Feel Guilty About Not Cooking for Your Family? You’re Not Alone

January 28, 2015

Get the first look at the results from a SupermarketGuru Quick Poll all about preparing food at home, the reasons for doing so, and the reasons for not.

Life today is hectic for many of us, and although interest in all things food is high, many consumers still find other ways beyond cooking and preparing food themselves, to feed their household. In an exclusive SupermarketGuru.com Quick Poll, The Lempert Report explored the issue further - to better understand the avenues consumers use to source and provide meals, and assess their comfort level with different options.

Nearly four in 10 survey respondents (37%) cook or prepare meals for their household six or more times a week.  Another 27% do so four to five times per week, and 28% prep meals one to three times per week.

An overwhelming 85% of consumers say they feel better about the food they prepare at home versus food sourced elsewhere. Their reasons in descending order: They know what’s in it, it saves money vs. restaurant or takeout, it can be prepared to the family’s specific tastes, and It expresses love. These findings reveal a major opportunity for supermarkets to excel in prepared-foods labeling  – list all ingredients, even the oil used to cook the item. This transparency can give consumers more confidence in the supermarket as a go-to ready-to-eat meal source. Even more revealing: recipe cards for select prepared foods that show the precise amount of each ingredient.

While most respondents do prefer to cook meals at home, it’s not always possible. The alternative sources they turn to, in descending order, are: restaurants (58%), prepared foods from the supermarket or other retailer (50%), fast food (32%), and delivery (24%).

When meals come from outside the home, 37% of survey takers say they feel guilty. Yet they cite plenty of reasons for not cooking or preparing meals:

Lack time 57%
Costs 17%
I want my family happy with what we eat 16%
No interest in cooking 16%
Lack experience cooking and preparing food 16%
Not a good cook 14%
I don't want to waste food if people don't like it 12%
Not familiar with many ingredients that make meals tasty 11%
Special dietary needs in my household 10%
Can’t find recipes I like 5%

It’s important to note that 15% says there’s nothing that interferes with cooking or preparing food at home.

By understanding the reasons, supermarkets could develop education and marketing incentives that encourage more home cooking, and more trips to the store - perhaps demos, sale promos, and nutrition classes.