Purpose - The paper aims to explore the food shopping and preparation responsibility in a sample of adults, average age 32.5 years. Design/methodology/approach - A sample of 198 adults (81 men and 117 women) who were involved in a longitudinal dietary study self-completed a questionnaire about their food habits. Chi-squared analysis explored relationships between variables using SPSS (version 10). Open-ended responses were analysed in QSR NUD*IST using a content analysis framework. Findings - The majority of respondents were married or co-habiting (79 per cent), 6 per cent were lone parents, 9 per cent lived alone and the remainder lived with parents and others. Significantly more women than men were responsible for food shopping and preparation (both p<0.001). Within shared households food responsibility was predominately a female dominated area, with a considerably higher proportion of women responsible for food shopping and preparation compared with men. Reasons given for this included aspects of time and work as well as women being more skilled in this task. Research limitations/implications - The study was a relatively small and homogenous sample, not necessarily representative of the wider UK population. Practical implications - Identifies the enduring gender divide in food responsibility. Findings will be useful to health educators, policy planners and researchers. Originality/value - In light of the recent focus on diet and health, this paper describes the reported shopping and food preparation behaviours in a sample of adults in their 30s at the beginning of a new century.