In early 2018, a Nielsen report suggested that Americans were eating out more than ever. We weren't surprised. Eating out has never been cheaper or more convenient, helped in part by innovative additions including self-order kiosks and 'grocerants', and by our increasingly busy lives.
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The tide is turning though. Home cooking is trending for 2019. In late 2018 a Peapod survey revealed that 77% of Americans would rather eat a homemade meal than go out for dinner. This doesn't necessarily mean that 77% of Americans are actively choosing to cook at home rather than eat out, but the same report revealed that 43% plan to cook more in 2019.
This is good news for grocery retailers, food brands and meal kit providers. An increased interest in home cooking translates to an increased need for ingredients. Since competition in the grocery sector is stiff, gaining an understanding of the reasons behind this recent interest in home cooking and leveraging that information to attract customers is vital. Here are four reasons why more Americans are eating at home in 2019
1. They want to save money
For 77% of those surveyed, the cost savings associated with home cooking versus eating out are a factor. Unsurprisingly, the savings can be significant. Data from Priceonomics suggests that ordering in from a restaurant is 5 times more expensive than cooking at home. You'll save on the delivery fee if you choose to eat out, but you're likely to spend more regardless. For some, the convenience factor justifies the extra cost associated with eating out. For others, the savings are too significant to ignore, particularly when feeding a family.
2. They're looking after their health
51% of survey respondents cited health as a reason to eat in more often. From paleo to vegan, consumers are becoming more conscious of what they choose to eat. And while it's possible to eat a healthy meal in a restaurant and an unhealthy meal at home, it's undoubtedly easier to keep an eye on ingredients and portion control if you cook your own meals. Healthy, family-friendly recipes dominate food blogs, recipe websites and celebrity chef cookbooks so finding fresh, healthy inspiration has never been easier. Grocery retailers have an advantage here - by partnering with the likes of Whisk to make those healthy recipes shoppable they can become a convenient one-stop shop and help consumers stick to their goal of eating in more frequently.
3. They want to spend quality time with the family
It can sometimes seem like there isn't enough time in the day to achieve an acceptable work-life balance. Fitting in quality time with the family is not easy, but 41% of people (48% amongst millennials) surveyed see eating in as a way to achieve just that. Beyond simply sitting down to eat with the family, home cooking enables everyone to get involved in preparing the meal together. Although just 9% of people are interested in cooking with kids (39% amongst millennials), initiating a home cooking routine can help build a new habit of eating together at the dinner table. By providing simple, family-friendly recipe inspiration, grocery retailers can become an ally in establishing quality time with the family.
4. Innovative ideas are simplifying home cooking
Cooking can be daunting if you're new to it or if you cook infrequently. Guided cooking systems such as Hestan Cue, as well as step by step connected recipe apps from the likes of Drop and Innit mean that even the most inexperienced home cook can achieve perfect results at home. Mainstream appliance manufacturers are getting in on the act too, with Whirlpool announcing a countertop oven at CES 2019 that can identify food and cook it to perfection without the guesswork. Not just that, but meal kits enable novice cooks to learn new skills while eliminating food waste. Since meal kits are now readily available in grocery stores, it has never been easier to get from the grocery store to the dining table via a little home cooking.
This increased interest in home cooking is a surprising development. Perhaps the convenience factor associated with eating out has been successfully replicated by grocery delivery, meal kits and click & collect. Or perhaps consumers are simply actively thinking about what they eat and how they spend their time and money. Either way, the appetite for home cooking opens up fresh opportunities for grocery retailers hoping to engage with their customers and foster loyalty.
We provide tried and tested recipe content to the grocery and smart kitchen sectors. If you want the leverage the popularity of home cooking in 2019, we can create a bespoke package of engaging, reliable recipe content to suit your brief. Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.