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US Cooking Enthusiasts market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Cooking Enthusiasts market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Definition

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

  • Cooking Enthusiasts are those who cook, say they either like or love cooking, have at least basic cooking skills, and typically cook because they want to rather than because they have to. 46% of American adults aged 18+ are Cooking Enthusiasts, which equates to roughly 115 million adults.
  • Conflicted Cooks are on the fence about their enthusiasm for cooking. While they do cook, like or love cooking, and have at least basic skills, they typically cook because they have to (not because they want to). Moreover, some Conflicted Cooks say they like or love to cook but don’t have any skills, while others dislike cooking but have advanced or very advanced skills. 19% of American adults aged 18+ are Conflicted Cooks, which equates to about 47 million adults.
  • Infrequent Cooks rarely cook. 12% of American adults aged 18+ are Infrequent Cooks, which equates to about 30 million adults.
  • Unenthusiastic Cooks cook occasionally or frequently but don’t mind or dislike it. 18% of American adults aged 18+ are Unenthusiastic Cooks, which equates to roughly 45 million adults.
  • Non-Cooks never cook. 6% of American adults aged 18+ never cook, which equates to roughly 15 million adults.

This Report builds on the analysis presented in Mintel’s Cooking Enthusiasts – US, November 2016, as well as the 2011-15 Reports of the same title.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Gina Cavato, a leading analyst in the Lifestyles & Leisure sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

In 2017, Cooking Enthusiasts account for 46% of adults aged 18+, or about 115 million people. These adults have at least basic cooking skills, like or love cooking, and cook because they want to rather than because they have to. Innovation and competition in grocery retailing, along with low food prices, have made cooking at home cost-effective. However, while saving money is a motivation for cooking, Cooking Enthusiasts are more likely to cook because they enjoy the process. They are also driven to cook because they like to try new recipes and see cooking as a way to spend time with their family. Gina Cavato
Associate Director - Lifestyles & Leisure

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

          • Figure 1: Share and approximate number* of cooking enthusiasts, 2014-2018
        • The issues
          • Unenthusiasm is on the rise
            • Figure 2: Share of cooking segments, 2016-2018
          • Meal kits can’t deliver
            • Cooking tech adoption low
              • Figure 3: Cooking tech usage, July 2018
            • The opportunities
              • Conflicted Cooks can be reached through their children
                • Figure 4: Parental status, by cooking segment, July 2018
              • Natural ingredients, sustainability more popular
                • Figure 5: Concerns about ingredients – nets, July 2018
              • Exotic tastes are becoming the norm
                • Figure 6: Consumption of international cuisines at restaurants by adult iGens, October 2017
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                  • The share of Cooking Enthusiasts remained stable from 2016-2018
                    • Unenthusiasm on the rise
                      • Enthusiasm transcends demographics
                        • Economic factors can drive further segmentation
                          • Grocery stores face a challenge
                            • Meal kits are popular, but delivery isn’t
                            • Cooking Segments

                              • Overview
                                  • Figure 7: Cooking segments, by specific cooking characteristics, July 2018
                                • Overview of Cooking Enthusiasts
                                  • Figure 8: Estimated share and number* of adults aged 18+, by cooking segment, July 2018
                                • Cooking Enthusiasts can be anybody
                                    • Figure 9: Cooking segments, by select demographics, July 2018
                                  • Share of Cooking Enthusiasts remains stable
                                    • Figure 10: Share and approximate number* of cooking enthusiasts, 2014-2018
                                  • Less conflict, but also less enthusiasm
                                    • Figure 11: Share of cooking segments, 2016-2018
                                  • Parents are the most conflicted
                                    • Figure 12: Presence of children under 18 in the household, by cooking segment, July 2018
                                • Market Factors

                                  • DPI remains high
                                    • Figure 13: Disposable personal income change from previous period, January 2007-June 2018
                                  • Dip in incomes means more home cooking
                                    • Figure 14: Median household income, in inflation-adjusted dollars, 2010-2016
                                  • Share of away-from-home food spending increasing
                                    • Figure 15: Share of food expenditures for food at home and food away from home, 2008-2018
                                  • Fewer households have children
                                    • Figure 16: Households, by presence of related children, 2006-16
                                • Market Perspective

                                  • Experience key to attracting shoppers, cooks
                                    • Figure 17: Attitudes toward store experiences, by generation, April 2018
                                • The Meal Kit Landscape

                                  • Meal kit delivery services face still competition
                                    • Grocery stores providing meal kits
                                      • Restaurants want in
                                      • Key Trends – What You Need to Know

                                        • Improving tech
                                          • Dollar stores expand grocery availability
                                            • Food waste is a concern
                                              • Palates and ingredients are expanding
                                                • 3-D printed food sparks inspiration
                                                • What’s Happening Now?

