SALT LAKE CITY — At its onset, the pandemic forced many of us to fix our own meals at home. Now, many restaurants are largely back in the swing of things, but new data suggests many customers are not about to drop home-cooked meals to come back.
"Grocery shopping has fundamentally changed as a result of pandemic," said Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute – a part of the Food Industry Association.
The FMI studies the way Americans shop for food and they shared their latest data with the KSL Investigators.
These were the headlines: 58% of shoppers reported eating more at home and 49% reported cooking or preparing their own meals more than before the pandemic.
"So that's a big shift and an important one," said Sarasin.
Even as restaurants have largely reopened for business, Sarasin said the last 12 to 15 months have rekindled a love many shoppers had lost with their own kitchens.
"I think what we've heard from consumers is that they plan to continue cooking more at home," she said.
Adding fuel to the growing trend of home cooking is that going to the grocery store is not all that inconvenient anymore now that most Americans have dabbled in online ordering for pickup.
"I think we have traditionally thought that eating out might be a quicker way for us to get fed, so to speak," said Sarasin. "I think what we've learned during the pandemic is that's not always true. We are able to cook at home and to do it relatively quickly and accomplished what we want to do in shorter periods of time."
On top of people enjoying cooking on their own, the Food Industry Association's data showed people also enjoyed the health benefits of eating at home as well as saving money.