Which Country Eats The Most Junk Food?

Which Country Eats The Most Junk Food?

Junk food tempts us every day, whether it's a savoury snack or an irresistable sweet treat. Everyone indulges in these naughty foods from time to time, but which country eats the most?
In our latest survey, we uncover the junk food eating habits of countries across Europe. Find out how the UK compares below.

Junk food tempts us every day, whether it's a savoury snack or an irresistable sweet treat. Everyone indulges in these naughty foods from time to time, but which country eats the most?
In our latest survey, we uncover the junk food eating habits of countries across Europe. Find out how the UK compares below.

The Junk Food League Table

The UK eats the most junk food, while Austria eats the least

The graph reveals how often residents of the nine countries we surveyed eat junk food in an average month.
Topping the league table is the UK, where we treat ourselves to junk food six times per month on average. Belgium follows in second place, serving up junk food five times per month.
Austria eats the least junk food of the countries we surveyed, only giving in to temptation twice per month.
Eating junk food three times a month was most common amongst our European neighbours, including Sweden, France, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.

Age & Attitudes To Junk Food By Country

Generally, the younger a person is, the more junk food they consume in an average month. In five of the nine countries, 16-24 year olds were found to eat the most each month, while those aged 55 and over are only likely to eat junk food once a month, if that! 16-24 year olds in the UK eat junk food the most frequently at 11 times per month, with Belgium taking second place at seven times. Interestingly, the UK's junk food intake is significantly higher across all age groups when compared to the other eight European countries we surveyed.

The European Cities That Eat The Most Junk Food

Which cities eat the most junk food? Find the full breakdown of the 105 cities in each of the nine countries we surveyed in the below table. 17 UK cities feature in total. At seven times per month, residents of Belfast eat the most junk food not only in the UK, but also in Europe overall. Liverpool was found to eat the least at four times per month, although this is still higher than 71 other cities in the list.

