Americans are doing more eating at home, but that doesn't necessarily mean more cooking, according to The NPD Group's" 24th Annual Report on Eating Patterns in America."
"There was a lot of speculation last year as to how our eating behaviors changed as a result of the economic crisis. The truth is that consumer behavior changes slowly," said Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst at NPD. "I've observed America's eating patterns in good and bad economies, and the constant is that there is no recession in eating -- and Americans don't want to cook what they eat."
Microwaving has been flat for two decades, but it increased last year as Americans found a way to eat at home and not cook, Balzer added. "We're using our microwaves to warm and heat more, but not prepare more dishes from scratch."
According to NPD's food industry market research, Americans used their microwave ovens more last year, but actually used their stovetops less. About 20% of all meals prepared in U.S. homes from 1990 to 2007 involved the use of a microwave, until last year, when usage rose 10%.
Stovetops remain the most popular cooking appliance, but the portion of main meals prepared on a stovetop dropped from 52% in 1985 to 33% in 2009.