Did you know that every fifth American is too lazy to cook? Or that 53.85% of retirees use social networks to find cooking inspiration? Well, neither did we! Cooking habits say a lot about people, from students and millennials to workers and retirees – what each generation actually does when it comes to balancing the home cooking and ordering take-out food (known as a food-in-a-bag)? Americans are often criticized about their eating habits but when it comes to their cooking, let’s just say that only the retirees are the experts. It is important to start, right?
This past year has certainly affected our lives. With a still-going pandemic, we wanted to see if there was any positive impact on the Americans’ cooking habits. The KitchenToast provides a survey with all the right burning questions about cooking. What did our respondents say – how did the pandemic change their daily cooking routine, are they willing to experiment with recipes, and how many of them don’t cook at all?
Survey Research Focus Areas
How do cooking habits look in The United States of America?
How did COVID-19 affect the cooking habits around the USA?
Is the term “healthy eating” a key component of their diet?
How often do Americans consume ready-to-eat meals?
How much money they spend on ingredients and cooking?
Key Survey Findings
- 3 out of 5 Americans cook at least 3 days a week – View
- 80.36% of millennials cook 3 or more days a week – View
- 53.85% of retirees cook every day in a week – View
- 30% of Americans said they cook at home because it is cheaper – View
- 35.14% of employed people cook at home because it is budget-friendly – View
- 63.83% of people who cook at least 3 times a week, prepare some new recipe every other week – View
- 58% of Americans started to cook more during the pandemic – View
- over 45% of Americans consume enough fruit, vegetables, and meat on a daily basis – View
- 50% of men eat enough fruit on a daily basis – View
- 61.54% of women eat enough vegetables on a daily basis – View
- 50% of millennials consume enough meat on the weekly basis – View
Take-Out Food & Meal-Kit Delivery
- 55% of Americans order take-out food once or twice a week, while 12% of them never do it – View
- 73.21% of full-time employed people order take-out up to twice a week – View
- almost every third person doesn’t have time to cook, while every fifth person is too lazy for it – View
- 26.79% of millennials order take-out food because they don’t feel like cooking – View
- 30.36% of full-time employed people use the meal-kit delivery services all the time – View
- 46.15% of retirees never tried the meal-kit delivery – View
53.85% Of Reetires Cook Every Day
It was very surprising (positive, of course) to find out that 3 out of 5 Americans cook at home at least 3 days a week. This survey showed that women (57.69%) are a bit more prone to home cooking than men (35.42%), while 80.36% of millennials cook at least 3 times a week. Home cooking is great when it comes to your health so 53.85% of retirees cook every day in a week. The percentage of people who never cook is quite low (10%).
If we look at the average number of cooking per week, we can see that 31% of our respondents cook every day (women 30.70% and men 31.25%), while 47% of them cook 3 to 5 days per week, which is quite pleasing to see. The percentage of people who cook up to 2 days per week is low (12%) but it is surprising to see the big difference between men and women – 3.85% of women and 20.83% of men cook 1 to 2 days per week. It is good to see that most people have that habit of home cooking, but let’s be honest, we were surprised with a high percentage of millennials who cook at least 3 days a week. All in all, we are pleased to see that most people, both younger and older, have cooking habits!
- 3 of 5 Americans admit that they cook at home at least 3 days a week
- 57.69% of women claim they cook from 3 to 5 days per week, compared with 35.42% of men
- 30.77% of students admit not cooking at all, while 53.85% of retirees cook every day
- 80.36% of millennials cook 3 or more days a week
- the average usage came in at: never 10%, 1 to 2 days per week 12%, 3 to 5 days per week 47%, every day 31%
Home Cooking – Cheaper & Healthier For 53% Of Americans
The money-based reason is a basic component of home cooking for almost 30% of our respondents, while only 23% of them cook at home because it is healthier. It is a bit shocking to learn that such a small percentage of people actually see all the healthy advantages of home cooking. But we can’t be too surprised by that since we live in an age where life goes too fast if you’re not present in all spheres of lifestyle and ready-to-eat meals. While 35.14% employed people cook at home because it is, as it is already said, cheaper, the retirees (38.46%) find cooking as their passion.
When home cooking, it is a lot easier to control what you consume and eat but only 17% of our respondents find that reason as the key of their cooking. It was a bit surprising to see that only 14.58% of men cook because it is their habit, while the low percentage of women (5.77%) feel the same. Home cooking surely has a positive impact on the body, as well as on the mindset, but only a low percentage of our respondents have that habit which is quite shocking.