European Cities Ranked by Average No. of Times They Eat Junk Food Per Month

1. Belfast, UK (7.45)
2. Mons, Belgium (7.32)
3. Birmingham, UK (6.69)
4. Glasgow, UK (6.63)
5. Newcastle, UK (6.55)
6. Brussels, Belgium (6.22)
7. Namur, Belgium (6.1)
8. Edinburgh, UK (6.02)
9. Liege, Belgium (5.97)
10. Manchester, UK (5.75)
11. Delsberg, Switzerland (5.72)
12. Southampton, UK (5.71)
13. Cardiff, UK (5.68)
14. Bristol, UK (5.67)
15. London, UK (5.59)
16. Zug, Switzerland (5.55)
17. Plymouth, UK (5.46)
18. Leeds, UK (5.31)
19. Arlon, Belgium (5.29)
20. Sheffield, UK (5.26)
21. Bern, Switzerland (5.18)
22. Nottingham, UK (5.14)
23. Karlstad, Sweden (5.09)
24. Frederikshavn, Denmark (4.95)
25. Schaffhausen, Switzerland (4.93)
26. Genf, Switzerland (4.9)
27. Brighton, UK (4.78)
28. Liestal, Switzerland (4.69)
29. Freiburg, Switzerland (4.62)
30. Rønne, Denmark (4.51)
31. Paris, France (4.26)
32. Chur, Switzerland (4.24)
33. Norwich, UK (4.21)
34. Liverpool, UK (4.2)
35. Antwerp, Belgium (4.19)
36. Marseille, France (4.1)
37. Linkoping, Sweden (4.1)
38. Bellinzona, Switzerland (4.09)
39. Lausanne, Switzerland (4.06)
40. Sitten, Switzerland (3.88)
41. Rødby, Denmark (3.84)
42. Haarlem, Netherlands (3.77)
43. Köln, Germany (3.7)
44. Frederiksværk, Denmark (3.68)
45. Lille, France (3.56)
46. Strasbourg, France (3.53)
47. København, Denmark (3.51)
48. Clermont Ferrand, France (3.49)
49. München, Germany (3.48)
50. Stockholm, Sweden (3.48)
51. Zürich, Switzerland (3.48)
52. Düsseldorf, Germany (3.46)
53. Den Haag, Netherlands (3.46)
54. Bruges, Belgium (3.44)
55. Kolding, Denmark (3.41)
56. Rouen, France (3.4)
57. Dortmund, Germany (3.34)
58. St. Pölten, Austria (3.31)
59. Stuttgart, Germany (3.26)
60. Nice, France (3.23)
61. Aalborg, Denmark (3.22)
62. Gavle, Sweden (3.18)
63. Linz, Austria (3.11)
64. Bordeaux, France (3.11)
65. Essen, Germany (3.1)
66. Groningen, Netherlands (3.02)
67. Rennes, France (3.01)
68. Amsterdam, Netherlands (2.99)
69. Aarau, Switzerland (2.98)
70. Basel, Switzerland (2.9)
71. Roskilde, Denmark (2.88)
72. Lyon, France (2.87)
73. Innsbruck, Austria (2.86)
74. Luzern, Switzerland (2.86)
75. Toulouse, France (2.81)
76. Malmo, Sweden (2.81)
77. Frankfurt, Germany (2.8)
78. Goteborg, Sweden (2.79)
79. Wiener Neustadt, Austria (2.78)
80. Hamburg, Germany (2.77)
81. Umea, Sweden (2.74)
82. Vejle, Denmark (2.73)
83. Arnhem, Netherlands (2.72)
84. Berlin, Germany (2.71)
85. Utrecht, Netherlands (2.67)
86. Ribe, Denmark (2.59)
87. Maastricht, Netherlands (2.57)
88. Nantes, France (2.47)
89. Wien, Austria (2.46)
90. St. Gallen, Switzerland (2.39)
91. Rotterdam, Netherlands (2.37)
92. Dijon, France (2.31)
93. Leoben, Austria (2.29)
94. Helsingør, Denmark (2.28)
95. Odense, Denmark (2.17)
96. Aarhus, Denmark (2.16)
97. Reims, France (2.1)
98. Køge, Denmark (2.05)
99. Salzburg, Austria (2.02)
100. Vordingborg, Denmark (1.78)
101. Klagenfurt, Austria (1.68)
102. Graz, Austria (1.6)
103. Neuenburg, Switzerland (1.58)
104. Bregenz, Austria (1.53)
105. Solothurn, Switzerland (1.53)

Which Country Eats The Most Ready Meals?

While some ready meals can be classed as junk food, some are more nutritional than others. However, it's generally accepted that ready meals are no comparison for the nutritional benefits of a home cooked meal. You can see the countries that put the most ready meals in their shopping basket below:

Ready meals are more popular with Europe's younger generation

18-24 year olds in all of the countries we surveyed purchase a higher proportion of ready meals than any other age group.
Across all of the countries, the amount of ready meals bought by the youngest generation was signficantly more than each country's average - up by as much as 14% for the Netherlands (21% vs. 35%).
While the UK's 18-24 year olds eat junk food most often, their typical shopping basket doesn't contain the highest proportion of ready meals. 27% of an 18-24 year old's shopping basket is made up of ready meals, compared to over a third in countries like Germany and the Netherlands (35%).

Why Do We Have Such A Large Appetite For Junk Food?

Brits aren't confident cooking our favourite meals at home

Our survey also asked Brits which dishes they love to eat, but don't know how to cook at home.
Interestingly, all of the dishes in the top five are from far-flung destinations, including Japan, China, Thailand, India and France. While we may be able to cook our national dishes at home, we're less confident cooking other cuisines.
Almost 44% of Brits said they had ruled out some food because they don't know how to cook it, while just over a third said they are confident cooking with all food and ingredients.
Perhaps a lack of cooking knowledge and reduced confidence in the kitchen is encouraging our junk food and ready meal habits.

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About The Data:
To collect the data, we surveyed 15,687 adults across nine European countries. The number of people surveyed per country is as follows: UK (1,601), Switzerland (1,505), Netherlands (1,523), Germany (1,509), France (1,503), Denmark (1,507), Belgium (3,509), Austria (1,513) and Sweden (1,517).
© HelloFresh 2021