have changed over the course of a generation.
About My Food Bag, Bargain Box & Fresh Start with Nadia:
My Food Bag launched its home delivery service into New Zealand in 2013. Customers order online and receive food bags
containing recipes for a week’s main dinner meals. The bags contain best in season, fresh ingredients that are locally
sourced where possible.
All My Food Bag recipes are developed according to co-founder Nadia Lim’s Nude Food philosophy of ignoring the hype,
trusting your instincts and eating real food.
In October 2016 My Food Bag announced it had successfully secured investment from Waterman Capital. This partnership
will support My Food Bag in achieving its ambition to IPO within the next three years to raise further capital and
enable Kiwisavers and other New Zealanders to invest alongside the founders and Waterman Capital.
In 2018 My Food Bag won the Supreme Business Excellence Award at Westpac Auckland Best of the Best Business Awards. This
follows on from their two regional awards in 2017 for Customer Service Delivery and Business Excellence.