Cutlery Confessions: Fork It!

Kiwis are giving the middle finger to finger food – eating pizza, meat pies, and even French fries with a knife and fork. We always knew Kiwis had weird food habits, but a new survey has unearthed some surprising cutlery habits across New Zealand.

To celebrate the launch of the latest supermarket collectibles craze, Countdown commissioned a national survey in partnership with kitchenware brand Wiltshire.

four long skinny teaspons lined up on table with strawberry ice cream on left and strawberries on right

Findings showed that four in ten Kiwis admitted to eating pizza with cutlery, while half said they ate their French fries with cutlery, and a whopping 78 percent preferred to eat pies with a fork and knife. Even birthday treats have been flipped off with eight out of ten Kiwis preferring to chow down on cake with cutlery.

If you have a favourite cutlery, you might be relieved to hear that you’re not the only one. Fifty percent of Kiwis have one or more favourite items of cutlery, and 25 percent are willing to go out of their way to access their preferred cutlery (even when other options are readily available).

Despite half of Kiwis surveyed sharing they had at least one favourite item of cutlery, only nine percent of respondents admitted to having a mismatched cutlery set at home. We are a nation with manners, it seems, with two-thirds of respondents saying they preferred a matching cutlery set to eat with and 23 percent asserting that they would ONLY eat with a matching knife and fork.

While 36 percent of Kiwis said they use their spoons, forks and knives equally, the remaining 64 percent had varying dinnerware demands – in particular, 23 percent of respondents said they needed more teaspoons than anything else.

According to research, teaspoons and forks are more likely to go missing than any other utensil, and 13 percent of Kiwis are pinning it on a family member or housemate for being a dirty dish hoarder. 

When it came to washing habits, the survey found that most Kiwis (37 percent) loaded the dishwasher with cutlery handle-side down, while just 20 percent loaded their cutlery handle-side up. 

“The best way to load your dishwasher is technically handle-side down, so the part that touches your food is exposed for a better clean – but the difference in overall cleanliness is quite small, so we recommend that people load it handle-side up. That way, you don’t transfer bacteria from your hands to the part you eat while you’re unloading,” explained Alicia Giminez, brand manager at Wiltshire. 

And while 80 percent of respondents said they used a dishwasher, the survey found that Kiwis are willing to get their hands wet for their favourite cutlery. Even when other options were available and already clean, a quarter of New Zealanders will hand-wash their favourite items. 

However, there was also a small selection of Kiwis who weren’t keen to wash dishes at all. A few cheeky respondents admitted that they had chucked metal cutlery in the bin to avoid washing it (four percent), while 22 percent used disposable cutlery at home.

cutlery (fork, knige spoon and teaspoon) with sauce on left and a leafy garnish on right against black backdrop

Countdown’s newest collectibles collaboration with Wiltshire begins on 8 July and runs for a limited time, while stocks last. Customers can earn one eStamp for every $20 spent simply by using their Onecard in a qualifying shop. The Wiltshire Salisbury collection is currently exclusive to Countdown, and includes six sets to collect:

  • Dinner set – four piece
  • Children’s set – three piece
  • Salad servers – two piece
  • Cheese & pâté knives – two piece
  • Parfait spoons – four piece
  • Steak knives – two piece

children set of cutlery with baby blocks placed around them