How can grocers reawaken the home cooking bug?

Discussion
Photo: @antonina.vlasova via Twenty20
Jul 12, 2022

An FMI study finds that, while Americans are still cooking at home more than ever before, enthusiasm for doing so has waned to pre-pandemic levels.

The organization’s “U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2022” study found the number of Americans who “love” or “like” cooking had dropped to 41 percent from 46 percent last year.

The main reasons for not wanting to cook included wanting to go to a restaurant, cited by 40 percent; an urgency of getting food quickly, 32 percent; and getting takeout, 27 percent.

The findings aren’t so surprising as most Americans are comfortable eating out at this stage of the pandemic. However, surveys have shown most home cooks have been battling cooking fatigue throughout the pandemic.

A recent survey conducted on behalf of Jennie-O found six in 10 home cooks admitted feeling “burnt out” by cooking, with seven in 10 getting bored cooking the same meals over and over again.

Sixty percent of survey respondents experimented with a recipe of a frequently-prepared dish out of sheer boredom to get re-inspired. Forty percent added fruit in subtle ways or combined salty and sweet flavors. About a third turn to Google for ideas.

Social media was found to be a source of inspiration. On average, respondents to the Jennie-O survey believe they make about four social media-worthy meals, with 51 percent considering creating a social media account just for their culinary creations.

FMI’s study suggested retailers could inspire home cooks through online “shoppable recipes” that link shopping lists to TikTok videos or other social media and by providing recipes on packaging.

Grouping items together in stores for quick prep would likely be welcomed as 74 percent of respondents to FMI’s survey take less than one hour to prepare their meals, 30 percent less than 30 minutes.

Nutritional options could resonate as inspiration for some home cooks, according to FMI. Twenty-eight percent of FMI’s survey respondents put “a lot of” and 48 percent “some” effort into selecting nutritious and healthy options.

Record food inflation this year is also expected to lead to an increase in cooking at home as a money saver.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are the most effective methods for grocers to inspire home cooks and help them overcome cooking fatigue? Is social media an under-tapped or overhyped tool for reaching home cooks?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Easy recipes with ingredients ready-to-go would be a huge benefit for consumers."
"Simple – on all levels. Offer customers simple recipes and simple grab-and-go solutions for quick weeknight meals."
"Something that merges The Joy of Cooking with your shopping list and grocer-prepared ingredients, staged by aisle, would be a winner."

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11 Comments on "How can grocers reawaken the home cooking bug?"


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Zel Bianco
BrainTrust

Ideas for meals that are relatively quick and easy. More ideas for meal solutions would help answer the ever-present question, “what’s for dinner?” With more of us eating healthier, including less carbs and red meat, it is becoming increasingly challenging to answer that question. Manufacturers and retailers can indeed collaborate on this. With the higher prices manufacturers are charging, hiring nutritionists and chefs to work on this would be the right thing to do and would encourage loyalty to both supplier and retailer.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

We all understand the pent-up demand for going to restaurants. But a lot of people discovered the joys of cooking during the pandemic. And who knows what future waves of variants might keep people in their kitchens again. Convenience will always drive takeout orders and restaurant visits, while value and “there’s no place like home” will keep people cooking.

If ever there were an opportunity for a killer app, this is it. Something that merges The Joy of Cooking with your shopping list and grocer-prepared ingredients, staged by aisle, would be a winner. I spend forever looking for specific ingredients that are almost never where they should be. Planogram the way people shop! Also, home delivery — especially getting the order accuracy and arrival window right — would contribute greatly to making home cooking a more popular choice for dinner.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

The desire or enthusiasm for home cooking has declined year after year, excepting the pandemic. Let’s be realistic — when working spouses or partners have spent a full day at work, the desire to cook wanes.

Don’t try to overcome cooking fatigue. Offer a variety of options for pre-cooked meals. That is where the future is. Until life gets slower, the non-cooking trend will continue. And I don’t see life getting slower.

Social media? For someone to use social media as the discussion suggests is not something anyone would want to do when they don’t even have a desire to cook in the first place. Even when they might see a desirable recipe, the simplest option will win.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

For the moment, I would think that people would want to stay home and cook. Retailers have made it super easy to cook a meal in 30 minutes (pre-cut veggies, meats, and pre-made sauces). I see this phenomenon continuing to grow if the economy continues to be stressed.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

Ahold publishes a magazine each month with seasonal menu ideas. That’s a plus for those of us who have to put together meals twice a day, every day.

Mohamed Amer, PhD
BrainTrust

Create minimal prep options geared at different levels of cooking expertise while resetting store layouts to promote discovery and excitement with scannable QR-codes, screens, and live demos at appropriate times.

David Weinand
BrainTrust

The social media question is generational. For young people, tying in social media influencers to fun, social ways to cook – that would be a winner. For Millennials and Gen Xers, etc. who have families – cross promotions with manufacturers of the latest tools for easier cooking (e.g. air fryers, Instapot) is one avenue. Others include pre-packaging ingredients for easy pick up at the grocery store.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

Simple – on all levels. Offer customers simple recipes and simple grab-and-go solutions for quick weeknight meals. And create simple meal plans with options for various dietary plans people follow. If those meal plans generate shopping lists or, better yet, create a curbside order for the week’s meals, a la Blue Apron, I think they would be pretty popular. The big demotivator for home cooks, at least in my house, is not the fatigue from cooking; it’s the fatigue from planning a week’s meals over and over again.

Brandon Rael
BrainTrust

Some pandemic-fueled consumer behaviors are here to stay, including touchless commerce, leveraging BOPIS, curbside pickup, and shopping via digital channels. However with the rise of cooking and baking, a pandemic phenomenon has taken a downturn. And with the reopening of restaurants and society in general, along with the fact that we are time-strapped with return to work initiatives, people do not have the time and interest to cook.

As working parents, we are challenged to come up with creative ideas for dinner after a long day at work, which often spills into the evening. There is an opportunity within the organic and local pre-packaged and pre-cooked segments to capitalize on the holistic health and nutrition movement. The challenge with the inflationary period we are experiencing is that the costs associated with pre-packaged dinner offerings are hard to digest with cost of living increases.

If you were making home-cooked meals before the pandemic, you are more likely to continue that behavior in the post-pandemic world rather than ordering food.

Jeff Weidauer
BrainTrust

The question of “what’s for dinner?” is one of the most feared for those who cook at home. It doesn’t matter who works or who doesn’t, simply finding an answer (hopefully an easy one) is where stores can be helpful. Easy recipes with ingredients ready-to-go would be a huge benefit for consumers.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
Staff

Consumers need meal solutions and grocers can offer them in many ways and at many price points: grab-and-go items, daily/weekly featured kits, cooking demonstrations with prepacked ingredients and social contests that inspire home cooks.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Easy recipes with ingredients ready-to-go would be a huge benefit for consumers."
"Simple – on all levels. Offer customers simple recipes and simple grab-and-go solutions for quick weeknight meals."
"Something that merges The Joy of Cooking with your shopping list and grocer-prepared ingredients, staged by aisle, would be a winner."

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