- 30% of American said they cook at home because it is cheaper, while 23% of them find the home cooking healthier
- 31.25% of people that are 54 years or older consider cooking a passion
- 35.14% of employed people cook because it is budget-friendly
- retirees said that cooking is their passion (38.46%) and a good way to care of their health (23.08%)
54% Of Americans Cook Up To 1 Hour
It’s all fun and games until you spend too many hours on cooking, right? When you have a family or you live with your partner, the cooking lasts a bit longer. Our survey showed that Americans who cook for 5 or more persons (47.06%), spend more than 1 hour in their kitchen – cooking. People who live alone spend at least 31 minutes preparing a meal (3 in 4 Americans), while the ones who cook 1 or 2 days a week (70% of our respondents!) spend approximately 15 to 30 minutes cooking.
We are not that surprised with the results, It’s actually, we can say, common sense, that the number of people you cook for determines the time you spent cooking. It is interesting that a high number of people between 45-54 years cook up to 1 hour. We’re wondering is it because of their habit, cooking passion, or just a cheaper and healthier lifestyle – so much to know and ask, curiosity is certainly our weakness and strength at the same time. To conclude this little chapter, we can see that the average cooking time is actually quite standard and reasonable.
- 3 in 4 Americans spend more than 31 minutes cooking
- 66.67% of 45-54 years old cook from 31 minutes to 1 hour
- 58.33% of people who cooks only for themselves spend from 31 minutes to 1 hour
- 47.06% of who cooks for 5 or more persons spend more than 1 hour
- 70% of those who cook 1 to 2 days per week spend from 15 minutes to 30 minutes cooking
52% Of Cooking Experimenting Once A Month
There are so many recipes out there that it is hard to try all of them. But what about experimenting? We are actually quite pleased to see that 52% of our respondents said that they experiment with different recipes at least once a month! It wasn’t that surprising to see that students are a bit more prone to the cooking expeditions so 30.77% of them prepare something new more than twice a week. It is pleasing to know that people who cook at least 3 times a week, try new recipes every other week.
New cuisines, tastes, and shades truly open new sights and pleasures, so it is great to see that both women (17.31%) and men (25%) are open to experimenting once or twice a week. We also got low numbers of people who always cook the same dishes – 7.69% of women and 6.25% of men. Of course, we understand that sometimes it is too overwhelming to find new recipes but hey, cooking is a new and alternative way to meet different countries and their cooking cultures.
- 52% of people experiment with different and new recipes at least once a month
- students are more open to new recipes – 30.77% of them try something new more than twice a week
- 15.38% of women try new recipes more than twice a week, while 25% of men do it less than that
- 63.83% of people who cook at least 3 times a week, prepare something new every other week
- 62.71% of Americans who prepare meals for 2-4 members of their household, try recipes at least once a week
54% Of People Look For Inspiration – Online
It wasn’t shocking to find out that 54% of our respondents find cooking inspiration in the most simple way – online. Apps, blogs, social networks, Youtube, and other online sources are great for recipes and tutorials, especially if you want to try to prepare something new. 18% of people said that they go by their family recipes, while only 4% of them watch culinary shows. Also, we weren’t surprised to find out that only 10% of people read cooking magazines or books. It is great to see that 53.85% of retirees use social networks to find recipes.
Let’s be honest, our phone provides us with every piece of information we need, for the rest – we go grocery shopping. The books and magazines are slowly but surely go out-of-style because they have web pages and e-versions. Phone eases up the cooking process but not just that – you can ask someone a question if you stuck in the process or have doubts, as well as find thousands and thousands of new recipes and cuisines from all over the world. So yeah, we’re not surprised to see that a high number of our respondents find their cooking inspiration through several online sources. But it is great to see that retirees find the advantages of social networks.
- 54% of respondents find their cooking inspiration online through web pages, blogs, social networks, youtube, and apps
- 29.41% of people who cook for more than 5 members of their family or household usually use family recipes
- 14% of Americans cook depending on the ingredients they already have
- 23.08% of students use social networks, while 21.62% of employed people use blogs and web pages
- 53.85% of retirees use social networks for inspiration
- people who prepare meals just for themself cook with Youtube (20.83%)
58% More Cooking During The Pandemic
The Covid-19 certainly chained everybody to their home but it made some positive impact on their cooking habits. 58% of Americans have started to cook more. 46.67% of people who started to work from home, found that home cooking is cheaper and that they can save money during this pandemic. All our targeted groups, employed people, students, and retirees, used Covid-19 as the main reason to start cooking more!
