Home cooks are increasingly looking for convenience, but also new flavors and interesting recipes.
It’s no secret that consumers have been cooking at home more than ever over the past three years, and high inflationary prices seem to be contributing to the longevity of the trend. The Kitchn has pulled back the curtain on the needs and wants of today’s home cooks with its recent "The State of Home Cooking" 2023 study, which found an undeniable emphasis on budget, health and convenience.
When it comes to spending at the grocery store, 56% of respondents wait until an item goes on sale and 55% seek out a less expensive brand, while 51% said they aren’t particularly strict with their grocery shopping budget. Indeed, most shoppers are still willing to splurge on higher-priced items that align with their diets, especially meat and produce.
Making decisions about how to spend at the grocery store is another story, with 72% of home cooks choosing which supermarket they go to based on selection and in-stock items, and 61% basing their decision on low prices. A majority of respondents, at 61%, are concerned about food waste this year, with many choosing to be more careful about using up groceries to avoid waste.
Healthy eating is more important than it was last year for 55% of home cooks, and a whopping 69% deem themselves “health conscious.” Weight management is a goal for 80% of respondents, 71% prioritize preventative health and 14% are aiming to improve digestive and gut health. The definition of healthy eating varies by shopper, with 68% saying it means whole ingredients, 48% believing it means low or no sugar, and 47% citing vitamins or supplements.
Convenience also remains a high priority for nearly all home cooks, with the top factors for choosing which recipes they make being how long it will take to cook, whether they have the ingredients on hand, and how difficult it seems to cook, respectively. About 49% of home cooks reported using an air fryer more this year as they seek out easy and convenient cooking options, while a steamer is expected to be the kitchen tool most likely to surge in 2023.
Additionally, and unsurprisingly, social media plays a big role in which recipes home cooks choose to add to their rosters. The primary avenue for those who deem themselves as “curious” is social media like TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest, and 81% say they cook recipes that they discover on social media. Nearly all of those surveyed also add these discovered recipes to their regular meal rotations.
A panel of cooking experts weighed in on upcoming food trends, with many expecting home cooks to seek out pleasure, abundance and flavor discovery. In the freezer aisle, gourmet restaurant pizza, soup dumplings and shumai, and other items that help cooks bring restaurant-quality food to the table will be in high demand.
Whole foods and plant-based eating trends will continue to dominate this year, the experts believe, as will the convenience of online grocery shopping. Yuzu, pistachio, chili crisp and black vinegar are poised to be the most popular ingredients in 2023.