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Ready-meal consumption: associations with weight status and cooking skills

  • Klazine van der Horst (a1), Thomas A Brunner (a1) and Michael Siegrist (a1)



The ready-meal market has grown considerably in recent years. At the same time, a degradation of traditional cooking skills has been observed. Ready meals are often rich in energy, fat and sugar and lack vegetables; however, studies investigating associations between ready-meal consumption, overweight and cooking skills are lacking. The present study examines whether demographic factors, overweight, beliefs about the nutritional value and taste of ready meals and cooking skills are associated with ready-meal consumption.


Cross-sectional survey.


Ready-meal consumption, weight status, cooking skills, beliefs about the taste and nutritional value of ready meals and demographic variables were assessed with self-administered questionnaires. Data were analysed with one-way ANOVA and multiple regression analysis.


A total of 1017 adults from the German-speaking part of Switzerland.


Men reported being more positive about ready meals and having fewer cooking skills compared with women. Overweight adults (BMI > 25 kg/m2) were more positive about nutrients and vitamins in ready meals compared with normal-weight adults. Ready-meal consumption was associated with cooking skills (β = −0·192), age (β =− 0·228), overweight (β = 0·129), nutritional value (β = −0·131), taste (β = −0·126), working status (β = 0·096) and gender (β = 0·084).


Cooking skills were identified as a strong predictor of ready-meal consumption. The importance of cooking skills as a barrier to healthy eating should be explored, as it is plausible that cooking skills will further decrease in the future. Next, the study provided evidence for an association between ready-meal consumption and overweight. Further research should examine the importance of ready meals for the overweight epidemic.

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