Published On: Fri, Mar 10th, 2023

M&S Food to change cooking instructions on food packaging to include air fryers


The air fryer is being dubbed as the newest cooking revolution since the microwave was introduced to the UK back in the 1970s. Currently, 30 percent of British households own an air fryer, and that figure is set to rise as many look for ways to reduce energy bills. With the kitchen gadget being so popular, Marks and Spencer is set to adjust its packaging on certain food products to include cooking instructions for customers choosing to use an air fryer.

Recent research by Which? revealed an air fryer can cook a roast chicken for 18p in about 60 minutes – half the price and 16 minutes faster than if someone were to use an electric oven.

Air fryers also rely on circulating a mist of oil at a high temperature, and because much less oil is needed than a traditional deep-fat fry or frying pan, they are a healthier option.

With so many people switching to an air fryer to cook their meals, M&S has decided to introduce specific cooking instructions on some of its packaging.

Nicola Mecrate-Butcher, head of marketing at M&S Food, said: “As more of our customers use air fryers, it is part of our plans to add cooking instructions to packaging this year.”

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Last week, McCain said they were adding air fryer cooking instructions on its frozen chips and other food products’ packaging.

Waitrose is also looking into making changes to its packaging, while Aldi is set to roll out a ‘Suitable for Air Fryer’ label on some of its products.

To begin with, millions of air fryer users were cooking frozen food such as chips, or breaded or battered items like fish or chicken in the air fryer.

But over time, the air fryer can pretty much cook anything.

Some makes and models are big enough and have several compartments to be able to cook a whole roast dinner – veggies, potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and the meat in it all at once.

With dual zone air fryers, food can be cooked at different temperatures in an air fryer – this is not an option when using an oven.

According to Sarah Farquharson at Instant Brands, using an air fryer “can help households save on their energy bills”.

The research, which was undertaken by Unconventional Connections in 2022, “analysed energy use and found that cooking in air fryers can save up to 80 percent on energy and cost compared to an electric oven”.

The other benefit of using an air fryer is its accessible cooking for all ages.

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It makes cooking easier for children, parents and grandparents; from those who are not the most tech-savvy, to safely introducing younger family members to cooking in a kitchen.

While adult supervision is still required, the large handles on an air fryer and auto heat shut-offs minimise the risk of burn injuries.

Another thing an air fryer can do better than an oven is to cook single portions.

Anyone wanting just one or two items heating up can cook quickly, and costs less money than heating the entire up.

However, while an air fryer’s size has that advantage, it also means it might not be best suited to anyone who likes to batch cook or make large family dinners and roasts.

Another area the air fryer lacks is baking, while most have a baking set, results have varied.

There simply isn’t the space to do a great bake justice in an air fryer, and the cooking times and temperatures take a lot of tweaking for good results.



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