Appalling lack of knife culture in the young
Debenhams said that four years ago it sold equal numbers of knives and forks, but in the last few months it has sold about two forks for every knife.
Experts said they feared the trend could result in knives becoming an implement used only on special occasions.
Ed Watson, spokesman for Debenhams, said: "Our research indicates that the trend toward fast food is the biggest culprit for abandoning traditional etiquette. The popularity of eating food in front of the TV may also be having an impact."
20 per cent of those asked sat down to eat together just once a week or less. The poll also found children often had meals alone in their bedrooms while watching TV or playing computer games.
Of those who did eat together, TV was the preferred dinner guest, with 75 per cent eating while watching it.
Of course it is better to eat without a knife than wield one like an American. If you can't use cutlery properly you might as well eat out of a bowl on the floor.