Key Trends, Food Prep
Five current trends related to food preparation and food gadgets in the United States are: 1) an increasing number of Americans who are preparing their own food at home, 2) an increasing interest in preparing new recipes, 3) households that are food insecure owning less preparation gadgets, 4) food processors, cast-iron pans, slow cookers, cutting boards, nonstick pans, coffee makers, microwaves, meat thermometers, teapots and grills are the most purchased food prep gadgets, and 5) consumers are purchasing an average of 8-12 food prep gadgets per year.
trend 1: an increasing number of Americans are preparing food at home
- Overview: In the later part of the 20th century, the rate at which Americans were preparing food at home was declining. However, in more recent years, this trend is now on the incline.
- Research: According to the Nutrition Journal, in the 21st century, preparing food at home has increased by as much as 20%.
- Demographics: Americans between the ages of 18 and 65, college educated men and women, all races of men, and non-Hispanic white women.
trend 2: an increasing interest in preparing new recipes
trend 3: food insecure households own less food preparation gadgets which may have negative impact on their food security
- Overview: Food insecure households own a fewer number of food preparation items, however the rate at which food preparation items are used is the same between food secure and food insecure households. The availability of kitchen equipment in a home may impact the food security of that home, as it may impact cooking behavior.
- Research: The Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics reported that food insecure households own five fewer food prep items compared to food secure homes. This was found to be true across all categories of food equipment (large appliances, small appliances, food preparation utensils, and cooking utensils).
- Demographics: American parents with children between the ages of 11 and 14 that are living in food insecure households.
trend 4: Food processors, cast-iron pans, slow cookers, cutting boards, nonstick pans, coffee makers, microwaves, meat thermometers, teapots and grills are the most purchased food prep gadgets
- Overview: The kitchen gadgets that are most widely purchased among U.S. consumers are microwaves, cutting boards, and coffee makers.
- Research: A survey of 1,000 people in the U.S. conducted by Sous Vide Guy found that the following gadgets are most commonly purchased: food processors (45.8%), cast-iron pans (49.1%), slow cookers (63.5%), cutting boards (68.6%), nonstick pans (64.6%), coffee makers (65.3%), microwaves (79.4%), meat thermometers (46.2%), teapots (42.7%) and grills (56.1%). In terms of the average among spent o these gadgets, the most expensive gadgets being purchased are grills ($251), microwaves ($149), food processors ($83), coffee makers ($56), and slow cookers ($47). In terms of the gadgets that are used most often, the survey showed that microwaves are the most used (93.2% of the time), followed by cutting boards (87.6%), and nonstick pans (84.1%).
- Demographics: Americans.
trend 5: consumers purchase an average of 8-12 kitchen tools and gadgets per year
- Overview: Survey results show that the number of kitchen tools/gadgets that consumers purchase seems to remain fairly constant over the years.
- Research: An annual survey of U.S. consumers asked respondents to state how many kitchen tools and gadgets they had purchased within the past three months; each year respondents have routinely given an average answer between two and three gadgets (in other words, 8-12 per year). Additionally, the majority of kitchen gadget purchases are planned (63.2%) compared to impulse buys. This trend has also remained fairly stable over the years. When purchasing the gadget, consumers say they usually make a decision about the specific brand and item they are going to buy while they are at the store looking at the available items (64%) rather than making this decision before heading to the store. However, this trend has been decreasing somewhat over the years.
- Demographics: Primary grocery shoppers in U.S. households.
To conduct this research, we analyzed a series of consumer surveys, academic studies, and market reports that discuss current and evolving food preparation and gadget trends among the U.S. consumer base. While there was a lot of useful information available on this topic in general, one aspect of the request that we were unable to locate data for was in regard to the location demographics concerning which people are being affected by the trends (i.e. urban, suburban, rural). In attempting to do so, the following three research approaches were tried:
1) We attempted to look for resources that reported trends specific to food preparation in cities/apartments/urban areas and country cooking (rural), however, we were unable to locate any sufficient insights that were related to food preparation or gadgets specifically. We also analyzed the sample size demographics of general surveys to note any breakdown of urban, suburban, rural respondents, however, none of the surveys we located provided this type of breakdown.
2) We attempted to look for resources that reported trends specific to food preparation in specific cities, states, and regions (e.g. southern cooking) of the U.S., however, while there were some food related trends to this effect, we found that these trends were not related to the actual process of food preparation and gadgets being used, but instead were more on the use of certain ingredients and flavor preferences.
3) Lastly, we attempted to look for resources that reported on trends specific to food preparation connected to certain styles of cooking that could be connected to a geographical region, such as creole style food preparation or seafood preparation (coastal regions), etc. However, once again, while we were able to identify some food related trends to this effect, we did not find sufficient information that discussed trends revolving around the actual process of preparing food, but rather, the trends were focused on dining.
Despite this lack of geo-specific insights, we were able to find a number of solid food preparation trends that are specific to the U.S. demographic as a whole, as well as some more targeted types of trends relative to specific sub-demographics of Americans. Therefore, we opted to focus on providing these trends, as we found they were significantly more relevant to actual food preparation trends rather than eating and dining.