Moms not making reservations for dinner

Articles
April 23, 2009

Moms not making reservations for dinner

Please, no more dated jokes about moms making reservations for dinner. These days, there’s little basis of truth in that punch line. Fierce protectors of their household budgets in the recession, plenty of moms are seeing to it that dinner is prepared at home. Women may not be the cooks, especially if they’re the breadwinners. But their laid-off or retired husbands might be dusting off culinary skills from bachelorhood, and having some fun with the domestic role. Why not? It saves money, relieves stress, and shares responsibility. So it’s not surprising that findings of a SupermarketGuru.com Quick Poll show how households have absolutely clamped down on eating out or bringing in. When asked “how many times per week do you eat away from home (breakfast, lunch or dinner)”—that’s 21 possible meals—24% said ‘none’ and 44% said ‘one to two.’ That’s more than two-thirds of adult respondents who said they eat less than 10% of meals outside of their own homes.

Please, no more dated jokes about moms making reservations for dinner.

These days, there’s little basis of truth in that punch line.

Fierce protectors of their household budgets in the recession, plenty of moms are seeing to it that dinner is prepared at home. Women may not be the cooks, especially if they’re the breadwinners. But their laid-off or retired husbands might be dusting off culinary skills from bachelorhood, and having some fun with the domestic role.

Why not? It saves money, relieves stress, and shares responsibility.

So it’s not surprising that findings of a SupermarketGuru.com Quick Poll show how households have absolutely clamped down on eating out or bringing in. When asked “how many times per week do you eat away from home (breakfast, lunch or dinner)”—that’s 21 possible meals—24% said ‘none’ and 44% said ‘one to two.’ That’s more than two-thirds of adult respondents who said they eat less than 10% of meals outside of their own homes.

Take out is less expensive than eating out, but consumers have iced that practice too. When asked, “how many times do you order take out or delivery in a week,” more than half (55%) said ‘none.’ Another 38% said ‘one to two.’ That’s more than 9 out of 10 who bring in rarely, and presumably are discovering new appreciations of home cooking.

The reasons for this might be part nostalgia, part knowing what you put into your own foods, and large part economic survival.  Six out of 10 (59%) said they’re eating more meals at home, and eight out of 10 (78%) said they cook/prepare six or more meals per week for themselves and their families, in the SupermarketGuru.com Quick Poll.

These figures jive with results of a Better Homes and Gardens survey called The Food Factor: How America Cooks, Eats and Shops. Motivated by economic anxiety, 83% of women are trying to save money by regularly preparing meals at home, and 77% said the cost of food affects the meals they choose to cook.

Food stores need to act on these trends quickly. They present a unique opportunity to bond shoppers to their stores and restore market share from other channels, in our opinion. Many chains have been offering $10 meal suggestions on their websites for months already. But retailers can do more to cement relationships with shoppers through meal assembly, cooking classes, store tours skewed toward nutrition and savings, and other empowering offers.