We call our families to the dinner table a mammoth 1,500 times a year and one out of five parents would pay £200+ for a stress-free week of family life. We would too.

Although 71 percent of parents reveal they’d like to spend more quality time as a family, new research from Dolmio which surveyed 2,000 British parents has revealed we lose seven days of family time due to arguments every year, meaning that one day of food that will go to waste.

Did you know?

  • British parents waste over 1 day a year cooking food that their kids refuse to eat; disposing of 42 full plates a year
  • More than half the parents even admitted to cooking two or three different meals to keep everyone happy at meal times – meaning more time is spent cooking, leaving just one hour and 47 minutes to spend real quality time with their family a day
  • Despite 88 percent of parents agreeing that dinner time is the perfect opportunity for quality time, new research by Dolmio® reveals that arguments are taking over domestic life and the dinner table

Whilst the parents surveyed admitted they do manage to spend an hour and 47 minutes of quality time with their children each day, over half of parents (54 percent) expressed that they’d like an hour or two more of stress-free time with their offspring.

Nonetheless, the majority (88 percent) of us recognise that meal times are the perfect opportunity for a quality family time, but we are spending a disproportionate amount of time cooking instead of sitting down to eat.

Nearly half (44 percent) of British households spend up to 45 minutes per day preparing food, yet this time invested is not enjoyed, with family time around the table lasting just 15 minutes for a third of families (34 percent). It seems the range of reasons to fall into a dinner dispute are never ending, whether that’s getting children to set the table (16 percent) or even just turn up to eat (22 percent) through to disagreements between partners over who will cook and clear up (8 percent).

Can this be avoided?

So how do we get the family around the table to try a new dinner, without it ending up in the bin or developing into an argument?

Parents use all kinds of tips and tricks to bribe their children into eating their dinners, but the promise of a dessert is the most commonly used technique (34 percent). The second most popular is the promise of technology access, as nearly a quarter of (23 percent) admit to offering more TV, tablet or phone time as a way of making their children eat.

Family favourites everyone can agree on

Whilst over half (54 percent) of parents report cooking between two to three different meals per night to cater to fussy eaters and different preferences, it seems there is one thing families can agree on: their favourite family meals. The nation’s favourite meal is Pizza (46 percent) due to its ease and convenience, while the classic goes to Spaghetti Bolognese (coming in at a close second at 42 percent) is a nutritious meal the whole family can enjoy. Other Family Favourites were sausage & mash, curry and burgers. We would certainly agree.

Dolmio commissioned this research to support the ‘No drama’ campaign and TVC, starring Dominic West