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A large percentage of US adults enjoys cooking at home and does it frequently, according to results of a new Harris Poll.

Eight in 10 Enjoy Cooking
About eight in 10 (79%) of Americans 18 and older enjoy cooking, with 14% not enjoying it and 7% not cooking at all. Positive response is virtually the same among men (78%) and women (79%), although it is slightly higher in households with children (81%) than without children (78%).

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Some significant gender- and child-related variations exist in the negative responses. Twice as many men (10%) as women (5%) don’t cook, while more women (16%) than men (12%) don’t enjoy cooking. Twice as many households without children (8%) don’t cook as with children (4%).

Interestingly, Echo Boomers have a higher rate of enjoying cooking (82%) than any other age group, perhaps because they have fewer demands on their spare time. Generation X reports the highest rate of not enjoying cooking (17%) and lowest rate of not cooking (5%). This may reflect the likelihood of this age demographic having young children who are both a distraction to cooking and must be fed regular meals.

Most Cook 5-plus Times per Week
Eighty-nine percent of respondents cook at home moderately or frequently, with the highest percentage (41%) doing so five or more times weekly. Generation X reports the highest overall rate of cooking at home moderately or frequently (91%), while matures have the highest rate of cooking at home five or times a week (52%).

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Familiarity, Time Are Key
Virtually all respondents (98%) very often or occasionally cook what they are familiar with. Three-quarters very often or occasionally save time by using prepared and frozen ingredients and/or kitchen appliances such as microwaves and toaster ovens.

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Smaller percentages very often or frequently use new written recipes (69%) or gain inspiration from food-related articles, online postings and cooking shows, but do not follow their recipes exactly (60%).

Value Drives Dining Decisions
Consumers are dining out less often, and more value-focused when they do visit a restaurant, according to the results of another recent Harris Poll. Both fast food and casual dining restaurants have experienced the same slowdown in the past six months, with 34% and 31% of adults respectively saying they have visited these types of restaurants with less frequency than a year ago. Almost half of Americans (45% and 47%) have respectively visited casual and quick service restaurants at the same level as a year ago.

About the Data: This Harris Poll was conducted online within the US between May 10-17, 2010 among 2,503 adults (aged 18 and older). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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