How To Foster Post-Pandemic Interest In Home Cooking
Updated: Jun 11
The stats are in and many of us are cooking at home more often than pre-pandemic times. 20 percent of British people are now cooking every meal at home. This is up from one in eight pre-lockdown. In the U.S., 54 percent of people are cooking more often with 46 percent baking more frequently. 30 percent of Australians and 46 percent of people in New Zealand say they're cooking more often. There are no real surprises here. With restaurants closed, home cooking has become a necessity. Takeout is still an option but a number of factors including budgetary concerns mean home cooking is booming.
As lockdowns are eased will this boom last in a post-pandemic world? A recent study from Hunter suggests it might, with 51 percent of Americans saying they will continue to cook at home more often once lockdown ends. In the U.K., a staggering 89 percent of people plan to continue cooking from scratch once restrictions are lifted. Not just that, but 40 percent of Brits say their children are showing more interest in cooking during the lockdown, suggesting a whole new generation may be ready to fuel a post-pandemic boom in home cooking. McCormick is seeing sustained increases in food purchases in China, which is further along the curve than the rest of the world. This indicates that interest in home cooking hasn't waned.
Continuing interest in home cooking is not a certainty, however. Two-fifths of people are enjoying cooking more than they did before but this sentiment could change dramatically once schools and offices reopen and people resume their busy lives. For grocery retailers, food brands, appliance manufacturers and other platforms that rely on recipe content to engage consumers, there are a number of strategies that can be adopted now to foster post-pandemic interest in home cooking.
Create shoppable meal plans
The top motivation for cooking at home is saving money, with 58% of Americans giving it as a reason. Job losses are a real concern and the potential for a post-pandemic recession means home cooking will become a legitimate alternative to eating out. For 52% of Americans, eating healthier is a motivation for cooking at home. Limited exercise options and an increase in comfort eating during lockdown will only add to people's desire to look after their health post-pandemic. One strategy that adds genuine value for people in both scenarios is creating shoppable meal plans to suit different budgets and health concerns. This strategy is particularly powerful now that online grocery has been boosted by Covid-19 concerns and traffic to grocery websites is at an all-time high. Now is the time to capture this interest in online grocery and introduce the concept of shoppable recipe content in a way that adds value for consumers.
Add personalised variety
50 percent of Americans say trying new recipes is a motivation for cooking at home. Pre-coronavirus, people spent 40 minutes a week on average searching for recipe content. Planning meals is one of the most off-putting aspects of cooking at home and online recipe options are endless. Positioning your brand as a source of regularly-updated recipe content will give home cooks a reason to come back for more, increasing interest in home cooking and basket values. Take things a step further by personalising this content based on behavioural insights and purchase history. This will be particularly powerful when cooking fatigue sets in and options for eating out-of-home increase. Making the inspiration phase as simple and relevant as possible is key.
Partner with food brands
38 percent of people say they are trying new ingredients during lockdown while 45 percent are discovering new brands. Product scarcity accounts for much of this shift in behaviour but a good experience with a new brand might convince people to try new brands post-pandemic. Sponsored recipe content on grocery websites is a powerful way to leverage this fresh willingness to switch brands. Food brands will be eager to capitalise on increased interest in online grocery while consumers have a clear appetite for discovery making it a win-win situation. Not just that, but shoppable recipes mean increased basket values for grocery retailers.
Focus on reliable recipe content
Finally, none of the above strategies will keep consumers engaged with home cooking unless your recipe content is reliable. A poor recipe that results in a bad eating experience and wasted ingredients is off-putting, particularly at a time of economic uncertainly. Tried and tested recipe content gives people a reason to come back for more, helps build a reputation as a reliable source of recipe content and increases people's confidence in their cooking skills, giving them more of a reason to cook at home.
Just two years ago UBS predicted that most meals eaten at home by 2030 most meals now cooked at home will instead be ordered online and delivered, spelling the death of the home kitchen. Fostering post-pandemic interest in home cooking might just give the kitchen a second chance at life.