Most consumers feel confident in the kitchen: NGA study

February 18, 2011

Home cooking is on the rise. Easy-to-prepare meal solutions will provide growth path for retail and CPG.

Frugal shopping and eating habits continue on the rise. That may help out household budgets, but does it satisfy at the dinner table? That largely depends on the home-cooking skills of consumers – a new area explored bythe 2011National Grocers Association-SupermarketGuru Consumer Panel Report.

Fortunately for supermarkets, more than two-thirds of adults say they feel ‘confident in the kitchen’ (69%), and more than half ‘like to experiment, create own recipes’ (55%).  Also, nearly half (47%) describe themselves as ‘enthusiastic.’ (These totals exceed 100% because multiple responses were allowed for this question.)

While it’s true that 41% say they are ‘novice, tentative, follow simple recipes,’ retailers and consumer packaged goods suppliers are bringing them along with helpful websites and easy-to-prepare meal solutions.  All of this points to an America that can ‘get cooking’ with the right motivation and opportunities.

Indeed, a majority (51%) says ‘yes’ when asked if they’ve been cooking at home more the past two years; another 40% say ‘about the same.’ It is primarily lower- and middle-income consumers who say ‘yes.’  For those who say yes, nearly two-thirds of adults (63%) feel the experience has improved their cooking skills. This skill helps stretch the budget and could also lead to more supermarket visits.

An opportunity for supermarkets and CPG suppliers:  three-quarters of respondents (75%) are motivated to become better home cooks. The Lempert Report believes they say this because they want to consistently satisfy household members and control more of the ingredients they actually eat.  This is largely true of households with two, three or four people under one roof (75%).

Meanwhile, the survey shows that:

  • 92% of consumers eat home-cooked meals at home in 2011 three or more times a week, up from 89% in 2010 and 2009, and 87% in 2008.
  • 78% whip leftovers into new meals once or more per week (56%, ‘one or two times a week’; 22%, ‘three or more times a week’)   This is one point higher than 2010’s 77% and four points above 2008’s 74%. 
  • 83% eat takeout or home-delivered meals three times or less per month, about the same as a year ago (84%).