The UK’s eating habits – Exam practice question.


As mentioned before, food teachers need to keep up to date with current food trends, nutritional information and indeed eating habits. I read the BBC news website daily scanning it for articles which may be useful for lessons; in particular for A level discussion type questions. So I recently spotted this fab article “10 ways the UK’s eating habits have changed” and have decided to use it as the basis for a lesson on eating habits.


I will start the lesson by asking pupils to write down their initial thoughts on the following question:


How have UK eating habits changed in recent decades?


This will be an independent task followed by a group discussion on the following:

Discuss why you think the UK’s eating habits have changed in recent decades in the following ways:


Sales of skimmed and semi- skimmed milk overtook whole fat milk in the 1990’s.


Purchases of white bread have dropped by 75 percent since 1974 while the consumption of brown bread and whole meal has risen by 85 percent.


People now eat less offal such as liver. In 1974, atypical household bought 36 g of liver per week and by 2014 the figure had fallen to 3 g.


Pizza consumption rose even more dramatically with the average purchase going from 2 g in 1975 to 53 g in 2014.


1974 just 15 percent of households owned a freezer. By 2000, 94 percent of households owned a freezer.


Ready meals and convenience meat products went up fivefold.


The nation’s preferred form of potato remains the chip.


Consumption of tea has declined steadily since 1974.


Since 1974 the consumption of salmon has rose by 550 percent.


I then intend to give pupils a copy of the article ( to skim read in the hope that they will write down information to back up their answers further.



Discussion answers such as the following can be found within the article:


Sales of semi skimmed milk increased: This was a result of a public health campaign in which switching to skimmed milk was heavily promoted to reduce cholesterol levels and promote heart health.


Even though cooking with offal has seen a resurgence in certain high end restaurants this has not been reflected in the modern household as many people do not know how to cook offal or dishes to include it in.


This increase in consumption of pizza has been mapped against the popularity of teenage mutant ninja turtles in the 1980’s.although pizza came out of Italy it was popularized by Americans.


I will then enable further discussion by referring to the following points.


Decrease in sales of white bread may be attributed to a shift in consumer’s attitudes toward healthier products after years of health experts telling people to consume brown bread over white to increase fibre consumption. The main difference between white bread and brown is that white flour has the bran or outer husk removed. It also signals an end to the end of white bread as a staple British food. There has been an increase in healthier alternative breads such as mixed seeded bread.


Offal does not keep well so it must be prepared and cooked quite soon after purchase or made into products such as pate and sausages. Products which consumers tend to buy ready-made now rather than make from scratch.


Fresh fish is the fastest growing protein source and 1 million smoked salmon meals are eaten in the UK weekly. Salmon is Scotland’s largest export and Scotland farmed salmon tops the RSPCA Freedom Food Chart. (


There are currently in the region of 10,500 specialist fish and chip shops in the UK and the annual spend on fish and chips is in the region of £1.2 billion a year. (



Pupils will be asked to carry out further research on eating habits and complete the following exam style question for homework:


 The eating habits of the UK population have changed considerably in recent decades.

 Discuss this statement in detail (16 Marks).


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