Cooking at home is still the preferred way to prepare meals, according to a new survey by ReportLinker, New York.
While 98% of Americans prefer to cook at home, 50% say they cook between 3-6 days a week, the report says. Retirees and those who are at home all day are more likely than full-time employees to cook each day.
Likewise, 31% of Americans say the lower cost motivates them to cook at home, while 22% say their desire for healthy fare drives them into the kitchen. One in five Americans say they prefer cooking at home because it gives them better control over what they eat.
With the popularity of television cooking shows, recipe websites and celebrity chefs, it is somewhat surprising that more Americans don’t cite a passion for cooking as one of their Top 3 reasons for preparing meals at home. Only 13.7% of Americans said their love of cooking was the primary reason they spent time in the kitchen.
In addition, 28% of all Americans say they prefer to use their own recipes, rather than turn to cooking blogs and websites for inspiration. One in five respondents say whatever foods are in their refrigerator or pantry is mostly likely to determine what they cook for dinner that night.
For busy families, time presents a significant obstacle to putting a healthy meal on the table. Long commutes and the demands of family activities make carving time for a home-cooked meal challenging. Still, more than half of Americans say they’re able to find between 31-60 minutes each time to prepare a meal, according to the survey. Of these, 26% say it’s worth the time to be able to serve a healthy meal, and 12% do it because they believe it’s the best way to gather the family together.
The survey also reveals that the more passionate respondents are about cooking – or the more frequently Americans cook – the more likely they are to spend more time in the kitchen. For example, 48% of passionate cooks say they’ll spend more than an hour preparing a meal, as do 30% of those who cook every day.
Although cooking is still very common among Americans – particularly retirees, passionate cooks and older generations – one group is more reluctant to turn on the stove—Millennials. This generation, which ranges in age from 19-35 years old, maintain less cooking experience than older generations, making them less comfortable in the kitchen.
Nearly one in four Millennials say they cook just 1-2 times a week or not at all. That’s far less than older generations, ReportLinker says. And, because they cook less, Millennials are more likely to describe themselves as beginners. Almost a third consider themselves newbies, while about the same percentage of older generations call themselves experts in the kitchen.
In general, beginners tend to spend less time preparing meals, and when they do, it’s usually to prepare something simple. In fact, 13% say they spend less than 15 minutes cooking, and 25% say they often cook the same thing, according to the survey.
Still, although Millennials are often beginners, they do seek opportunities to learn how to cook new dishes. For example, a third say they turn to cooking blogs and websites for inspiration. But, one of the more interesting avenues they’re exploring are meal-kit delivery services. That’s because convenience is a key selling point. Buyers don’t need to shop for dozens of ingredients each week. Another, equally important reason is health, as these services promise organic, healthy ingredients. In the ReportLinker survey, 15% of Millennials said they had used one of these services in the last year, compared to just 10% of all Americans, and 70% of subscribers say meal kits have helped them improve their culinary skills. Eighty percent of those who have never used these services say they have no interest in trying them.
This survey reached 502 online respondents representative of the U.S. population. Interviews were conducted between Nov. 11-Nov. 15.