But let’s talk numbers! A third of workers said that they used the pandemic to cook more, while 38.25% of students said the same. Even retirees used Covid-19 as the main reason to start cooking more – 69.23% of them! Home cooking certainly has its advantages and we already mentioned some of them – it is cheaper and healthier. It is quite pleasing to see that people used the pandemic to try something new whether it is because of the money, health, free time, or just enjoying a hobby they didn’t have time for before. The pandemic brought a lot of negative aspects, but it is good to see that Americans started to change their cooking habits for the better.
- 58% of Americans cook more during the pandemic, only 9% cook less, while the cooking habits of 33% of people haven’t changed
- 38.10% of people who cook more than 1 hour haven’t really changed their cooking habits
- 46.67% of our respondents said that the main reason for cooking is the fact that it is cheap since they work from home
- a third of employed Americans used the pandemic to start cooking more
- 69.23% of retirees cook more because of the Covid-19, as well as 38.25% of students
45% Of Americans Consume Enough Fruit, Vegetables & Meat
Home cooking isn’t enough when it comes to your health, it is important to eat good food groups, such as fruit, vegetables, and meat. Over 45% of Americans consume a sufficient amount of fruit, vegetables, and meat on a daily basis. This percentage is actually quite good and satisfying. 50% of men consume enough fruit, while 61.54% of women consume enough vegetables. It isn’t surprising that 50% of millennials eat enough meat on a weekly basis.
It is frustrating to try to balance a healthy lifestyle with all the sweets and fast food. Sometimes is just easier to go according to your desires, we know. But your body has needs too, you just need to learn how to balance good and healthy nutrition with sweets and other ingredients and food. The best advice is to try something new. It surely is boring when you prepare vegetables, fruit, and meat every time in the same way. Play a little, go with a new recipe, and different ingredients that will change the taste just a little but enough so you and your palette can truly enjoy. This way you’ll certainly enjoy more in healthy food groups of fruit, vegetables, and meat.
- over 45% of Americans consume enough fruit, vegetables, and meat on a daily basis
- only 13% of respondents think that they do not consume enough of these ingredients on the daily basis
- 50% of men eat enough fruit, while 61.54% of women eat enough vegetables
- 50% of millennials consume enough meat on the weekly basis
55% Of Americans Order Take-Out Food – Once Or Twice A week
It is a bit discouraging that 82% of Americans go for a take-out food at least once a week, while 55% of them order once or twice a week. When it comes to the generations, people who are older (54 years or more) never order take-out food (37%), while 90% of younger people (up to 35 years) go for a ready-to-eat meal at least once a week. As we can see, older people who actually find cooking their passion (already mentioned in one of the previous questions), never go for “meal in the bag”, while younger people do that often. But, it is understandable that people who don’t have time to cook (66.67%) order take-out food once or twice a week.
What about those that just don’t want to cook because they are too lazy? With this survey, we found out that 4 out of 5 Americans order take-out food once or twice a week because they are lazy so a meal order is just a convenient way to get food. This number actually quite shocked us but hey, honesty goes a long way. When it comes to the full-time workers, 73.21% of them order take-out food once or twice a week, but they have an excuse – a full-time job. There are a lot of positive and negative aspects of ordering take-out food so a nice balance is always a good idea.
- 82% of Americans order take-out food, while 55% of them do that only once or twice a week
- only 14% of people order 3 to 4 times per week, while 13% of them do it every day
- 37% of people older than 54 never order take-out, while 90% of people younger than 35 make an order at least once a week
- 4 out of 5 Americans order take-out once or twice a week because they admit they are lazy to cook
- 73.21% of full-time employed people order take-out once or twice a week
- most people who don’t have time to cook (66.67%) also order take-out food up to twice a week
Every Fifth Person Is Too Lazy For Cooking
Time is quite the problem when it comes to home cooking. While some people work too many hours a day, the others have too many duties to have enough time for cooking. Almost every third person orders take-out food because they don’t have time for home cooking. It is a bit surprising to see that every fifth person is just too lazy for cooking so the take-out food is the best solution to go with. The percentages are a bit different when it comes to the millennials. 35.71% of them don’t have time for cooking, while 26.79% of them are too lazy. Younger people (less than 25 years), for example, students, order take-out just because of coupons and discounts.
