Millions of Brits have never cooked with common vegetables like sweetcorn, parsnips or broccoli – because they don’t know how to prepare them.

A study of 2,000 adults found almost half have actively avoided preparing meals with everyday items such as courgette, aubergine and beetroot.

A fifth are put off including such ingredients in their meals because they require ‘too much effort’.

And one in 10 like to stick to what they know and will not cook with foods they’re not familiar with.

Despite this, 46 per cent believe the meals they eat lack variety, with 58 per cent wishing they were more adventurous in the kitchen.

Jenni Danby, from Love Beets, which commissioned the research, said: “As a nation, it appears that we can be rather stuck in our ways with our eating choices.

“As a result of this, our food is lacking variety and all-important colour.

“That’s exactly why Love Beets is committed to inspiring the nation to ‘Live Colourfully’, encouraging Brits to think about easy ways to add colour, taste and nutrition to their plate.”

The study found three in 10 shy away from cooking with beetroot and aubergine over fears the produce may be too complicated to prepare from scratch.

More than one in 10 have even steered clear of carrots while 18 per cent have avoided cooking with sweet potato.

Cauliflower (14 per cent), spinach (16 per cent) and leeks (15 per cent) are other common foods avoided by those polled.

The results also revealed how adults choose what to cook, with flavour the number one priority for 39 per cent.

This was followed by how healthy the meal is (35 per cent) and price (34 per cent).

Minimal effort (31 per cent) is important too while factors such as range of colours (five per cent) and being able to get more than one meal out of it (12 per cent) are considerations too.

It also emerged that during a typical week, out of the 21 main meals adults consume, just four meals will be made completely from scratch.

But one in 10 will only prepare dinner once over that period.

The Love Beets study carried out through OnePoll also found 86 per cent of adults claim they can cook – and they typically have a repertoire of 15 dishes.

Although two thirds admit they would like to be better at cooking than they are currently.

Jenni Danby added: “When it comes to feeling more inspired in the kitchen, it doesn’t have to be difficult.

“With Love Beets, our pre-cooked beetroot products are designed to be thrown into dishes to add colour, flavour and contribute to one of your five-a-day, essentially taking away the fuss when it comes to cooking, whilst adding variety to mealtimes.”

FOOD BRITS AVOID BECAUSE THEY CAN’T COOK THEM:

Artichoke – 49 per cent
Edamame beans – 42 per cent
Pak Choi – 40 per cent
Celeriac – 39 per cent
Butternut squash – 32 per cent
Aubergine – 30 per cent
Beetroot – 29 per cent
Radish – 29 per cent
Kale – 27 per cent
Mangetout – 27 per cent
Celery – 24 per cent
Courgette – 23 per cent
Ginger – 23 per cent
Asparagus – 22 per cent
Chillis – 22 per cent
Turnip – 21 per cent
Swede – 19 per cent
Parsnip – 18 per cent
Beansprouts – 18 per cent
Spinach – 16 per cent
Broccoli – 15 per cent
Leeks – 15 per cent
Mushrooms – 14 per cent
Cabbage – 14 per cent
Cauliflower – 14 per cent
Spring onions – 13 per cent
Sweetcorn – 13 per cent
Carrots – 11 per cent