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Whenever possible, Americans want dinner at home

Peapod survey shows consumers strive to cook their own meals

U.S. consumers prefer to eat dinner at home and are seeking more ways to help them do so, a survey by online grocer Peapod finds.

Of more than 1,000 adults polled, 77% said they would rather eat a homemade meal than go out for dinner, and 43% aim to cook more in 2019, according to Peapod’s annual meal planning forecast, compiled by Engine.

The top reason consumers said they’d rather make dinner at home is cost savings, cited by 77% of respondents. Other reasons for preferring to cook at home included the desire to eat healthier (51%) and spend more quality time with family (41%), according to Peapod, a subsidiary of supermarket retailer Ahold Delhaize USA.

Millennials exhibited a greater desire to eat dinner at home, Peapod noted. The survey revealed that 59% of Millennials plan to cook more often, while 48% said that making the evening meal at home affords more time with family.

Consumers see easy meal preparation as one key to having more homemade meals. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed said they plan to take advantage of online grocery pickup or delivery and/or meal kit delivery in 2019. Specifically, 27% said they’d use click-and-collect grocery shopping, 26% aim to use grocery home delivery (26%) and 20% plan to use meal kit delivery.

Peapod’s study found that men are a bit more interested than women (23% versus 18%) in using a meal kit next year. In addition, nearly twice as many Millennials (60%) as Baby Boomers (31%) expressed intent to buy a meal kit in 2019.

Millennials, too, were three to four times more likely than Boomers to have interest in creating weekly meal plans (51% versus 16%), cooking with children (39% versus 9%) and using online grocery delivery (29% versus 10%).

Weekdays are primetime for home-cooked meals, and Wednesday is the most popular day to cook dinner at home, cited by 75% of consumers polled. Also, Wednesday was the most popular day for respondents to use meal kits (51%).

Fifty-three percent of Americans aim to prepare more healthy meals in 2019, according to Peapod. To that end, 52% plan to use more fresh ingredients, and 51% intend to cut down on the amount of processed foods they eat.

When it comes to trying new items, Millennials appear more open to something different. For instance, these consumers expressed more willingness to try items such as jackfruit (27% versus the national average of 17%), tofu (25% versus 19%), Paleo foods (21% versus 16%) and Keto products (28% versus 19%).

Going meatless also remains a dinner trend heading into next year. Almost half of the Peapod survey respondents (48%) said they already eat no meat for dinner at least once a week. Women were more likely to eat meatless meals, with 52% eschewing meat weekly or more often versus 44% of men.

In recent months, Chicago-based Peapod began expanding its lineup of meal solutions. The company in September unveiled plans to roll out 40 new meal kits through the spring of 2019. The launch includes a broader distribution of the kits as well as new recipes. Peapod said it partnered with an array of consumer packaged goods companies and brands — including Campbell’s, Uncle Ben’s, Conagra and PepsiCo — to create the new meal kits.

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