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GMDC Food Prep Study: Increase in Home Cooks Driving Sales

By February 25, 2016 No Comments

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Feb. 25, 2016 – A “next-practice” report released by the Global Market Development Center and Nielsen shows shoppers equate cookware and kitchen gadget purchases with decisions about their personal health and wellness. The research, “Why Food Prep Matters to Healthy Retail and Consumers,” sponsored by Bradshaw International, reveals how adjacent merchandising captures top-of-mind purchases and substantially increases the basket fill.


The International Housewares Association notes spending on housewares in the U.S. grew to more than $73 billion in 2013, with the biggest sales in cookware, foilware, bakeware, kitchen gadgets and tabletop. Those are the key categories that comprise what GMDC calls a new mega-category “food prep.” Food prep is important to the industry by helping retailers and suppliers think differently about how the shopper truly views the needs of the kitchen in order to make tasty dishes with time-starved lifestyles. Nielsen reports that close to 90 percent of households shop and buy in the food prep category on a regular basis.


“A combination of factors have revived interest in cooking and made the kitchen once again a major center of activity in the home,” said Patrick Spear, president and CEO of GMDC. “Retailers have a prime opportunity to increase profits by turning food shoppers – especially fresh food – into cookware and gadget buyers when placing those items where the food is. I strongly encourage our members and trading partners to focus on finding new ways to collaborate in order to understand how today’s shoppers shop. By breaking down the silos of how buyers buy inside organizations, stores will win the shopper and win the sale as they adopt these next-practices.”


While cookware matters to all retail channels, the food channel captures 27 percent of the $7.29 billion market.


“The expansion of fresh formats or fresh departments in retails stores across channels points to the importance of food to growing population segments [such as Millennials or Hispanics] or big spending segments [such as Gen Y, Boomers or affluent] and highlights why food prep matters,” said Brett Bradshaw, president of Bradshaw International, a leading housewares supplier that services all channels of trade.


Market experts note this upsurge as a retail opportunity for food purchases to lead to food prep purchases, especially in the food channel where fresh is a key destination for all consumers in North America.


“There’s an opportunity in supermarkets, where we sell all the ingredients you need to make the wonderful dishes that you see on the Food Network and to sell the kitchenware that goes along with it,” said Joe Kirby, vice president, retailer sales and category management, for Imperial Distributors Inc. “It’s all about solution selling to enhance the food experience.”


Surprising Insights and Opportunities

While Millennials are an emerging segment in this category, Boomers still dominate. For example, Riedel Marketing Group reported April 2014 – September 2015, consumers 50 and older did the most food prep buying. Yet, Millennials are not to be ignored.


“It’s actually the Millennials who are the force now in food prep,” said A.J. Riedel, senior partner of Riedel Marketing Group. “Partly because they are such a big segment, but also because they are into food, in a way that the 40-to-49 and even the Boomers are not. They enjoy experimenting, and seek tools and techniques to cook at home.”


The percentage of households purchasing food prep products that have no children is significant, and closely mirrors the percentage of childless households in the overall U.S. population at 68 percent.


“The important thing for retailers and manufacturers to remember is that if they only target households with children, they are missing a huge opportunity,” Riedel said.


For more information on the report, available to GMDC members, visit