Retailers should turn up the heat after reading this new research from Mintel. The findings are setting stove burners ablaze by showing the kitchen is where it’s at when it comes to Britain’s young men, who state they’re more confident with a pastry brush than a paintbrush.
“Much has been made in the media of how the young are less handy when it comes to DIY than preceding generations,” says Jack Duckett, senior consumer lifestyles analyst at Mintel. “However, far from feeling emasculated, for today’s young men the ability to cook appears to be a more important indicator of modern masculinity, underlined by their significantly higher level of confidence in the kitchen compared to their older counterparts.”
For today’s young men the ability to cook appears to be a more important indicator of modern masculinity. Britain’s young men are proving to be more comfortable in the kitchen than their older counterparts. As many as 23% of 16-34-year-olds say they feel very confident about baking a cake, bread, and cupcakes, in contrast to just 12% of men aged 65 and over.
Research questioning British men about their life skills finds only one in four (25%) 16-34-year-old men are very confident in their ability to tackle household DIY maintenance jobs such as painting or wiring a plug, compared to half (48%) of men aged 65 and over. Even fewer young men (22% of 16-34-year-olds) feel very confident about fixing basic car issues such as changing tires or replacing water fluid, compared to 42% of Brits aged 65 and over. More research shows while 50% of men aged 65 and over say they feel very comfortable about assembling flat-pack furniture, this figure declines to just 28% of 16-34-year-olds, according to Mintel.
Cupcakes vs. cars
While DIY is proving something of a challenge for Britain’s young men, they prove infinitely more confident in the kitchen than their older counterparts. As many as 23% of 16-34-year-olds say they feel very confident about baking a cake, bread, and cupcakes, in contrast to just 12% of men aged 65 and over, Mintel reports.
The study shows that, overall, men appear more confident about their cooking skills than their DIY skills. Some 40% of all men say they are very confident about cooking a meal from scratch compared to 32% of men who are very confident about household DIY. Today, just one in four (24%) of men say that a good role model is someone who is able to fix and repair things, such as cars, furniture, and clothes.
When looking for the handiest region for DIY, it seems best to head North. Almost half of men in Yorkshire and Humberside (46%) and the North East and North West (45%) feel very confident when it comes to putting together flat-pack furniture, compared to just 28% of Londoners. Again, some 43% of those living in Yorkshire and Humberside are very confident about household DIY maintenance jobs, compared to just one-quarter (25%) of men living in the South East and East Anglia.
But if a cupcake is on the menu, Mintel reports that a London man is the best bet. Almost one-quarter (23%) of London men feel very confident about their baking skills compared to just 12% of men living in Scotland and the South East and East Anglia.
Men vs. women
Londoners also appear more confident with a needle and thread, with 27% of London males saying they feel very confident about their clothing care and repair skills compared to one in 10 (10%) living in the South East and East Anglia.
“Regional differences in skill sets paint a vivid picture of how men’s perceptions of masculinity vary around the country,” Duckett says. “The men of Scotland and the North of England favor a traditional male role model with skills oriented on DIY and household maintenance. By contrast, as we move South and into London the focus shifts towards a more domestic skill set, as these men seek to carve out a new definition of masculinity and show its increasing fluidity.”
While Britain’s young men are busy improving their baking skills, it seems young women are not as focused on the kitchen. Confidence varies widely by generation, with one-third (33%) of women aged 16-34 feeling very confident about baking compared to 56% of women aged 65 and over.
The same is true of scratch cooking. Those aged 65 and over are almost twice (80%) as likely to be very confident at cooking a meal from scratch than those aged 16-34 (42%). This same pattern emerges for confidence in their needle skills, with women aged 65 and over proving considerably more confident with a needle and thread than 16-34-year-olds (57% vs. 19%), according to Mintel.
Parents’ home vs. moving out
‘As the nation’s men are struggling with DIY, this is proving equally challenging for young women. Just 13% of 16-34-year-old women are very confident about household DIY maintenance, while 25% of the same group are confident about putting together household furniture.
As with men, the difference in confidence in skill sets between younger and older women can be strongly linked to experience, with younger women building confidence in domestic skills as they progress through life, Duckett says.
“For both younger men and women, there is also the issue of home ownership, with many young adults unable to get on the property ladder due to high property prices, he adds. “For many young adults, this increasingly means that they remain in the family home, where they have less need to practice these skills as they are taken care of by their parents.”