In my book, Generations of Good Food, I talk about the joys of being in the kitchen and how food brings families to the table. The 200 recipes in the book have something for the novice in the kitchen as well as the seasoned cook. The kitchen is the place where memories are most often made for the entire family. When the book was published in 2021, I had spent most of the prior year writing the book to occupy my time during the pandemic lockdown. However, as it turned out during that same time families were learning new skills and how to prepare meals at home. Spending time in the kitchen is no longer a novelty to the busy family.
Home cooking trends were in full swing during the pandemic. Families were unable to dine in their favorite restaurants so home cooking skyrocketed. Some report that families are getting cooking fatigue but that does not appear to be the case. Today many families continue to spend time in the kitchen cooking at home. Some because they have honed their culinary and cooking skills. Others because their families enjoy the time spent together in the kitchen. The cost of eating out is still considered a luxury for many families, so the kitchen is the cheapest way to eat. It is easier to stretch the dollar by buying food and preparing it at home. According to FONA (Friends of the National Arboretum) 73% of consumers say cooking at home makes them feel accomplished and 70% of consumers say they will continue to primarily cook at home. Let me share some of the trends FONA laid out in their 2022 trend report while adding my two cents.
Today consumers search for simplicity, convenience, and relaxation through cooking. Whether for a quick bite, a snack or a full meal, the kitchen remains the gathering place for family members. While cooking has long been considered an adult chore, today kids are becoming as accomplished in the kitchen as their adult counterparts. From meal kits to favorite recipes and different flavors, home cooks of all ages can capitalize on today’s home cooking trends.
Food and beverage developers are finding inspiration in the consumer’s desire for simplicity. The busy family may love to spend time in the kitchen, but they want simple products that are easy to cook, clean, and can be prepared quickly. 47% of consumers say the time it takes to prepare and cook a meal may prevent them from cooking more often at home. 55% of consumers say they love or like to cook but hate to clean up afterwards. The response from the food industry has been to develop many different home delivery meals and products that consumers can buy. These “kits” are available in grocery stores or arrive at the doorstep ready to prepare and eat. Consumers don’t need to shop for long lists of ingredients and can experiment with new spices and foods from different cultures conveniently at an affordable price. There are also digital cooking classes and a never-ending list of online recipes to search for and try. A Harris poll found 36% of consumers say social media has changed how they cook at home. It certainly has for me. I often look for alternatives to some of my favorite recipes from different cooking online sites. One of the most popular online sites where people display their culinary skills or tricks is TikTok. Recently, TikTok successfully partnered with Virtual Dining Concepts to launch TikTok Kitchen which has turned some of the TikTok video recipes into dishes users can order. Cooking at home has never been easier or more entertaining for families.
Home cooks began craving new foods, comfort foods, adventurous flavors, and healthy recipes after they discovered the joys of cooking and eating at home. The stress of today’s world view, the economy and the varied schedules of the post-pandemic workforce has caused many consumers to prioritize healthy food choices to prevent illness. While the travel restrictions may have lifted many home cooking trends indicate the home cook is also searching for recipes that allow them to travel the world’s culinary differences without ever leaving home.
There are a few takeaways on home cooking trends that for the newly minted at home chefs/cooks. First is taste. The foods we prepare at home, whether from a kit or scratch, must produce happy taste buds. In addition, globally consumers want food to taste good but are also more health conscious than they were pre-pandemic when frequenting fast food outlets was common. Second, home chefs/cooks want to keep it simple. They like cooking products that are cooked in a shorter amount of time, are convenient, and simple to prepare. This home cook isn’t likely to routinely make a meal that takes hours to prepare or keep constant watch over. Finally, the new home cook enjoys trying new flavor profiles and looking for new trends, products, and flavors. Hop on the cooking bandwagon and don’t forget to pick up a copy of Generations of Good food at www.onecaregiversjourney or Amazon!