A new study to be released by Culinary Visions Panel this month takes an in-depth look at the dining habits, challenges, and interests of consumers on weeknights. The study reveals that consumers enjoy new experiences when dining at home with 84 percent of respondents stating they sometimes, usually or always like trying new dishes and flavors. The study looks at over 2,100 participants and explores their attitudes towards cooking at home with a focus on Sunday through Thursday dinners.

Most consumers (80 percent) are dining in at least four out of five nights during the week, and 92 percent of consumers state that they are cooking at home as much as or more often than they were the year before. Overall, cooking at home is an enjoyable activity for 64 percent of consumers who declare either, "I love to cook," or "cooking is my therapy." Americans are also adventurous when cooking at home, as nearly half (48 percent) of those surveyed always or usually like to try new dishes and flavors, and 36 percent like to try new flavors or dishes some of the time.

The study also highlights challenges consumers face when cooking at home. Thirty-eight percent of respondents state that cooking at home takes too long, while 36 percent of respondents say that if grocery shopping were easier, they would cook at home more often. Those surveyed cite frustration at having to shop at several stores to buy all the necessary ingredients for a recipe.

The study exposes a high interest in seeing meal kits at retail locations such as a local grocery store. Nearly eight out of 10 (79 percent) of those surveyed are interested in purchasing meal kits at a local grocery store. Broken down by age, 92 percent of respondents ages 39 and younger express an interest in purchasing meal kits at a retail operation, which is 25 percent more than those ages 40 and older. The greatest appeal of meal kits is the time users save.

Culinary Visions Panel executive director Sharon Olson says, "Innovative startup ventures like the emerging delivery meal kit programs are really enabling consumers to create their own fresh, upscale dining experience at home while saving time. Our research shows that consumers want these fresh, new experiences at home, but time, convenience, and cost are high priorities. These meal kits present a real opportunity for retail operations such as convenience stores, gourmet retailers, and grocery stores to offer a high-end, hassle-free product to consumers."

  • 73 percent of consumers state that the right cost would encourage an actual purchase of a meal kit at retail locations such as a local grocery store.
  • 26 percent of respondents say they would cook at home more often if a local retail store offered meal kits, compared to 14 percent if meal kits were delivered to the home.
  • 77 percent of consumers define cooking as "cooking from a recipe with raw ingredients," and 61 percent also consider "assembling ingredients that include a convenient item like a fully prepared sauce or seasoning mix" as cooking.

When asked to select all that apply on the appeal of meal kits at a retail store, 63 percent selected "saves me time," 60 percent selected "hassle-free," 35 percent selected "helps me cook like a chef," 32 percent selected "it's a great value," and 27 percent selected "there is no waste."

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