“Young people don’t have the basic skills to prepare a meal from scratch”

According to Ross Keogh, young people do not have the basic skills to prepare a meal themselves and home economics should be compulsory in schools.

he director of potato grower and chip maker Keogh’s in north Co. Dublin was speaking at the World Potato Congress at the RDS this week.

He said while potato consumption has increased during Covid, it is now declining as Ireland emerges from the pandemic.

But the biggest challenge facing the potato industry in Ireland is the lack of skills on how to cook from scratch, he said.

A large group of 18 to 34 year olds said they did not have the necessary skills to cook a meal.

“This is a serious problem,” he said, and “Back to Basics Innovation” is needed by bringing cooking back to schools.

“Currently Home Economics is not compulsory in Ireland and should be offered at junior and senior levels.”

Mr Keogh also said that while 60 per cent of 18-24 year olds like to experiment with cooking, they don’t like preparing a lot of vegetables as it causes too much washing up.

Packaging concerns have also been a problem for the potato industry, and while 94 percent of consumers say they want less packaging for foods like potatoes, he said it’s processed foods (in packages) that are seeing an increase in sales.

He also said consumers need to be educated about potatoes and cooking with them as consumers are confused by the current potato offering.

“It’s important to tell the consumer what kind of potato it is and what it’s best for. Is it waxy, floury, or fluffy?

“Too many times have I seen customers walk into the potato section (of a supermarket) in amazement and walk straight down the rice and noodle aisle, grab a glass and noodle and walk away.

“It’s all done for them, thinking is taken out. We must try to do the same across the board. Our target group is not engaged.

“We need to talk to consumers and educate them that this is a superfood.

“Potatoes have more potassium than a banana and no fat,” added Mr. Keogh, stressing that they have an excellent environmental record.

They’re inexpensive too, he said, with a large bag of potatoes costing about €7 to feed a family of five for a week and a half.

Congress also heard that the ongoing trend is for fresh potato consumption to decrease, while consumption of processed products is increasing in Europe.

https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/agri-business/agri-food/young-people-dont-have-the-basic-skills-to-cook-a-meal-from-scratch-41710542.html “Young people don’t have the basic skills to prepare a meal from scratch”

Fry Electronics Team

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