At least 79 million ready meals and 22 million takeaways and fast-food and meals are eaten weekly by adults in the UK, according to a new report.
The report, based on a YouGov survey found that young adults aged 18-24 are the age group most likely to rely on convenience meals - seven times more likely to indulge in fast food and takeaways at least once a week compared to the over 65s.
The report also found that men were more likely than women to eat convenience food rather than make meals at home. 55.6 per cent of men they ate ready meals once a week or more compared to 44.4 per cent of females.
And when asked how often they eat takeaways, 19.3 per cent of men in the survey said once a week or more compared to 12.9 per cent of females.
It’s estimated that adults in England consume an extra 200-300 calories every day - around the same calorie content as two packets of salted crisps
According to Cancer Research UK, regularly consuming fast food and ready meals, which tend to have a high calorie content and higher levels of fat and sugar, increases the risk of weight gain and obesity.
Obesity is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK after smoking, and is linked to thirteen types of cancer including bowel, breast, and pancreatic.
Alison Cox of Cancer Research UK, said: “These figures show that ‘grab and go’ foods and a growing appetite for takeaways and ready meals are helping to propel us towards an epidemic of larger waistlines and increased cancer risk.
“The whole food industry needs to step up and commit to working with government to cut the amount of fat and sugar in our food. This would make it that bit easier for all of us to become healthier and reduce our cancer risk.”