When you have a family gathering or your friends come over, it is easier to order take-out food, right? Well, 12% of our respondents agree with this one, which is quite surprising because we expected a bit higher number but hey – it is great to see that this excuse isn’t used too much. 9.62% of women and 16.67% of men admit that they do not have the necessary ingredients for preparing a home meal so it is easier to just order a take-out than to go grocery shopping at that exact moment. Of course, there is a low percentage of people who do not order take-out food – 15.38 % of women and 10.42 % of men.
- almost every third person doesn’t have time to cook, while every fifth person is too lazy
- 50% of Americans under 25 years old order take-out because of the coupons and discounts
- 35.71% of millennials order take-out due to the lack of time for cooking, while 26.79% of them is just too lazy
87% Of Americans Go Grocery Shopping Once A Week
Shopping for fresh ingredients is the key to healthy cooking, as well as to standard cooking habits. Americans are quite aware of that since 87% of them go grocery shopping at least once a week. When it comes to genders, the difference is quite big – 73.08% of women go grocery shopping once or twice a week, while only 37.50% of men do the same. It is a bit surprising to see that 38.46% of students go grocery shopping every day of the week but they probably shop day by day which is quite usual for students, especially those that live in dorm rooms or apartments.
62.16% of employed people go grocery shopping up to 2 times a week, while every fourth retiree orders food online! This was quite a surprising result but it is great to see that older people find an easier way to get all the groceries they need, especially during the pandemic. It is good to see they are safe and sound, and that they find all the positive aspects of the internet and new media. There is a low number of Americans (15%) who go grocery shopping every single day. All in all, we are quite pleased to see that a high percentage of Americans go grocery shopping once a week which is quite standard and suitable.
- 87% of Americans go grocery shopping at least once a week, 56% of them 1-2 a week, while 16% of people go 3 to 5 times
- only 15% of Americans go every day
- 78% of millennials go grocery shopping 1-2 times a week
- 38.46% of students go shopping every day, 62.16% of employed people go twice a week, while every fourth retiree orders food online
- 73.08% of woman and 37.50% of men go grocery shopping 1-2 times a week
Students & Retirees With $50-$100 Weekly Budget
Both students (62%) and retirees (46%) have a weekly budget between $50 to $100 which is quite standard. The people who work (50%) have, of course, a bit bigger budget so they are willing to spend up to $200 on all the groceries. It is a bit surprising that 57.14% of our respondents are willing to experiment with new food and meals, so they have no problem with spending $100 to $200 per week. However, each generation goes according to its needs and lifestyle.
What about those that go grocery shopping every single day? Well, since they buy just what they need, day by day, they actually spend between $50 and $100 a week which is quite suitable and reasonable (40% of Americans do that). When it comes to online shopping, it looks like a budget is a bit bigger. 61.54% of people who buy everything online, spend between $100 and $ 200 per week. That’s the thing with online shopping – you get everything you need and more. Is there a generation of people who spend more than $200 per week on grocery shopping? Absolutely – the retirees! 23.08% of them to be exact! The percentage of students who spend that much is a bit lower (15.38%), while only 13.51% of workers spend $200 or more on groceries per week.
- 62% of students and 46% of retirees have a weekly budget from $50 to $100
- 50% of people with a part-time or full-time job have a budget from $100 to $200
- people who prepare meals for more than 5 people, weekly spend over $200
- 57.14% of respondents like to experiment with new meals that cost between $100 and $200
- 40% of Americans who go grocery shopping every day spend $50-$100 a week, while 61.54% of online buyers spend between $100 and $200
29% Of People Never Tried Meal-Kit Delivery Services
The meal-kit delivery services are quite popular, but in America, only 36% of men and 12% of women use it regularly. The survey, however, confirmed our thought – 30.36% of full-time employed people use the meal-kit delivery services all the time. It was a bit expected that a big number of retirees (46.15%) never tried this type of service but let’s be honest, it is quite convenient and it comes in handy especially to the older people and bigger families.
