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Carbonara at the top of comfort food

Tiramisù and Lasagna Bolognese follow, according to Mastercard research

On the hours spent in the kitchen the primacy is of the Hungarians with 38.5 hours per week, followed by the Spaniards, with 21 hours per week. Italians and French, on the other hand, score an average of 2.6 and 2.4 hours per day in the kitchen respectively.

Despite the difficult period we are all experiencing, most consumers are trying to turn it into an opportunity for growth and enrichment. And, in this sense, the confirmation of the passion for cooking, especially for Italians, continues to be the proof. In fact, according to what emerges from a research by Mastercard, in the last year Italians have rediscovered the taste and pleasure of traditional dishes capable of putting a good mood, the so-called 'comfort food'. At the top of the ranking we find the timeless spaghetti alla carbonara, the most cooked dish for 50.5% of Italians, followed by tiramisu and lasagna alla bolognese (both 43%). This is followed by cannelloni, pasta and beans and baked rigatoni. At the bottom of the ranking also very local dishes but loved by all Italians, the Ciambotta and the Sfincione.

Furthermore, 64% of Italians (vs 58% of Europeans) have improved and perfected their culinary skills over the last year to cope with the restrictions imposed by the pandemic and at the same time find a form of home entertainment. If the return to tradition appears comforting for some European countries, Italians are the safest in the kitchen, so much so that they can give vent to creativity, experiment with new preparation techniques and recipes (71% vs 64% of Europeans). In fact, Italians proved to be the most inclined to want to learn new things (57% vs 48% of Europeans) and to improvise do-it-yourself chefs, letting themselves be inspired by new forms of digital entertainment on the screen (television programs, streaming services and social media that are a source of inspiration for 1 in 2 Italians).

Italian home cooking has evolved in the way of understanding the dishes themselves and the culinary habits of Italians. The attention of the latter to the kitchen was more aware of the importance of a healthy diet: 57.2% (against a European average of 52%) in fact underlined how cooking during the pandemic represented an opportunity for the achievement, through sustainable dishes and ingredients, of a healthier lifestyle starting from the table. 59.5% of Italians also declared that they want to try new foods, hardly used in the pre-lockdown period: the desire to experiment with new ingredients therefore goes hand in hand with new and more careful eating habits.

Research shows that pandemic-related restrictions have changed ways and places to shop. 1 out of 3 Italians bought groceries through online platforms for the first time in the last year, rediscovering their advantages and convenience. Familiarity with pandemic-accelerated online spending will not necessarily translate into post-Covid-19 habit for everyone. According to the research, 73% prefer in-store shopping for food, and only 32% of respondents said they will continue to buy food online when the pandemic is over.

"What we have lived has undoubtedly been a very difficult year, but it is reassuring to see that a passion such as that for cooking emerged as a comfort for Italians in a difficult moment", said Luca Fiumarella, Head of Marketing Italy of Mastercard. "As Mastercard, during the last year we wanted to offer our consumers stimulating digital experiences dedicated to the world of cooking through our platform, allowing them to live exclusive experiences in the company of starred chefs and pastry chefs and we will be at their side again with many new experiences".

In comparison with the European countries our neighbors with a long and consolidated culinary tradition, such as France and Spain, Italians confirm more than all the passion for food, which this year shows an effective combination of tradition and innovation. However, interesting curiosities emerge from the comparison with these countries. Although they are all aligned on the fact that they have increased the number of hours that the family employs in the kitchen, the result of the Spaniards is unexpectedly striking, with their 21 hours per week, which recorded the greatest increase in Europe (+ 52%) compared to the pre -COVID-19. Italians and French, on the other hand, score an average of 2.6 and 2.4 hours per day in the kitchen respectively, equal to an increase of + 49% for the former and + 41% for the latter. However, the European record of time spent in the kitchen belongs to the Hungarians with 38.5 hours per week.

Photo gallery Ricerca Mastercard sui confort food
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EFA News - European Food Agency