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The Global Rise of the Can’t Cook Gourmet

February 2016

While more consumers self-identify as foodies, with a strong interest in exotic and gourmet foods, there is also a rise in the number of consumers who can’t, or won’t, cook for themselves. Drawing from a wide range of Euromonitor International survey, market and demographic data, this first report in a series of two aims to pinpoint and locate the deskilled foodie, and look at the implications of this for industries from packaged food to restaurants, kitchenware and kitchen appliances.

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The way we eat is undergoing significant change

The convergence of two major lifestyle trends is having a significant impact on the way we approach food: the trend towards gourmet, and the trend away from cooking, through lack of skill, time and/or inclination. This has led to the emergence, in some markets, of the Can’t Cook Gourmet.

Food expectations are on the increase

As consumers – particularly in developed markets – become more exposed to high quality and adventurous foods at affordable prices, their expectations of food increase.

The UK and the US are leading this change

The UK and the US are at the vanguard of developing foodiedom, led by an exciting and broadening range of exotic and eclectic eating out and home cooking options. France also scores highly, but is more inclined to local foods and high quality produce than to experimentalism.

The frequency of cooking is on the decline

However, this expectation of high quality, exciting food is happening at the same time as the frequency of cooking declines and pulls down cooking skills.

The Japanese are the most reluctant cooks

Consumers in Japan are the least keen on cooking, despite relative confidence in the kitchen. US consumers also frequently turn to time saving options.

The Can’t Cook Gourmet is most evident in developed markets

These two trends clash head on in the US, where consumers want great food with little work; while the UK, Japan, France and Brazil are also experiencing the conflict of wanting the best quality food, while not having the time, skills or inclination to create it.


The development of the Can’t Cook Gourmet matrix
Building the indicators

Key Findings

Executive summary
The Can’t Cook Gourmet: Where are they located?

The rise of the gourmet

The Gourmet Indicator
The Gourmet Indicator explained
The many faces of the Gourmet
The Gourmet: The Hobby Cook
The Gourmet: Dream Kitchen
The Gourmet: High-end Host
The Gourmet: Provenance and Grow Your Own
The Gourmet: High-end Ingredients
The Gourmet: Food Adventurer
The Gourmet: Restaurant Lover

…and the decline of cooking skills

The Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook Indicator
The Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook Indicator explained
Need for convenience drags down cooking skills
Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook: Lack of cooking confidence
Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook: Convenience Freak
Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook: Don’t Cook

Conclusion and recommendations

Key target markets
UK: High aspirations clash with weak cooking skills
US: Exciting flavours with minimal effort
France: Loves traditional high quality food, but n o t ime to prepare
Japan: Convenience food please, but m ake it interesting
Brazil: Push towards eating at home as hobby cooking rises

Methodology and definitions

Methodology: The Gourmet Indicator
Methodology: Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook Indicator
Data parameters

Internet vs Store-based Shopping

Further Insight


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