Home Cooking and Eating Habits: Global Survey Strategic Analysis

April 2012

Faster paced and more unconventional lifestyles have led to a trend towards snacking and less structured meal occasions, prompting consumers to seek meal options that are quicker and easier to prepare. At the same time, the recession has forced many to go back to basics and cook from scratch. This new global report analyses findings from the Eating Habits section of Euromonitor International’s 2011 Annual Study of consumers across eight countries, and examines their implications for marketers.

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  • There has been a general global trend over the last couple of decades towards less structured meal occasions, resulting from such factors as busy lifestyles, more unconventional working hours, a rise in single households and an increase in the number of working women.
  • Eating is now dictated by work and leisure activities rather than taking place at set hours of the day. People are also generally consuming more snacks and light meals, choosing when and what they eat rather than fitting in with others.
The survey revealed significant differences in eating patterns according to country. While some countries still have fairly rigid meal structures, such as China, France and Japan, in others, such as Brazil, the UK and the US, meal times are more fragmented.

THE SURVEY

The Annual Study was designed to provide a unique perspective into the mind of today’s global consumer and the strategic analysis in this report enriches the survey results with extensive desk research and market background, further illustrated with Euromonitor International market data. It probes the motivations, perceptions and habits of around 16,000 respondents in the US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, China, Brazil and India. 

The report analyses responses to the following survey questions, taken from the “Eating Habits” section:

  • Preparing meals to eat away from home and in home
  • Purchasing ready meals
  • Ordering home delivery or take away for home consumption
  • Cooking from scratch
  • Reasons for cooking ready meals rather than cooking from scratch
  • Times people eat meals or snacks

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Eating patterns
Chart 1 Global: “On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals and snacks?”
Eating out versus eating in
Home cooking versus meal solutions
Chart 2 Global: “On average, how often do you:”
Reasons for buying ready meals
Chart 3 Global: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?”
Outlook

RATIONALE AND CONTEXT

The survey
Economic context
Table 1 Real GDP Growth by Country 2009-2011
Impact on eating habits

GLOBAL OVERVIEW

Eating in versus eating out
Eating out curtailed by recession Brits dedicate highest share of spend to eating out Chart 4 Per Capita Consumer Expenditure on Eating Out Versus Eating In 2011
Eating patterns
Key findings: More snacks, fewer meals Chart 5 By Country: “On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals?” Chart 6 By Country: “On a typical day, at what time do you eat snacks?”
The market for sweet and savoury snacks
Growth fuelled by innovation and grazing trend Snacks get healthier A new buyer for Pringles Table 2 Global Sales of Sweet and Savoury snacks, Incl Snack Bars 2006-2011
Home cooking versus meal solutions
Key findings: Time is of the essence Chart 7 Single-person Households as % all Households 2011 Economy takes precedence in recession TV programmes inspire creative cooking Chart 8 By Country: “On average, how often do you:”
Ready meals
Key findings: A lack of basic cooking skills Ready meals considered pricey – and unhealthy Chart 9 By Country: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?” The market for ready meals Table 3 Global Sales of Ready Meals and Cooking Sauces 2006-2011

BRAZIL

Eating patterns
Key findings: Breakfast reduced to a snack A tendency to eat late Chart 10 Brazil: “On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals and snacks?” Chart 11 Brazil: On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals?” by age Chart 12 Brazil: On a typical day, at what time do you eat snacks?” by age
Home cooking versus meal solutions
Key findings: Competition from foodservice hots up as incomes rise Working women need help Chart 13 Brazil: “On average, how often do you:” Chart 14 Brazil: “On average, how often do you:” by Gender Chart 15 Brazil: “On average, how often do you:” by Age Chart 16 Brazil: “On average, how often do you:” by household status
Ready meals
Key findings: Ready meals considered convenient, but unhealthy Chart 17 Brazil: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?” by gender Chart 18 Brazil: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?” by Income
Trends in convenience foods
Triple digit growth for all categories Consumers seek new flavours in cooking sauces Table 4 Brazil: Trends in Convenience Foods 2006/2011

CHINA

Eating patterns
Key findings: Meal structures still rigid Snacking on the increase Chart 19 China: “On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals and snacks?” Chart 20 China: On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals?” by age Chart 21 China: On a typical day, at what time do you eat snacks?” by age
Home cooking versus meal solutions
Key findings: A tradition of eating out Older relatives cook for the extended family Chart 22 China: “On average, how often do you:” Chart 23 China: “On average, how often do you:” by Gender Chart 24 China: “On average, how often do you:” by Age Chart 25 China: “On average, how often do you:” by household status
Ready meals
Key findings: Lack of cooking skills among the young Chart 26 China: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?” by gender Chart 27 China: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?” by age
Trends in convenience foods
Healthier snacks in demand Foreign cooking sauces become more popular Ready meals still dominated by traditional congees Table 5 China: Sector Trends 2006/2011

FRANCE

Eating patterns
Key findings: Traditional meal structures prevail... ... but lunch hours become shorter Snacks limited to aperitif and goûter Chart 28 France: “On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals and snacks?” Chart 29 France: On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals?” by age Chart 30 France: On a typical day, at what time do you eat snacks?” by age
Home cooking versus meal solutions
Key findings: The young less willing to cook But interest in cookery remains high Chart 31 France: “On average, how often do you:” Chart 32 France: “On average, how often do you:” by Gender Chart 33 France: “On average, how often do you:” by Age Chart 34 France: “On average, how often do you:” by household status
Ready meals
Key findings: Potential to target the young Chart 35 France: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?” by gender Chart 36 France: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?” by age
Trends in convenience foods
Ready meals driven by more convenient formats Aperitif snacks benefit from cocooning trend Table 6 France: Sector Trends 2006/2011

