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How Meal Kits and Online Shopping Are Revitalizing Home Cooking

Package Facts study finds Americans are eating at home again
Photograph courtesy of Hello Fresh

Newer options in grocery have had a huge effect on cooking at home. Packaged Facts reports in a new study that more than half of U.S. adults greatly enjoy cooking (53%), while 35% of them consider the kitchen to be the most important room in the home. The data comes from the new report Eating Trends: Cooking & Food Shopping. The Rockville, Md.-based research firm also found that these percentages are up as compared to a decade ago.  

Packaged Facts found that most people who typically don't cook at home either report a lack of time for grocery shopping and preparing meals or they lack the know-how to cook what they want to eat at home. The researcher also found that a perceived inability to cook is most prevalent among Generation Z adults (ages 18-24) and to a lesser extent millennials (ages 25-39). In turn, the meal-kit industry is one segment making it easier for adults to start cooking more at home

The study also cited a couple of factors that have helped create a bigger market for ready-made meals and meal kits that come with simple directions. One major driver, according to Packaged Facts, is a growing share of relatively high-income consumers are willing to pay for convenience as an alternative to grocery shopping and preparing meals themselves. Also, consumers who live alone or in small households are another part of the segment. Moreover, younger generations such as millennials and Generation Z  are known for their aversion to food waste, and meal kits and related products are perceived as one way to mitigate that.

Since meal kits first became a popular feature in grocery stores across the nation a few years ago, the meal-kit segment has had its share of growing pains. But meal kits have continued to be a popular offering as grocery retailers and delivery firms expand variety and styles of cooking. 

Online grocery services provided by bigger concerns such as Amazon Prime Pantry, AmazonFresh, Instacart and Peapod also boast the advantage of saving time for shoppers. Since 2013, online sales of groceries have more than tripled from $6 billion to $20 billion in 2018, at a compound growth rate of 26% per year. Through 2023, Packaged Facts has forecast online grocery sales to rise 34% annually, more than quadrupling from the levels in 2018, while becoming 7% of the total grocery market.

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