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Wait — Only 13.7% of Americans Cook at Home Because They Love It?

July 26, 2021
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Foodservice dollars have traditionally topped retail food sales, but markets shifted after March of 2020 and significant changes were ushered into the grocer and foodservice industries. Once the shutdowns hit, supermarket shelves were bare from panic purchasing. Restaurants quickly pivoted and offered curbside, to-go and delivery services. But still, more Americans found themselves face to face with their stovetops and ovens. Today, surveys show that about 98% of Americans prefer cooking from home, but it doesn’t mean they love it.

Why the at-home cooking preference?
A recent survey from ReportLinker found that half of the consumers cook at least one meal at home three to six days a week, and one-third cook at least one meal every day. However, even with a large number of people cooking from home, only 13.7% of those surveyed said they do so because they love it. Instead, 22% said they find that making meals at home provides a healthier diet, and 20% said it makes it easier to have control over the items they eat. Over one-third of consumers cited lower expenses as the reason they prefer cooking their own meals. So, what does that mean for grocers?

Reaching the crowd
If only 13.7% of shoppers like cooking their meals, it means the opposite is also true; approximately 86% of consumers don’t particularly enjoy making meals. These survey results provide an opportunity for supermarkets to focus on those reluctant to take to the kitchen and whip up the next recipe on their Pinterest feed. Expenses, health, and food choices are top factors in eating at home. But let’s face it, everyone loves convenience, and there are several things supermarkets can do to keep grocery dollars flowing to their tills and reach the crowd that isn’t thrilled about prepping meals.

What can a grocer do?
Understanding the impact of take-out on supermarkets post-pandemic means that stores need to cater differently to their customers. Recent research from Acosta states that 40% of shoppers are looking to purchase healthy food items. But, having enough time to prepare and clean up meals was a problem for over one-third of consumers. Supermarkets can help ease some of the time-crunch burdens by offering healthy grab-and-go or take-and-bake options.

But, as fantastic as they are, to-go meals aren’t typically a solution for every single day. Over half of consumers said meal planning was their greatest challenge in creating home-cooked meals. One solution grocers can provide is a helpful digital or in-store meal-planning tool. Supplying quick, organized, and nutritious recipes, along with their needed ingredients, is one way to make shopping a breeze. Another option is to set up quick-grab displays containing meal planning ideas and the ingredients for each recipe choice.

Frozen food is also a convenient, hot commodity, upping its sales by 21% over the last year. Be prepared by sourcing, providing and promoting healthy, frozen meals. Also, be sure to optimally arrange products for busy customers that want to quickly grab what they need and make their exit. It’s a smart move for a quick and easy sale (and a frustration-free shopping experience).

As a supermarket professional, you can help put back a little love into the food people prepare at home by making the experience just a little more convenient. Want to learn more about other grocery trends in 2021? Check out our blog post here.

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