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In the early weeks of Stay-at-Home orders, we surveyed parents to gauge how they were acclimating to balancing work, household responsibilities, and monitoring their children’s schooling. As the weeks at home turned into months, we were curious about how parents have been approaching cooking & meal planning. In mid-June, we surveyed 502 parents with a child under 18 currently living in their household to learn where they are getting recipe inspiration, if their grocery budget has gone up, and whether they are leaning into cooking three meals a day or opting for “heat and eat” foods.

The slight majority of these parents (52%) indicated they are currently spending more money on groceries than pre-pandemic, with another 33% indicating they are spending a similar amount of money as previously.

During COVID-19, nearly half of our panelists surveyed (47-48%) indicate they have turned to the Internet or social media to find new recipes and/or gotten creative with what they had in the pantry to avoid having to go to the store.

To save time in the kitchen and avoid turning their homes into an all-day diner, 41% have stocked up on non-perishable meals/staples that are easy enough for their children to prepare themselves and 31% have bought frozen foods for their children to heat up so that they do not have to cook three meals a day. Slightly fewer (28%) have ordered family meals from a restaurant.

Parents of 12-17-year-olds are most apt to have enlisted their child(ren) to help with meal prep (29%) and/or taught them to cook during COVID-19 (22%).

Additionally, the strong majority of these parents (84%) indicate they’ll make shifts in meal planning & cooking going forward. More specifically, 52% anticipate more home-cooked meals in their household than pre-pandemic and nearly four-in-ten will do more meal planning/pre-selecting recipes before grocery shopping (38%). At least one-in-four will make more meals using pantry staples/non-perishables as the base and/or do more meal prepping of ingredients that can be mixed & matched into different recipes (25-28%).

Want to learn more about new approaches to grocery shopping that are likely to continue post-pandemic? We dive into this topic in our Weekly Tracker!

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