The renaissance of home cooking

Over 60% of global respondents say they are cooking at home more and 20% expect to continue to do so post-pandemic – especially younger age groups. Key benefits are that home-cooked food is perceived as healthier (58%) and cheaper (44%), but control matters, too: the ability to control nutritional content and food safety, as well as cost.

Quality is also important, with 62% saying that they pay more attention to the quality of what they eat and drink than pre-COVID-19. So too is food waste: nearly three-quarters of global respondents try to minimise this while cooking.

Competence and confidence in the kitchen are notably up, with more than 50% of global respondents saying that their cooking skills have improved since the pandemic. Three-quarters now rate their cooking skills as moderate or above – and nearly one in five say they are advanced. Lack of time and inspiration – and the need to clean up – act as the biggest barriers to home cooking for consumers.


Opportunity: Home-cooking helpers

Demand for convenience in-home is on the rise, leading to opportunities for packaged foods, especially tomatoes and vegetables, along with ready-made sauces and soups, packaged liquid broth, liquid creams and other such “home-cooking helpers”.

Globally, consumers use these kitchen helpers very frequently, with a skew towards younger age groups and males with lower cooking skills. The most used home-cooking helpers are dressings, vegetables, tomatoes and sauces, which are appreciated because they save time, they taste good, as well as adding versatility and “simplifying my life”. Sharing and togetherness are also significant emotional benefits, with “chance to control” playing its part too.

Most respondents purchase these products at the supermarket, mainly driven by price, availability and flavour variety, in this exact order. From a packaging point of view, storage, hygiene, functionality and product protection are the most relevant attributes.

We tested nine different home-cooking helper concepts on consumers, all of which registered good overall appeal. With sauces and soups performing best on relevance and purchase intent, meal kits and exotic ready meals scored highest for uniqueness. Generally, the key barriers to overcome include concerns around the healthiness, naturalness and freshness of packaged products, compared with unpackaged ingredients.

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