Helping Consumers Cook Well to Eat Well
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
During the ongoing pandemic, home cooking has become a necessity for consumers and while many of them are enjoying their time in the kitchen, others are growing weary. How can retailers continue to best support the cooking needs of their customers? The Hartman Group and FMI recently conducted a survey looking at Home Cooking in America 2020 to assist retailers with this mission. Here are the key insights and opportunities:
- Forty percent of those surveyed are cooking more of their meals at home, but as the pandemic era progresses those experiencing cooking fatigue are looking for more time-saving options and new ideas.
- Consumers view home meals as a way to maintain their budget and consume healthier foods. However, barriers such of a lack of time and skills, and a need for convenience drive many customers to look for ways to outsource food prep.
- COVID has increased the focus on healthier eating for all age groups. Boomers and older adults in particular, with younger groups (Gen Z and Millennials), also looking for foods that are affordable and bring pleasure.
- All consumers are more aware of food waste and are attempting to implement tactics to avoid throwing it away.
With these findings in mind, it is the perfect time to make sure you are providing home cooks with inspiration, culinary skills and resources to plan and prepare quick and healthy meals. Consider these opportunities:
- Create healthier quick assembly meals with products from your deli, produce and prepared foods departments. For example: Rotisserie Chicken + Green Salad + Cut Melon + Whole Grain Rolls. These ideas will be perfect for the majority of shoppers that often plan dinner only a few hours in advance. Promote “Mealtime Made Easy” on your social channels to drive sales.
- Help shoppers have quick meals on hand by creating a kitchen stocking list highlighting those foods that offer health, convenience and new flavors. Pre-cut produce, frozen veggies and entrees, pre-portioned meat cuts, canned beans and tomatoes, instant grain mixes and more.
- Transform a meat bunker case into a meal solution station by providing an easy recipe with all the ingredients in one location. Promote via social and store intercom.
- Develop a series of weekly recipe videos showing shoppers how to cook once and eat twice with healthy, seasonal products and convenient ingredients.
- Provide advice for reducing food waste at home including menu planning, leftover use and simple ways to use distressed produce.
- Promote the use and sale of small appliances such as air fryers, Instant Pots and slow cookers that can be true time-savers. Provide some cooking 101 classes online showing how to use the appliances.
- Use the Family Meals Movement™ messaging in September and year-round to reinforce the many health benefits of enjoying meals together as you encourage more home cooking.
For the complete Home Cooking in America 2020 report and methodology click here.