Brits spend 38,000 hours in front of the TV in a lifetime, study finds


The average person settles down in front of the box for 99 minutes a day – which adds up to more than four years over the typical adulthood. When it comes to what to watch, the poll of 2,000 adults found they consider their current mood (52%), length of the programme (47%) and the genre (47%). And 77% like to watch their favourite shows as many as five times.

It also emerged 83% like to eat while watching TV – with dinner being the most common meal consumed in front of the entertainment. With 51% of the belief that eating food pairs well with watching TV.

The research was commissioned by U, UKTV’s new free streaming service, which launches on 16th July. It teamed up with a food scientist to create a ‘TV Dinners for U’ restaurant, featuring scientifically paired food with a curated list of a range of its TV shows, in London on Wednesday July 17th.

Dr Stuart Farrimond identified five television genres to base his ‘TV Dinners’ menu on, finding that factual and real-life shows need calming food which support brain health and increase blood flow, such as salmon and beetroot to alleviate stress of watching.

While crime dramas pair best with foods that evoke intrigue and concentration, like fajitas, beans, matcha and dark chocolate to help following the action.

Whereas comforting classics, such as EastEnders or The Bill, are enhanced by foods that feel familiar – ‘comfort foods’, like lasagne, tiramisu and a glass of red wine.

Dr Stuart Farrimond said: “The fact that TV dinners were invented in the 1950s is testament to how, for as long as televisions have been in our homes, we have eaten in front of them.

“The combination of good food and a great TV show offers an immersive escape and a multisensory experience that Brits love to enjoy.

“By applying the latest flavour science research to the selection of TV shows, I have devised meals that, whether you’re watching a comforting classic or edge-of-your-seat crime drama, are designed to intensify and enhance the TV viewing experience.”

When it comes to TV dining habits, a whopping 93% admit to having eaten dinner in front of the telly. On average, 13,104 meals will be eaten while watching TV in a lifetime as the average person does this four times a week. This equates to more than 208 million dinners per week being consumed in front of the box.

And 36% of those have enjoyed a Sunday roast in front of their favourite shows. While 19% have even eaten their Christmas dinner accompanied by the onscreen entertainment. It also emerged 49% will try and catch TV on their phone or tablet wherever they’re eating.

Penny Brough, spokesperson for UKTV, said: “We’re a self-confessed nation of TV addicts, who love nothing more than watching our favourite shows during dinner.

“With our ‘TV Dinners For U’ restaurant, we’re taking this moment of enjoyment to the next level, combining U’s range of free content with a science enhanced food menu to create a first of its kind, immersive dining-viewing experience. After all, great quality television that people truly love deserves great food.”

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