A recent Better Homes & Gardens survey indicated that if grocers want to sell more fresh foods, they should merchandise more recipes -- but easy ones that use few ingredients.
Some racks of recipe cards in the produce and meat departments, and the occasional recipe in weekly circulars, may not be enough. Only a small percentage of consumers said they regard the supermarket as a source for new recipes.
Many of the respondents to Better Homes and Gardens' questions said they especially look for recipes that are quick and easy. And a photo of the finished dish goes a long way.
Almost half, 48.8%, of the consumers surveyed said they are using more recipes with fresh foods today than they did in the past. Most of them said they are also looking for recipes that are lower in fats (70.2%), lower in calories (64.7%) and easier (61.8%).
Better Homes and Gardens sent a questionnaire on shopping and food issues to 500 members of its consumer panel, made up of subscribers, in September, and received 426 responses. The median age of the respondents was 47.5, and median income was $58,879, well above the U.S. family household median income of $36,234. Other characteristics of the consumer panel are that it is all women, 78% married, 38% with children under 18, 92% owning their own home, and 39% with some college education.
As might be expected from Better Homes & Gardens readers, 93.9% cited magazines as a source of new recipes, followed by cookbooks, 76.8%, and friends and relatives, 69.2%. Supermarkets were a source of new recipes for only 8.9%.
A whopping 91.1% said they like to see menu ideas in magazines, newspapers or cookbooks. They said they are looking not only for single-dish ideas, but for the whole meal. Over a third of the panelists, 38%, said they try new recipes several times a month, while 28.9% try a new recipe once a month on average, and 20%,
less than once a month.
The primary factor that attracts consumers to a recipe in a magazine is a photo of the finished dish, said 85.9% of the respondents. Easy step-by-step instructions was the second major factor, at 68.1%, followed by the type of food, 59.8%.
What makes them want to try a recipe? Here are the top reasons: looks appealing, 83.3%; photo of dish, 74.4%; quick or easy to make, 73.2%; the family likes all the ingredients, 72.5%.
One response that signals an opportunity for supermarkets: 60.3% of consumers said that having all the ingredients on hand makes them want to try the recipe out.