It is that time of year again; families are coming back from vacation and re-adjusting to the new school year starting. With the beginning of the school year, comes the return of hectic schedules and less time for preparing and eating meals together at home. A survey conducted by the UNCLE BEN’S® Brand polled parents on their cooking abilities and barriers that kept them from cooking in the kitchen. It revealed that only about one-third of U.S. parents feel very confident in their ability to put together a balanced meal. The need for parents to teach their kids to cook sparked the UNCLE BEN’S® Brand to create the Ben’s Beginners™ program, which helps families make more meals together with interactive cooking lessons available at beginners.unclebens.com.
Knowing that as registered dietitians you are a valuable, in-store resource for your shoppers, how can you help consumers combat obstacles in the kitchen and feel confident cooking for their families while keeping these findings in mind?
- Time: Both working and stay-at-home parents find themselves in a race against the clock at the end of the day and want meals that they can get on the table in less than 30 minutes. Low maintenance recipes that they can prep, throw in a pot/pan and leave to cook without much fuss are going to be ideal.
One way you can help save your shoppers time is through in-store displays. Choosing recipes that fit within these parameters and having all of the ingredients in one place for purchase is a shopper’s dream. Keep in mind options that are typically found outside of the perimeter of the store, to help increase visibility of products in every aisle. Try creating or showcasing recipes that use less than five products, or use solely center of the store items to showcase healthy options that utilize shelf-stable products and can lift entire categories.
- Confidence: The Kitchen Confidence survey found that not everyone has been taught the appropriate skills to use in the kitchen, so cooking may seem intimidating to many. While you are a customer’s resource on nutrition-related topics pertaining to their food choices, you are also someone who can help educate them on best cooking practices.
Get creative on how you incorporate culinary tactics into the programming you do. For example, during in-store cooking demos, consider going over basic knife skills or organizational practices, which can set customers up for success in the kitchen. Choose a culinary skill of the month to cover and master during these demos. Also, encourage help from a shopper’s entire family by bringing in a child to your demos to showcase age-appropriate tasks in the kitchen, such as mixing, measuring, chopping, and other skills.
- Convenience: Wandering around aimlessly through a grocery store looking for one particular item on their shopping list is a common story told by your customers. A grocery store can be a complicated place to navigate for new or existing customers, and can often hinder people from shopping, and therefore, cooking at home.
Keep this in mind when developing in-store materials or visual recipe displays, which can simplify a shopper’s experience. Additional store-specific tools to point shoppers in the right direction for these recipes are nice to have on hand, share on social media or include in store circulars as well.
With a little help from you, parents will be more confident in the kitchen and pass their skills on to the next generation of home chefs.