Consumers to Continue In-Home Dinner Trend Through 2024

According to The NPD Group, little or no prep and fast dinner fixes are expected to grow over the next few years.
In-Home Dinner

CHICAGO — A new report found that inflation and other rising costs have consumers looking to cut expenses, and eating more dinners at home is one way they do it. 

According to The NPD Group's latest report, "Future of Dinner," out-of-necessity dinners at home peaked during the pandemic but have since normalized and are still above the pre-pandemic levels. 

Ultimately, in-home dinners will remain at a heightened level through 2024. 

"More dinner meals at home are here to stay. The shifting population life stages and economic situation will create greater reliance on dinner at home," said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. "Consumers across all ages will look for breaks from routine, like making the same dishes out of habit.

"Food manufacturers and retailers can help consumers with dinner prep fatigue with convenient new foods and dishes that fit various cooking skill sets and needs. Value will also be top-of-mind with consumers during this time of high inflation" Seifer added.

The research firm also noted that foods that require more effort and time will face headwinds through 2024. For example, seafood, hot and cold sandwiches, and homemade baked goods face headwinds as consumers reset their dinner rituals.

Also facing headwinds are foods some may consider convenient, like pasta, an essential go-to during the pandemic.  

Although in-home dinners will remain popular, consumers have resumed their busy lifestyles and will look for convenience when preparing dinner, according to NPD.

Little or no prep and fast dinner fixes, like frozen meals and ready-to-eat snacks, especially during the work week, will also grow through 2024.

The pandemic escalated the pairing of foodservice and retail prepared foods with in-home prepared dishes to create blended meals. This behavior will continue through the near future, reported NPD, which tracks all aspects of U.S. consumers' eating behaviors daily.

As CSNews reported, The NPD Group's "Winning Gen Z Consumers" study found that Gen Z consumers, whose outside recreation like restaurant visits was thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic, made 218 annual restaurant visits per person in 12 months through February 2022. 

The report also pointed out that price is the most important attribute among consumers 18 to 24 years old when choosing a restaurant. 

Based in Chicago, The NPD Group offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help clients grow their businesses in today's retail landscape and prepare for the future.