American Households Struggle to Find Meal Ideas

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American Households Struggle to Find Meal Ideas


BELLEVUE, Wash. – What’s for dinner?

Finding an answer to this question currently poses a real challenge for many of America’s households, according to new research from The Hartman Group. More than one-third of U.S. consumers (38 percent) say they frequently struggle for ideas of what to make at mealtimes.

Of these struggling consumers, 10 percent of them “very often” and 28 percent of them “frequently” are in a quandary over what to prepare for their households. Compared to older generations, millennials regularly come up short on ideas for meals to make at home during the week, The Hartman Group found in its 2015 Culture of Food: New Appetites, New Routines report.

“Consumers are trading out traditional food routines for new ones that reflect the desires and challenges of expanded variety in a complex food landscape,” said Laurie Demeritt, CEO of The Hartman Group. “Cooking for a family must accommodate everyone’s schedules and food preferences, ranging from avoidances to culinary variety and healthfulness.”

Fundamental shifts in technology, travel and trade have placed food back at the center of everyday life and popular culture, meaning consumers are looking for food inspiration and cooking tips to simplify or improve their investment of time, effort and money. The primary roadblocks to inspiration, according to consumers, are a lack of time to plan and lack of skills to cook.

“Many consumers cite a lack of interest or energy to think about what to eat, while fewer consumers, about 15 percent, say they have too many choices when trying to decide what to eat,” Demeritt noted.

The Culture of Food: New Appetites, New Routines report is meant to be a framework for understanding how consumers define premium quality and make decisions about premium products, brands and experiences. The report is a deep dive into America’s diverse and dynamic food and beverage culture as viewed through the lens of the consumer, The Hartman Group said.