Axios reports on a new Gallup-Cookpad survey suggesting that "Americans are returning to pre-pandemic habits and cooking at home less."
There are a number of factors at play, according to the survey. One is that people are returning to the office, and therefore cooking fewer lunches. And, people simply are more comfortable going out to eat.
Other details from the survey:
"People in the U.S. and Canada ate the fewest number of home-cooked meals per week out of any region in the world in 2022, averaging only 8.4 meals per week - the same rate as 2019 … In the U.S., the eating-at-home rate reached a 'historic low' last year, at 8.2 meals per week, compared to 9.4 in 2020 … Last year, women in North America reported cooking 1.7 more meals per week than men."
- KC's View:
Some of the factors driving this trend are beyond retailers' control. But I wonder how many grocers, seeing a swelling sales during the pandemic, actively crafted strategies and tactics to keep that business once the tide turned and the world returned to some semblance of normal.
I'd bet that fewer than should have.
The other piece of this is what percentage of the prepared meal business, a lot of it captured by supermarkets during the pandemic because restaurants' market shares were cratering, has been maintained in the current environment.
I'd bet less than should have.
The argument here almost from the beginning of the pandemic was that the shifts taking place were not going to be permanent, but that supermarkets had the opportunity to hold onto this business of they made investments in the foodservice segment, stretching their own abilities and not catering to the lowest common denominator. The one thing that needed to be avoided was complacency - but aside from at some retailers that were ambitious and aggressive before the pandemic, I haven't sensed any major shift in how people were doing business and looking to keep this temporarily captured market share.
In fact, retailers should look at every market share increase as temporary. This is just the most vivid example of the moment.