Fifteen years ago, a group of five cookie-loving anthropology graduate students launched CookieRecipe.com—one of the web’s first social media sites, with all of its contents created by its community. A few years and a few dozen websites (CakeRecipe.com, BreadRecipe.com, ChickenRecipe.com, etc.) later, the sites were rolled up into one—Allrecipes.com. As use of the Internet grew among busy, family-focused women, Allrecipes grew as well. Today, the site that started with a single cookie recipe has grown to become the world’s largest digital food brand, with 17 sites and 9 apps serving 25 million cooks in 22 countries.
Much has changed in the world since Allrecipes first launched in 1997. In honor of its 15th anniversary, Allrecipes reran its first on-site survey from 1999 to capture a snapshot of these changes. Measuring attitudes and behaviors related to online recipe websites, Allrecipes discovered the impact digital food resources have had on the shopping and cooking behaviors of home cooks over the past 15 years.
Insight 1: Smartphones are the Main Ingredient
Mobile phones as a kitchen companion are one of the most significant changes of the past 15 years. In 1997, the typical cell phone weighed 10 ounces and was used primarily for making phone calls. Today, half of women with mobile phones are carrying smartphones, pocket-sized computers ready to assist with an astounding range of tasks. In 2012, more than one-third of online cooks use smartphones to look up recipes, while others use them to create digital shopping lists (18%), redeem digital coupons (16%), and watch videos to improve
their cooking skills (15%).
Insight 2: Video is Vital
It’s no surprise food videos represent a growing trend. In the past 15 years, food video has moved from basic cooking shows, to mega celebrity chefs, to sensational reality series. What might not be evident is that cooks are rapidly switching their viewing behaviors from the big screen (TVs) to small screens (laptops and mobile devices). Today, three-quarters of women watch cooking videos online. Furthermore, the percentage of women who consider how-to videos a must-have for recipe websites has nearly doubled in the past 13 years (from 45% in 1999 to 74% in 2012), and this trend is expected to grow. Nearly half of cooks (43%) believe that in 15 years, more people will learn how to cook
from videos than from their parents.
Insight 3: Food and Tech Appetites Go Global
The ease and appeal of finding recipes online is not just a U.S. phenomenon. Digital food and recipe resources can now be found around the globe. While tastes and food customs vary by country, cooks are more alike than they are different when it comes to finding recipes online. The top digital resource for recipes globally is search engines (43% of online cooks) followed very closely by recipe sites (42%). And the #1 search term worldwide? Chicken, of course.
Insight 4: Interactive Advertising Soars
Insight 5: Sharing Food Has a New Meaning
Fifteen years ago, the social channels we know and trust today didn’t exist. In 2012, the social web is a mainstay with sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, and Allrecipes all ranking among the top 50 most-visited websites. Their impact on shared food experiences is significant: one-third of female cooks consider it important for food websites to provide opportunities to share recipes on social sites (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest). Top motivations for sharing recipes include: attractive photos (79%), the cook plans to make
the recipe (78%), and the recipe has positive peer ratings/reviews (75%).
Insight 6: Fast Features at Your Fingertips
When asked to choose only one cooking resource to use for the rest of their lives, half of home cooks selected cooking websites (44%), followed by cookbooks (19%), and parents (9%). Use of cooking websites has surged 207% in 15 years.
In Allrecipes’ “Then and Now” survey, many of the features cooks expect to find on food websites showed strong growth. The fastest movers included “dish recommendations,” up 1,210% in 2012 compared to 1999, community ratings up 558%, while digital shopping list, menu planner and the ability to scale serving amounts all increased more than 300%.
Insight 7: Show Me the Recipe
The widespread availability of free cooking resources on computers and mobile devices has increased cooks’ appetites for using recipes. According to a 2012 survey, 16% of home cooks are now using recipes all the time when cooking, up from just 9% (80% growth) 13 years ago. Surprisingly, even though it’s easier to find recipes today, recipes haven’t simplified cooking as much as one would expect. Only 35% of cooks responded positively when asked whether recipes make cooking easier, compared with 73% of cooks who responded positively to this same question in 1999.
Insight 8: Organic Goes Mainstream
Today, the majority of home cooks (58%) report picking recipes where they can use organic and natural ingredients, an increase of 66% since 1999. This represents a rise in the collective consciousness of home cooks who are looking closely at food labels (59%), and shopping for locally-sourced ingredients (62%). Interestingly, only 44% report being very health conscious and always eating healthfully. Perhaps home cooks are using organic shredded cheese and veggies from their local farmers’ market to make a cheesy lasagna, followed by prepackaged but all-natural cookies?
