retail news in context, analysis with attitude

CNN reports that the high price of eating out – not to mention driving to restaurants – has created a national trend toward cooking and eating at home. According to Ohio-based BIGResearch, roughly 45 percent of Americans are eating out less this year to save money, a nearly 12 percent increase from 2007.

However, this isn’t just helping supermarket sales.

“After years of eating out, many people have found they don't have a pot to cook in or a cookbook to guide them,” CNN reports. “The sudden rush to buy basic cooking necessities has driven up sales of cookbooks, inexpensive cookware and the basic foods needed to concoct a meal. And cooking magazines and Web sites are booming even as magazine sales overall have suffered.”

The booming sales of cookware that costs less than $100 suggests that many of the people now choosing to eat at home are younger, less affluent shoppers.

KC's View:
If there are a lot of new cooks coming into the marketplace, this is an enormous opportunity for food-oriented retailers. It is an opportunity to sell them cookware and cookbooks, it is an opportunity to engage with them in the store and online, and it is an opportunity to develop in-store product and services that can help people know what and how to cook.

And if you believe, as many do, that there may be some kind of deeper economic and cultural transformation taking place – and that this isn’t just a trend that could be reversed in a few weeks or months – then this is a time to think strategically about how to reposition the supermarket.