Consumers Enjoying Sit-down Dinners at Home More Often: Report

Hectic schedules and tighter budgets have changed the way consumers cook, shop and dine, according to an audience trend report from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (MSLO).

“These findings underscore a real change in consumer behavior as the family meal enjoys a resurgence. People are hungry for delicious, healthy meals that can be shared with loved ones around the kitchen table,” said Lucinda Scala Quinn, executive editorial director of food at New York-based MSLO and host of the forthcoming cooking show “Mad Hungry with Lucinda Scala Quinn,” premiering on the Hallmark Channel in September.

Key findings of the study, which involved 1,000 respondents over age 18, include the following:

More families sitting down for meals at home: 65 percent of those surveyed enjoy a sit-down dinner at least five times per week. More than half the respondents sit down for breakfast at least five times per week.

Magazines, Web sites and TV cooking shows as primary sources of culinary inspiration: When it comes to recipes, media are more influential than word-of-mouth recommendations. Respondents cited cookbooks, recipe Web sites, food-focused magazines and TV cooking shows as their resources for recipes, ahead of suggestions from friends and family. People are actively seeking mealtime ideas. More than one-third of respondents said they use recipes for inspiration more often than they used to, and over 60 percent of respondents said health and efficiency are the most important factors when considering a recipe.

Time-starved families sharing more mealtime responsibilities: Busy schedules have prompted families to divvy up everyday cooking responsibilities: 25 percent of women said cooking is shared among family members and that husbands are increasingly tying on the apron.

Prep time is changing, too — 48 percent of those surveyed cook in larger batches to save time.

Consumers are savvier about products they buy: Finding deals has become a source of satisfaction, and even a passion — 81 percent of those surveyed said they’re proud of budgeting.

Although supermarkets are the leading source for groceries, 55 percent said they shop at multiple retailers to get better deals. Consumers are purchasing healthier products at the grocery store: 95 percent said they know what’s healthy for them, while 87 percent said they read food labels.

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