Insight 9: Changing Challenges for Dinnertime
Families with kids say finding time is one of the hardest parts of getting dinner on the table: 22% for households with kids, vs. 16% for those without. To mitigate this, home cooks with children at home are much more tech-savvy than their childless counterparts, leveraging digital devices and tools to get things done quicker and easier. Home cooks with children are 76% more likely to have created a shopping list on their mobile device, 56% more likely to look at a digital shopping list in store and 73% more likely to have redeemed a digital coupon on a mobile device than families without children.
Where Fridge and
In 1999, the U.S. economy was happily in the black, the average median household income was up 10%, and only 3% of home cooks reported cost as the hardest part of getting dinner on the table. Today, cost has increased 243% as the hardest part of getting dinner on the table. The solutions? Sixty-seven percent say they cook at home because it’s cheaper than eating out (up 9%) and 68% believe it’s important that recipe websites offer coupons (up 133%).
Insight 11: Internet
Recipe sites are now the most frequently used recipe resource for home cooks (86%), surging 207% from 1999, eclipsing cookbooks (66%), magazines (53%), and even friends (43%). Over the past 15 years, the use of recipe websites has evolved from an occasional diversion, catering primarily to hardcore foodies, to a must-have everyday resource for the majority of American home cooks. Cooks today visit websites and food blogs (now estimated to number more than 164 million worldwide) covering all types of cooking styles, dietary needs, regional cuisines and food passions.
Whether or not you like to cook may have more to do with your age than culinary preferences. As cooks move through life stages, motivations for cooking change. To illustrate, today’s Millennials see cooking as optional, fun, and exploratory; for mid-life, family-focused Gen Xers, it’s a must; while for today’s Baby Boomers in more diet-restricted stages of life, cooking is less frequent with less freedom.
Insight 14: Super Fast, Super Local and Superstores
Supermarkets look nothing like they did 15 years ago. Large chains are devoting more and more space to hot, ready-to-eat food, local farmers’ markets are a part of every city’s weekend landscape, and superstores that sell everything from electronics to produce are sprouting up around every corner. Yet with all these options, when comparing 2012 with 1999, 24% more consumers say shopping for ingredients is the hardest part about getting dinner on the table.
Insight 15: There’s an App for That
Top 15 Recipes of All Time
|(Photo by Heather)|
2. Banana Banana Bread (13.5M page views)
3. Good Old-Fashioned Pancakes (13M page views)
4. Easy Sugar Cookies (11M page views)
5. Awesome Slow Cooker Pot Roast (10M page views)
6. The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies (9.5M page views)
7. Basic Crêpes (8.5M page views)
8. Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (8M page views)
9. Chicken Pot Pie IX (7.5M page views)
10. Buffalo Chicken Dip (7M page views)
11. Easy Meatloaf (7M page views)
12. Carrot Cake III (6.5M page views)
13. Cream Cheese Frosting II (6M page views)
14. Best Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie
(6M page views)
15. Alfredo Sauce (5.5M page views)
MethodologyData provided is from an online survey of 1,020 U.S-based panel participants and 1,208 Allrecipes community members in July 2012. No incentives were used to reward or incent participation. The survey questions were based on questions from Allrecipes’ 1999 Motivations survey, to provide food and technology trend data for the past 13 years. For more information on survey methodology such as response counts for each question or details on question order or format, please feel free to contact us.
About Allrecipes.comAllrecipes, the world’s largest digital food brand, receives 750 million annual visits from home cooks around the world who discover and share food experiences through recipes, reviews, photos, profiles, and blog posts. For 15 years, the Seattle-based site has served as a dynamic, indispensable resource for cooks of all skill levels seeking trusted recipes, entertaining ideas, everyday and holiday meal solutions and practical cooking tips. Allrecipes’ global, multi-platform brand provides insights into the kitchens and cooking passions of home cooks everywhere with 17 websites, 9 mobile apps, and 14 eBooks serving cooks in 23 countries and 11 languages. Allrecipes is part of Meredith Corporation, the leading media and marketing company serving American women.
For additional information regarding Meredith, please visit meredith.com. For additional information about Allrecipes, please visit allrecipes.com.
Please Contact:Stephanie Robinett