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December 4, 2018

Cooking? It’s about more than convenience

Neil Ellefsen // WTF FOOD

The home-cooked dinner remains the quintessential symbol for family bonding.  As most dinners require some preparation, new options like app-based grocery delivery and meal kits are vying to simplify the task for time-strapped and budget-conscious home cooks.


Conventional wisdom says convenience drives suppertime decisions for today’s American families. But new research reveals other factors are at play, from people’s confidence in their cooking skills to the expense and quality of meal kits compared to their own cooking, to the ease and control of shopping at grocery stores themselves.

More than half of home cooks think their dinner routines could improve. Yet consumers are reluctant to add these options to their dinner planning. Today, just one in 10 of these consumers is planning to use a meal kit in the next three months. So how can emerging alternatives play a bigger role with dinner?

In a recent syndicated study called “What’s for Dinner,” Ipsos interviewed people with the primary responsibilities for grocery shopping and home cooking to understand their habits and attitudes about making dinner. More than two-thirds of these people consider themselves competent in the kitchen, and another 14 percent say they are experts. They also think grocery shopping in stores is easier than online and prefer the enjoyment, control and choice they get at the local grocer. Their reasons for eschewing meal kits are different. Some find the kits too expensive and feel they can make better meals without them.

In exploring the functional and emotional needs of these cooks, Ipsos identified four types of home cooks that would get the most out of meal kits and grocery delivery. By understanding these segments, their ideal dinner experiences, emotional drivers and barriers to trial, providers can play a bigger role in helping home cooks make dinner a more enjoyable family time.


Neil Ellefsen is a vice president in Ipsos’ Innovation practice. He focuses on providing insights
to guide clients through market strategy and understanding, as well as innovation development.

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