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Homemade Food V's Convenience Food

By Edited Sep 22, 2015 3 12

Introduction

 Is homemade food slowly becoming a thing of the past?, as a child  there was never any shortage of a home cooked roast dinner on the table on return from school. ‘Traditional’ values were a huge part of many families and still are for some, but with the increase of processed and convenience foods it seems those traditional values will soon be a tale of our youths.  Meat, dairy, bread and potatoes will always be an important part of the human diet, but for many of us, they are more often in the form of hamburgers and frozen chips and not the traditional roast beef accompanied with a gigantic Yorkshire 'pud', seasonal vegetables and roast potatoes. 

For and Against

With the increase of technology and food preservation methods it is no surprise that  convenience foods are more readily available.  Supermarkets offer butchered and rolled turkey breasts to allow smaller families to prepare a Christmas dinner on a budget, with very little room for wastage.  There is often a small overhead in terms of price but supermarkets are providing a service by doing the hard work so that we don't have to. 

 Does buying convenience food save time and enable families to use time better?,which would otherwise be spent in a kitchen?, or create generations of people who are unable to cook, so steer further toward fast food outlets thus creating an unhealthy population?

Fresh Ingredients:

a.         Fresh ingredients are often more expensive than homemade dishes.

b.         Home made dishes are more time-consuming to cook resulting in less quality time with the family (out of the kitchen)

c.         You know exactly what goes into homemade dishes, and can limit the salts and fats and sugars. 

d.         Home made foods are a fresher product, convenience foods are often packed with preservatives and hydrogenated fats as these are popular (and cheaper) preservation methods.

e.         Skills are constantly practiced by creating homemade dishes, this can help encourage the little ones to take part.

f.          The taste, freshness and nutritional value of fresh ingredients outweigh the overcooked processes associated with convenience foods.

And from the suppliers perspective:

a.         Many convenience foods are less costly than raw ingredients as mass production and distribution is more cost efficient.

b.         Transportation of goods is less costly for packaged foods,especially in concentrated form (i.e packet soups, sauces) which means in some cases, cheaper for the consumer.

 c.         Less spoilage and waste occur with packaged convenience items resulting in less returns and write-offs.

It is clear that there are equal arguments for Homemade V's Convenience foods. In terms of cost, ease of use and storage, convenience food quite frankly has the unique selling point for any working family with everything but time on their hands.  Its quick, simple and requires only the very basic skills of switching on an oven or microwave.

This said,  there is no replacement for a traditional home cooked meal based on freshness, nutritional value and general health of the consumer.   It also provides a skill of cooking through generations which will otherwise be lost.  

Convenience foods can indeed compliment the British diet in moderation, but with sometimes excessive amounts of preservatives (fats,sugars,salt etc) used to support the 'freshness'  and  hinder bacterial growth, it is most definitely worth checking over the ingredients label before stocking up the freezer!

 

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Comments

Jan 7, 2012 9:27am
aguy
I eat too many frozen foods. I think the ones I have are pretty ok, except they have too much salt in them.
Jan 7, 2012 10:10am
trisha909
People are often misled by packaging that states low in fat or fat free. This can often mean that there is a rise in the salt, sugar and other preservatives, as something is always required to disturb the natural PH balance, thus preventing the growth of pathogens in food as a rise in these elements is not a favourable condition for most bacteria. Were talking frozen and tinned foods mainly here as its not always the case with fresh convenience for example your finest meal for one selection in the chilled ready meals aisle with a use by of 2-3 days . Thankkyou for reading my first ever article :-)
Jan 8, 2012 1:30am
eileen
I enjoyed reading your unbiased article on homemade versus convenience food.

I still think homemade is the winner. With so many new ways of cooking fresh stir fries, and similar meals with fresh vegies that you grow your self(so you know there are no chemicals in them)is far better than processed.

So many houses or units are built nowadays without kitchens. they just have a microwave. People that buy these have no way of enjoying a good home cooked meal in their home. great article
Jan 8, 2012 2:30am
trisha909
Thank you Eileen, your comments are very welcome. Im still getting the hang of IB and all the other accounts i have to open to use it effectively x
Jan 8, 2012 6:14am
Tom_Carver
My vote goes to homemade food. It is traditional but it takes too long to prepare. People simply don't have the time anymore...Pity. By the way, a great first article. Hope you enjoy IB writing.
Jan 8, 2012 8:35pm
LLWoodard
I think home cooked meals win hands-down in a flavor and comfort test. Busy households make it more difficult to cook at home, but cooks just need to be more creative, making use of slow cookers and pressure cookers. Convenience food wins, well, for convenience, but it comes at the price of being less nutritious and likely higher in calories.

Home cooked foods also are more likely to draw the family around the dinner table than microwaved convenience foods.
Jan 10, 2012 2:57pm
Tina3
Good read and a nice first article.
Homemade food wins hands down every time!
Jan 13, 2012 12:33pm
myalee
homemade is the beast
Jan 13, 2012 12:40pm
Lynsuz
Good article, I prefer home cooked meals, using fresh ingredients. I work 9 hrs. a day and still find time to cook a healthy fresh meal every night. It is possible.
Jan 13, 2012 7:42pm
ZiggyD
I have had this debate with people many times and to get a proper answer you really have to factor in health costs. Although convenience may be cheaper initially, once you factor in the health costs it can end up being much more expensive than homemade food (provided you eat well at home). I could live very cheaply of 2 minute noodles and cheeseburgers < $5 a day, but in a few years my medical bills would add up!
Jan 13, 2012 7:43pm
ZiggyD
I have had this debate with people many times and to get a proper answer you really have to factor in health costs. Although convenience may be cheaper initially, once you factor in the health costs it can end up being much more expensive than homemade food (provided you eat well at home). I could live very cheaply of 2 minute noodles and cheeseburgers < $5 a day, but in a few years my medical bills would add up!
Jan 21, 2012 7:25pm
JohnMags
Very informative and helpful. Thanks for sharing your insights
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