Poll: Canadians spend more than six hours per week on cooking

It's often said that good food takes time. When it comes to who spends the most time in the kitchen, Canadians are living proof of this old adage, based on a new international poll.

The average Canadian spends about 6.4 hours per week in the kitchen, cooking up whatever happens to be for dinner, according to a recent poll conducted by research institute GfK. The survey, which questioned approximately 27,000 people all around the world – 15 years of age and up – from nearly two dozen countries, including respondents from France, China, Sweden, the United States and Mexico, among others.

Just ahead of Canadians in the rankings was Russia at 6.5 hours per week, and Spain at 6.8, sixth overall on the list. Behind Canada was Australia, Poland, Argentina and Belgium.

As might be expected, given its reputation for producing delicious cuisine, Italy was among the top five in hours spent on cooking per week, GfK reported. But in a bit of a surprise, it was India that topped them all. Cooking enthusiasts from India average 13.2 hours per week on food preparation, beating out Ukraine at 13.1, South Africa at 9.5 and Indonesia at 8.3.

Udo Jansen, global director for sales tracking at GfK, indicated that India's fondness for food is evident in its purchasing behavior.

"We are seeing growing demand for electric food preparation appliances in India," said Jansen, adding that the same is true for Indonesia and Italy, which also finished in the top five.

Regardless of where people live, those who have a passion for cooking believe that they've learned a thing or two over the years, thereby enhancing their culinary bona fides. Nearly one-third of respondents said they had "great" knowledge and experience about food and cooking. Women were more likely to assert this, indicating as such by 34 percent of them versus 25 percent among men, the GfK poll revealed.

More details on the cooking report can be found at GfK's website, including a web graphic that breaks down the numbers by nation as well as attitudes comparing men to women.

Restaurants are Canada's top job creator
Canada's food industry is a major contributor to the nation's economy. In 2014, for example, eateries based in Canada added 31,300 new jobs, making it the country's No. 1 job creator, Restaurants Canada reported. The restaurant sector beat out a perennial jobs contributor, health care, by 1,500 jobs.

Donna Dooher, Restaurant Canada's interim president and CEO, indicated that Canada's economy would be a shell of itself were it not for dining establishments.

"Our industry should be proud," said Dooher in a press release. "In 2014, we employed more than 20 percent of the country's youth workforce. As the top source of first-time jobs, we're an increasingly important venue for young people and newcomers to gain essential career skills and experience."

When combining jobs that are indirectly related to the restaurant sector – such as farming and manufacturing – another 300,000 jobs were added to the nation's payrolls last year, the report further stated.

How will the industry perform in 2015? Canadians' love of food will keep it vibrant. For the fifth year in a row, the dining sector is expected to grow, totaling an estimated $72 billion in annual sales and employing 1.2 million people.

Dooher said that restaurants are the glue that keep communities connected, as so many companies these days are going online. Though this has made things more convenient,  in many ways it's prevented people from being more social.