Making Magic In The Kitchen

My friend Carolyn, mother of four, is a magician in the kitchen. She can pull dinner out of a hat, transform cranky kids into happy helpers, and make veggies disappear. But she doesn’t have a magic wand. Like most moms, Carolyn just has some clever tricks up her sleeve.

As a mom of two, I have a few mealtime tricks of my own. But lately, with two picky eaters and a hectic schedule, our dinners have been less than enchanting. So I decided to search our online community to find out what other moms’ most dependable mealtime tricks are. I found some amazing tips I can’t wait to use in my own kitchen, not to mention some insights that can help marketers do a little magic of their own!

Trick #1: Plan Ahead

“We bought a small dry erase board and leave it on the fridge, and every weekend we plan out our meals for the week.  It saves a ton of time and money!”  

Moms are planners. In fact, 52% say they do more meal planning now that the economy causes them to eat at home more. Often, that planning includes coupons or discounts. And 77% of moms say that a sale or discount on groceries is very important when shopping.

Marketing takeaway: Give Mom meal-planning tools and make-ahead ideas, and get those discounts into her hands early, so she can work them into her menus. (Hint: 85% of moms sign up for emails from retailers!)

Trick #2: Think Outside the (Mac ’n’ Cheese) Box

“I put butternut squash in my mac 'n' cheese and in my meatballs. Or I try using dippers or toppers to make things more appealing.” 

Moms are creative! Whether they’re finding ways to sneak veggies into meals, or coming up with new uses for prepared ingredients, there is no limit to the creative magic moms bring to mealtimes. We found that 68% of moms make meals that are primarily homemade but use some packaged foods (think shepherd’s pie topped with tater tots). And since they’re always looking for ways to keep meals interesting, 94% are willing to try new products at the grocery store. 

Marketing takeaway: Suggest new ways to use prepared foods; surprise her with new, kid-friendly products and recipes; give her a forum for exchanging ideas with other moms.

Trick #3: Keep an Eye on Ingredients 

“I’m interested in healthy shortcuts and products that help you get a healthy meal on the table quickly.”

Moms are health conscious – even when they’re in a hurry. And 72% say they are more aware of the ingredients in packaged foods than five years ago. Also, 52% of moms now prefer organic foods, and yogurt and hummus have replaced chips and cookies as preferred snack foods.

Marketing takeaway: Moms are looking for packaged foods created with their family’s health in mind.

Trick #4: Put Apps on the Menu

“I have Turkey Chili on my Meal Plan for January 4th ... and [my iPhone app] tells me that Kroger has a sale on ground turkey till the 5th!”

Moms are connected – on their phones, in forums and on meal-planning websites. In fact, 60% of moms have a laptop in the kitchen, and one in four uses their smartphone to find recipes while grocery shopping. 

Marketing takeaway: Provide the apps, tools, and resources that will help Mom plan, save and share.

Food becomes a priority for women when they become mothers. Of the eight hours of parenting tasks added to their days, three are spent feeding their kids. Learn as much as you can about how she spends that time, and she’ll reward you with lasting loyalty. Sounds pretty magical to me!

Tags: food, moms
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1 comment about "Making Magic In The Kitchen".
  1. Michal Clements from Insight to Action, Inc. , March 8, 2013 at 9:33 a.m.
    Good post! Yes, getting her child to eat vegetables is very challenging to mom. Stealth vegetables are important, along with other ways to get her child to eat healthy, as we discuss in "Tuning into Mom: Understanding America's Most Powerful Consumer" in the chapter "Stealth Vegetables & Panini Making".