While restaurants across the U.S. continue to open, more Americans are still cooking at home more now than they did before the pandemic began. Consumers reported cooking slightly less than half of their meals at home before the onset of COVID-19. This increased to 66 percent in April 20201 – which Cooking Light magazine referred to as “The year everyone learned to cook at home.” Consumers spent more money on groceries, tried new recipes, ate more fresh produce as a healthy choice and tried new value-added products.
Signaling good news for grocery stores – according to a new survey, 71 percent of consumers said they would continue to cook at home more after the pandemic ends. The study shows that this is driven by the increase in home cooks’ creativity and confidence, as well as the motivation that they can save money (67 percent), eat healthier (56 percent) and feel good (56 percent). Some shoppers are trying new ingredients (47 percent), brands and products (52 percent), while others are finding comfort in their tried-and-true favorites (24 percent ingredients, 16 percent brands and products).
“While many consumers became home chefs over the past year out of necessity, it has helped them realize the health and economic benefits of cooking at home – especially for foods like potatoes that are nutritious, affordable and versatile,” said Kathleen Triou, president and CEO of Fresh Solutions Network. “Potatoes continue to be America’s No.1 favorite vegetable for five years straight, and America’s favorite side dish. So, it’s no surprise that 84 percent of households purchase potatoes, and 74 percent state they ate potatoes weekly, only surpassed by bread. Our Side Delights potatoes are pretty popular, and we are so proud to be feeding America.”
With gatherings now permitted at varying levels, people are also eager to cook and dine with family and friends. The same study shows that home-cooking can help bring families together, with 45 percent of consumers who report eating together more as a family and 55 percent of households with children coming together at the family table. Side Delights offers a variety of potatoes and recipes perfect for parties of any size, such as Grilled Potato Dippers, Festive Papas Tapas or Crab-Filled Potato Bites.
“Now that families are finally able to reunite, they are gathering together in the kitchen, the dining room, and the backyard,” said Triou. “People are ready not only to share their new culinary skills with loved ones safely but to celebrate and continue with their lives.”