Recipes, lifestyle campaigns could help manufacturers reach Americans who are cooking more

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty / Halfpoint
Source: Getty / Halfpoint

Related tags: Packaged facts, Marketing

As Americans learn more about where food comes from and how to prepare it, they increasingly are embracing cooking at home as an important part of their lifestyles, including as a hobby and way to spend time together, according to new research from Packaged Facts.

“More than half of US adults really enjoy cooking (53%), and more than a third consider the kitchen to be the most important room in the home (35%),”​ both of which are up in 2018 compared to a decade earlier, according to new data in Packaged Facts recently released “Eating Trends: Cooking & Food Shopping.”

Millennials and homeowners in particular “display a strong tendency to cook for fun,”​ according to the report which found Millennials are 19% more likely than average to agree that they enjoy cooking for fun and homeowners are 32% more likely to do the same.

A key driver of this trend appears to be increased access and awareness about how to cook. According to Packaged Facts, 20% of US adults read cooking and food themed magazines, while more Baby Boomers (21%) are tuning into the Food Network and Cooking Channel compared to only 6% in in 2015. African Americans also are 27% more likely than average to watch these channels, the report adds.

In addition, 59.3% of US adults in 2018 report liking to try new recipes – up from 53.9% in 2008, and 42.2% report referring to recipes when cooking in 2018 compared to 34.4% in 2008, according to the report.

To find these recipes, a third of Americans turn to the Internet, according to the report, which adds that the percentage of adults who use of apps to find recipes has increased from 11% in 2015 to 20% in 2019.

Even as Americans’ interest in cooking and trying new recipes increases, they seem to be striking a balance with other obligations by favoring simple, easy-to-prepare foods. Packaged Facts found that 54.5% of Americans in 2019 agree somewhat or strongly that they prefer easy-to-prepare foods compared to just 50.6% in 2008.

Reflecting on these figures, the report suggests, “there’s opportunity here for food marketers to inspire home chefs cooking with new recipes.”

Knowing where food comes from inspires home cooks

Another source of inspiration for cooking more has been increased awareness of where food comes from, suggests the report.

“Local foods and the related locavore movement are inspiring both professional chefs and domestic Kenmore culinarians alike,”​ according to the report. It added, “local is becoming the next-gen organic,”​ as consumers view these products as “fresher, having longer shelf lives … potentially safer and … more sustainable.”

Enjoying the fruits of their labor with friends and family

At the same time that more Americans report enjoying cooking, they also report setting more time aside to have formal meals with family.

Packaged Facts reports that the percentage of Americans who say they rarely sit down to meals together has decreased from 21% of adults in 2008 to 19% in 2018. Among those who are most likely to prioritizing eat together are married couples, 18- to 24-year-olds, homemakers, full-time college students, those living in homes with more than 5 people and those aged 55 to 74 years.

This suggests that lifestyle marketing and campaigns focused on social connection around food could gain more traction not just as a way of providing a necessity but also something enjoyable.

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