GERMANY

Eating patterns
Key findings: Meal times have become fragmented Chart 37 Germany: “On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals and snacks?” Chart 38 Germany: On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals?” by age Chart 39 Germany: On a typical day, at what time do you eat snacks?” by age
Home cooking versus meal solutions
Key findings: Men and women prefer home cooking House-sharers choose convenience Chart 40 Germany: “On average, how often do you:” Chart 41 Germany: “On average, how often do you:” by Gender Chart 42 Germany: “On average, how often do you:” by Age Chart 43 Germany: “On average, how often do you:” by household status
Ready meals
Key findings: Ready meals considered less healthy and tasty Chart 44 Germany: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?” by gender Chart 45 Germany: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?” by employment status
Trends in convenience foods
Price promotions put pressure on value of ready meals Snacks benefit from sports promotion and launch of healthier alternatives Table 7 Germany: Sector Trends 2006/2011

INDIA

Eating patterns
Key findings: Late meals, with snacking in between Chart 46 India: “On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals and snacks?” Chart 47 India: On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals?” by age Chart 48 India: On a typical day, at what time do you eat snacks?” by age
Home cooking versus meal solutions
Key findings: Fewer urban women are preparing meals at home Fresh ingredients are preferred Ready meals still the preserve of wealthy urbanites Chart 49 India: “On average, how often do you:” Chart 50 India: “On average, how often do you:” by Gender Chart 51 India: “On average, how often do you:” by Age Chart 52 India: “On average, how often do you:” by household status
Ready meals
Key findings: Men lack cooking skills Chart 53 India: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?” by gender Chart 54 India: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?” by Income
Trends in convenience foods
Indian market still in early stages of development Cooking pastes see growth in urban areas Ready meals limited to major cities Table 8 India: Sector Trends 2006/2011

JAPAN

Eating patterns
Key findings: Eating habits remain traditional Consumers open up to international dishes Chart 55 Japan: “On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals and snacks?” Chart 56 Japan: On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals?” by age Chart 57 Japan: On a typical day, at what time do you eat snacks?” by age
Home cooking versus meal solutions
Key findings: Culture of eating out remains strong Single households fuel demand for cooking aids Chart 58 Japan: “On average, how often do you:” Chart 59 Japan: “On average, how often do you:” by Gender Chart 60 Japan: “On average, how often do you:” by Age Chart 61 Japan: “On average, how often do you:” by household status
Ready meals
Key findings: Ready meals seen as good value “Lunchbox men pose a threat to the prepared bento category Chart 62 Japan: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?” by gender Chart 63 Japan: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?” by age
Trends in convenience foods
Ready meals remain buoyant during recession Earthquake disaster leads to rise in cocooning Japan leads global market for cooking sauces Table 9 Japan: Sector Trends 2006/2011

UK

Eating patterns
Key findings: Mealtimes become more fragmented The lure of meal deals A culture of grazing Chart 64 UK: “On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals and snacks?” Chart 65 UK: On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals?” by age Chart 66 UK: On a typical day, at what time do you eat snacks?” by age
Home cooking versus meal solutions
Key findings: British are inspired by celebrity chefs Diversifying into new cuisines Chart 67 UK: “On average, how often do you:” Chart 68 UK: “On average, how often do you:” by Gender Chart 69 UK: “On average, how often do you:” by Age Chart 70 UK: “On average, how often do you:” by household status
Ready meals
Key findings: Young men most positive towards ready meals Chart 71 UK: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?” by gender Chart 72 UK: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?” by age
Trends in convenience foods
Ready meals market returns to growth in 2011 Snacking benefits from lifestyle changes Cooking sauces focus on easy preparation Table 10 UK: Sector Trends 2006/2011

US

Eating patterns
Key findings: Eating on the go replaces sit-down meals Snacking popular at all times of the day Chart 73 US: “On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals and snacks?” Chart 74 US: On a typical day, at what time do you eat meals?” by age Chart 75 US: On a typical day, at what time do you eat snacks?” by age
Home cooking versus meal solutions
Key findings: Achieving the right balance Chart 76 US: “On average, how often do you:” Chart 77 US: “On average, how often do you:” by Age Chart 78 US: “On average, how often do you:” by work status Chart 79 US: “On average, how often do you:” by household status
Ready meals
Key findings: Motivations vary according to age Chart 80 US: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?” by gender Chart 81 US: “Why do you purchase ready meals versus preparing a meal from scratch?” by age
The market for ready meals
Consumers seek out innovative snacks Chilled ready meals provide growth in a mature market Table 11 US: Sector Trends 2006/2011

OUTLOOK AND IMPLICATIONS

Meal habits to become less structured Flexibility will be key Portable foods will be in greater demand Marrying convenience with health Food safety will remain paramount for the Chinese Foodservice forced to adapt Lack of cooking skills versus interest in hobby cooking Economic uncertainty will continue to dampen confidence
Forecast market trends
Future looks bright for convenience foods Middle classes to drive growth in emerging markets Table 12 Global Sales of Convenience Foods 2011-2016

APPENDIX

Methodology
Focus and design Fielding and data cleaning Chart 82 Sample vs. Population 2011 Online sampling considerations
Survey questions
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