Poll quantifies at-home cooking habits

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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NEW YORK – Although four in five U.S. adults (79%) say they enjoy cooking, just three in 10 (30%) say they love it and almost half (49%) say they enjoy it when they have the time. One in five Americans say they either do not enjoy cooking (14%) or do not cook (7%). These are among the results of a recent online Harris Poll of 2,503 adults by Harris Interactive.

Thirty-three percent of Matures (people 65 and older) love cooking, compared to 28% of Baby Boomers (those 46-64), who are possibly being pulled in many directions. Men are more likely to say they love cooking (32% versus 28% of women), perhaps because the daily chore of cooking dinner may not fall on their shoulders.

Two in five (41%) Americans say they prepare meals at home five or more times a week and three in 10 (29%) do three to four times a week. One in five (19%) of U.S. adults prepare meals at home one to two times a week and 11% say they rarely or never prepare meals at home.

More than half of Matures (52%) cook at home five or more times per week, yet younger Americans do so with less frequency—just 33% of Echo Boomers (those aged 18-33) cook at home five or more times per week.

When cooking at home, just over one in five (22%) say they often cook only for themselves, while three-quarters (76%) often cook for their family and 22% often cook for friends.

Among people who prepare meals at home, four in five (81%) say they cook what they are familiar with very often. Three-quarters of those who prepare meals at home (75%) say they very often or occasionally will use pre-prepped and/or frozen ingredients and kitchen appliances such as microwaves and toaster ovens to both speed up the process and clean-up involved.

Twenty-two percent of those who prepare meals at home say they very often look for and use new written recipes to try new foods and techniques while almost half (46%) say they are likely to do so occasionally. One in five (20%) say they often gain inspiration from food-related articles, online postings and cooking shows, but do not follow their recipes exactly, while two in five (41%) say they occasionally do this.

Cooking at home has probably increased over the past year or so. Very few hate it, but considering the proliferation of cooking channels and cooking shows, one might expect more people to indicate they love to cook.

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the U.S. between May 10 and 17 among 2,503 adults (aged 18 and over). The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
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