As part of the Upsiide 2019 Food Trends study, we examined preparation methods. Our goal was to find out which preparation methods are popular in Canada and the United States, and how their popularity varies across genders and generations.
What did we find?
Consumers value convenience in cooking
“Cooking from scratch” is the winning preparation method in both Canada and the US: it is liked by 75% of Canadians and 71% of Americans. This trend is led by women and Gen Xers and Boomers, presumably because these are the groups that are doing the majority of cooking. However, “Cooking from scratch” is closely followed by “Foods and drinks that are easy to prepare”, “Foods and drinks that are fast to prepare”, and “Frozen fruits and vegetables”, indicating a desire to simplify cooking from scratch. This is consistent with previous research that found that the time spent in food preparation by US adults has declined over the past decades. Possible explanations suggested by research are that consumers are eating out more and relying more on ready-to-eat foods; and, when they do cook, they rely on packaged and convenience goods that shorten cooking time.
Prepared foods appeal more to Millennials
While the most popular preparation with Millennials is also “Cooking from scratch”, many of them find various forms of prepared foods appealing as well. “Preparing food from meal kits”, “No-preparation”, “Frozen meals”, “Prepared food from restaurants” and “Prepared food from the deli section of grocery stores”, are all more popular with Millennials than with Gen Xers and Boomers. Preparing food from meal kits is particularly popular with Millennials, especially American Millennials. “Preparing food from meal kits that are delivered to you” is more popular than “Preparing food from meal kits that you buy in the store”, emphasizing Millennials’ desire for convenience. Previous research has found that Millennials spend less time cooking than older generations, possibly because they also eat out more, and might have become accustomed to putting minimal effort into food preparation. Lack in time and in cooking experience have contributed to the popularity of food delivery among Millennials. Tapping into Millennials’ challenges with cooking, voice-controlled smart assistants are now offering such features as reading out recipe instructions and playing how-to cooking videos.
Zero-waste food preparation is trending with Millennials
Interestingly, Millennials were 7% more likely than Gen Xers and Boomers to choose “No waste”, i.e., using all parts and scraps when preparing food. Although Millennials have been blamed for contributing to food waste through their desire to explore the latest foodie trends, their preference for ethical food options and interest in a sustainable lifestyle may be driving this emerging trend. Although not specific to food waste, the zero waste lifestyle has been promoted by Millennial bloggers in recent years.
Interested in viewing the full results and analysis?