                                                  • Smart kitchen tech is getting smarter – and cheaper
                                                    • Amazon makes cooking hands-off
                                                      • Celebrity cookbooks
                                                        • Bowls bowling over the competition
                                                          • Figure 18: Interest in international flavors in menu items, 2018
                                                        • Dollar stores expanding their grocery offerings
                                                        • What’s Happening Next?

                                                          • The ugly path toward sustainability
                                                            • iGens have a global palate
                                                              • Figure 19: Consumption of international cuisines at restaurants by adult iGens, October 2017
                                                            • Future viruses could be less norovirus, more Mirai
                                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                              • Cooks chase goals and accomplishment
                                                                • Most cooks have an eye toward dietary concerns
                                                                  • Proximity is the biggest influencer
                                                                    • Cooks want to eat healthier
                                                                      • Purpose-built cooking tech lagging in adoption
                                                                      • Reasons for Cooking at Home

                                                                        • Motivation comes from within
                                                                          • Figure 20: Reasons for cooking at home – nets, July 2018
                                                                        • Accomplishment is a part of enthusiasm
                                                                          • Figure 21: Opinions of cooking at home, by cooking segment, any agree, July 2018
                                                                        • Vanity can spark enthusiasm
                                                                          • Figure 22: Opinions of presentation of cooked meals, by cooking segment, any agree, July 2018
                                                                        • Non-Whites access culture through cooking
                                                                          • Figure 23: Cultural identity through cooking, by race and Hispanic origin, July 2018
                                                                        • Half of Conflicted Cooks find cooking relaxing
                                                                          • Figure 24: Stress relief among cooks, by cooking segment, July 2018
                                                                      • Dietary Motivations

                                                                        • Most people have dietary concerns
                                                                          • Figure 25: Special concerns when considering dishes, July 2018
                                                                        • Cooking Enthusiasts are the most diet-conscious
                                                                          • Figure 26: Health concerns when cooking, by segment, July 2018
                                                                        • Younger cooks have organic concerns, but locality appeals to all
                                                                          • Figure 27: Source concerns when cooking, by age group, July 2018
                                                                      • Cooking Influences

                                                                        • Personal relationships are most important influence
                                                                          • Figure 28: Sources of cooking inspiration, all cooks, July 2018
                                                                        • Cooking influences are passed down
                                                                          • Figure 29: Parental influence on adult cooks, by age group, July 2018
                                                                          • Figure 30: Parental influence on under-35s, by gender and age category, July 2018
                                                                        • Online sources popular among younger adults
                                                                          • Figure 31: Influence of online sources, net any online source, by age, July 2018
                                                                        • Cooking Enthusiasts have a range of influences
                                                                          • Figure 32: Cooking influences, by segment, July 2018
                                                                      • Concerns About Ingredients

                                                                        • Quality is the most important
                                                                          • Figure 33: Concerns about ingredients, July 2018
                                                                        • Push for natural ingredients is universal
                                                                          • Figure 34: Desire for whole/natural ingredients, by cooking segment, any agree, July 2018
                                                                        • Parents are confident in what to feed their kids
                                                                          • Figure 35: Confidence in food choices for kids, by cooking segment, July 2018
                                                                        • Getting by on your own supply
                                                                          • Figure 36: Rates of artisanry, those concerned about ingredients vs all cooks, July 2018
                                                                        • Conflicted Cooks are interested in artisanry
                                                                          • Figure 37: Interest in home artisanry, by cooking segment, July 2018
                                                                        • Conflicted parents interested in supplying staples
                                                                          • Figure 38: Artisanry practice and interest among Conflicted Cooks, July 2018
                                                                      • Cooking Tech

                                                                        • Technology is more of an aid than a tool
                                                                          • Figure 39: Cooking tech usage, July 2018
                                                                          • Figure 40: Cooking tech usage – none of the above, by cooking segment, July 2018
                                                                        • Conflicted Cooks are clear about their tech use
                                                                          • Figure 41: Technology use while cooking, by segment, July 2018
                                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                        • Data sources
                                                                          • Consumer survey data
                                                                            • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                                              • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                  • Figure 42: Cooking segments, by select demographics, July 2018