Home Cooking (Business of Fun #21)
Food is fun. It’s also big business.
That’s why it deserves two posts in my August “Business of Fun” series. Today is eating in…tomorrow is dining out.
Yesterday, I posted about books and reading. One type of book that is still alive and well is the cookbook. (In fact, I still have my copy of the Betty Crocker* “everything” cookbook, which is one of the all-time best-sellers.) Although I can easily peruse countless Pinterest boards for ideas, making a batch of chocolate chip cookies from scratch is just not the same without that stained copy of the original Kathleen’s Bake Shop book. (It’s now out-of-print due to Kathleen’s legal battle, so maybe the cookies taste better because I have a remaining copy…but I don’t think that’s the reason.)
Cooking and eating are both among those experiences that technology can enhance, but not replace. Of course, millennials are much more likely to bring technology into the kitchen.
Despite the fact that cooking shows are on the upswing, less than 60% of meals eaten at home are actually cooked at home, and the number is falling. We’re a take-out society. And why not? The proliferation of options like Blue Apron, pre-chopped vegetables, and Seamless enable even the pickiest eaters to have a pseudo-homemade meal on the table in minutes; a convenience for two-career households and single parents. According to Forbes, options are getting healthier too.
Having actual people in the kitchen — together — is really important, according to psychologists and other health professionals. Only 59% of families sit down for dinner together five nights a week. And it’s especially important after divorce. Recapping the events of the day, laughing together over weird things that happened, and making plans are all good for relationships.
Let’s not forget about breakfast…that oft-ignored meal of the day. Even if you’re making toast and fruit for your loved ones, it’s healthier (mentally and physically) than grabbing a snack bar or high-carb pastry on the way to the office. 93% of people believe that breakfast is the most important meal, but only 44% eat it every day. Here are more breakfast stats. What’s most compelling is that you’ll actually be smarter (and thinner) if you eat that morning meal, according to Fast Company and numerous scientific studies about brain function.
Breaking bread together is important at the office too. People who eat together at work are happier, according to this article. If you’re in a leadership role, taking the team out after-work to celebrate good results or birthdays is oh-so-important too! (One of my colleagues creates “faux holidays,” as an excuse for team bonding when morale needs a boost.) Introvert? Here are tips for surviving those mandatory business meals.
Hungry for more useful trends and ideas? Check back tomorrow for the second installment of “Food as Fun,” subscribe to this blog, and contact us if you need help with ideas for building your culture and brand. (We draw the line at making home-cooked meals for our clients, although I’ll gladly bake you a batch of Kathleen’s chocolate chip cookies.)
*And just for fun…this is a great visual history of Betty Crocker…the first lady of cake mix…an invention that revolutionized home baking. And now, General Mills may be contemplating “killing her off.” Oh no!