A recent Pampered Chef Kitchen Confidence Index looked at Americans’ habits in the kitchen, how much time they invested in the cooking process and their feelings toward meal preparation and cleanup. While the study revealed that 65% of Americans report spending more time in the kitchen than in previous years, it also showed that their feelings of overwhelm increase at least once or twice a week because of their responsibilities and burdens.
This added stress has not impacted Americans’ resolve to cook. In fact, the study reported that one in five participants said they would always make time to cook, even if it created more stress and overwhelm.
“Mealtime is that daily reminder of when expectations meet reality, and while the act of cooking is not the most challenging responsibility in our daily lives, we heard loud and clear that fitting it into our increasingly overwhelming schedules is a struggle,” said Pampered Chef Chief Marketing Officer Terry Haley.
Continuing to cook in the midst of this tension has left many Americans seeking mealtime solutions or help with the preparation and planning process. Almost 60% of participants said they are craving inspiration in the kitchen, 63% say they lack confidence in their cooking abilities, and 64% said they are either on the lookout for meal hacks or simply ordering takeout.
Cooking responsibilities are usually relegated to one member of the family, the study found, with 80% of households having a primary cook who does not share responsibilities with other family members. Women are feeling more stress than men, with a quarter of women saying that meal preparation and planning has become a chore, versus only 8% of men. And Americans with children under the age of 18 report—not surprisingly—that they are struggling more in the kitchen and twice as likely to feel stressed by cooking than those with older children.
A lack of resources and training is contributing to this cooking fatigue. Half of respondents say they were taught to cook but 16% said they had no instructions or kitchen mentors to serve as role models.
In response to this data, Pampered Chef is now employing an Inspiration Hub, where consumers can find recipes, timesaving tips and product recommendations, and a cooking persona quiz so home cooks can discover their mealtime preferences, improve their kitchen confidence, and find personalized resources and support.
“The goal with our new content is to ultimately support home cooks, providing tailored tools and tricks that help people feel more confident in the kitchen, so they can focus on what they love most about mealtime: enjoying delicious food together with family and friends.”
The objective of cooking and time spent in the kitchen was clear among participants, with 70% pointing to “providing a healthy, nutritious meal and enjoying a meal while connecting with loved ones” as the most enjoyable part of the cooking process. But regardless of resources or training, someone will still have to do the dishes—the chore that 42% of participants said was their least enjoyable task.