CHICAGO – US families are preparing meals with recipes more now than in recent years, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company. A recently released NPD recipe usage report titled “Recipes are Cooking!” finds the use of a recipe(s) once a week or more has increased from 37 percent of households in 2005 to 42 percent in 2011.

Two-thirds of all homemakers (67 percent) have used a recipe within the past month, and two in five (42 percent) use recipes even more often, according to the NPD report. Dinner is the dominant recipe-using occasion – on a typical evening, 11 million households used a recipe to cook dinner. Nearly 38 million US households have used a recipe while preparing dinner in the past week.

“Cost-conscious American families are eating meals at home more, which means household cooks are in greater need of meal ideas,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “Recipes provide the ideas for convenient and good tasting meals and enable households to stretch food dollars by providing new and creative ways to use ingredients already available at home.”

Growth in recipe usage is being driven primarily by young adults or Millennials – one-half of Millennials, nearly 30 million young adults, are now using recipes at least once a week. Forty-five percent of Generation Xers, or nearly 25 million adults, use recipes at least once a week. Traditional families that include children under the age of 18, are typically classified as frequent recipe users, or those households that use recipes at least once a week.

“As in-home meal consumption continues to grow, the home cooks’ need for new and interesting meal ideas is going to continue to grow as well,” Seifer says. “Food manufacturers can take advantage of the advanced planning involved in recipe dishes. If you can promote the right recipe in front of these cooks you are very likely to get on their shopping list.”