We are surprised to find out that 38.46% of students haven’t yet tried this type of service but they are planning to try it. The same goes for the 31.58% of people who cook for 2 or more persons. There is a 34.62% of women and 16.67% of men who used it before, but not anymore. It is great that they at least took time to decide whether the meal-kit delivery service is their thing or not. When it comes to the average numbers, 26% of Americans have tried this type of delivery but they do not use it anymore, 23% of them uses these services on a regular basis, 22% of them is planning to try, while 29% of our respondents never tried it. As we already said, a balance is key. It is great to try something new but as always, try to balance your habits, and you’re good!
- 36% of men and 12% of women use meal-kit delivery services regularly
- 38.46% of students are planning to try this service
- 30.36% of full-time employed people use it all the time, while 46.15% of retirees never tried it
- every third person who cooks just for themself said that they tried meal-kit delivery service, but they do not use it anymore
- 31.58% of people who cook for at least 2 persons said that they never tried this service but they are planning to
- the average usage came in at: tried but don’t use it anymore 26%, regular user 23%, never 29%, planning to try 22%
30.77% Of Retires As Cooking Experts
We are our own biggest critics, right? Well, most of our respondents consider themselves beginners or intermediates (students and employed people) while 30.77% of retirees consider themselves cooking experts. That’s how it goes – the retiree either have a lot of time so it turns cooking into a passion or the grandchildren come for a weekend so the retiree must be really creative to keep them happy. However, it is interesting that every fourth American older than 35 considers himself a cooking beginner.
But back to basic – 72% of Americans said that they have cooking experience which is great! There is a lot of positive aspects of home cooking, you just need to discover them for yourself! Students consider themselves as cooking beginners (46.15% of them), while 60.71% of full-time workers think that they are advanced. It wasn’t surprising to see that 56.15% of Americans who order take-out food almost every day think that they are cooking beginners. But hey, Jamie Oliver was once a beginner too! It is important to just start and grow! All in all, these are the average numbers of people who cook every day – 19.35% of them consider themselves beginners, 35.4% experts, and 45.16% intermediate.
- 72% of respondents claim that they have cooking experience
- 46.15% of students consider themselves beginners, while 60.71% of full-time workers think that they are advanced in cooking
- 30.77% of retirees consider themself cooking experts
- 56.15% of people who order take-out food almost every day consider themselves beginners
- 21.52% of people who haven’t change their cooking habits during the covid, think of themselves as intermediate cooks
- people who cook every day consider themselves: beginners 19.35%, experts 35.48%, and intermediate 45.16%
- every fourth American older than 35 considers himself a cooking beginner
17% Of People Cook For More Than 5 Persons
Most of the households are a bit bigger so naturally, the cooking time and meal preparations take a bit longer. Most of our respondents (59%) cook for 2-4 persons in a household. It is interesting that 50% of part-time workers cook just for themselves, while 69.64% of full-time workers cook for 2, 3, or 4 persons. A high number of our respondents (87.23%) cook 3 to 5 days a week for at least 2 persons. When it comes to the retirees, 3 out of 4 cooks for around 2 to 4 persons in their households. 24% of Americans cook just for themselves, while 17% of them cook for more than 5 persons.
These numbers aren’t actually that surprising. As we already said, most people live in a bit bigger households with their kids and/or parents. But it was a bit shocking to see that a high percentage of respondents who work full-time cook for up to 4 persons in their household while 50% of part-time workers cook just for themself. If we were looking just at these results, we would say that we expected to see reverse results since people who have more time, have also more time for cooking. But, we’re not looking just at these results. It is expected to see that people who work full-time have families since they have a bit more convenient money situation. However, it is nice to see that people have cooking habits.
- 59% of Americans cook for a household of 2-4 persons
- 69.64% of full-time workers cook for 2-4 persons in their household, while 50% of part-time workers cook just for themselves
- 3 out of 4 retirees cook for 2-4 persons in their household
- 87.23% of Americans cook 3-5 days a week for at least 2 persons in their household
Our Study Methodology
This survey is done by the KitchenToast. All the data is collected between 02/15/2021 to 02/25/2021. The KitchenToast’s surveys registered gender and generation, and then asked a series of questions. We collected responses of the 1000 people from the U.S. Since that is a sufficient number of respondents, we gathered enough information to conduct this research. We collected all the data and information and based on them, came to certain conclusions which are presented verbally and visually in this post. All the information we collected is only and specifically used for this research.