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Master Chef at Home

Spending time in this COVID-induced lockdown has encouraged Australians to explore different hobbies to stay entertained at home, and this one’s here to stay. There’s been a rise in the propensity to cook from scratch, and we expect this trend to continue with its strong momentum as we adjust to a new normal.

The Rise in Cooking from Scratch

Even as restrictions have eased, Australians are continuing to take a cautious approach as revealed in the ABS’ sixth Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, which found that 87% of Australians have reported spending less on eating out. This has led to a rise in scratch cooking, which has seen grocery’s key cooking categories thrive. 

Following initial COVID spikes through March, Cooking Oils, Herbs & Spices, Cheese, Baking Needs, and Cream are continuing to surge, growing more than 20% in value over the latest 4 weeks vs YA. Meat and Fresh Produce also continue to benefit, as 25% of IRI Shopper Panellists reveal in a recent COVID survey that they’re buying more fresh foods.

Scratch Cooking – The Positives

Initially born out of necessity through forced lockdown, and as a way of reducing the financial burden in this recessionary environment, the rise in cooking from scratch has proven to be more than just that.

Pre-COVID, more than 70% of IRI’s panellists aspired to cook from scratch most of the time, as it provides a sense of purpose and fulfilment. The lockdown has only intensified this mindset, serving as a vehicle to entertain and reconnect as families report feeling closer following the initial lockdown.

Australian households are seeking inspiration for that next culinary adventure. Meal ideas that are fresh, exciting and guaranteed to impress the family. Reality TV show Master Chef has no doubt been one source of inspiration, recording its highest-rating season launch in five years.

The Opportunity

We are also seeing brands inspire and enable through social media. One such example has been Extra Virgin Olive Oil Producer Cobram Estate enabling viewers through live cooking demonstrations on their Instagram page from Nutrition Expert Dr. Joanna McMillan and former Masterchef contestants Hayden Quinn, Justine Schofield and Matt Sinclair. Here they share delicious recipes that are fresh, healthy and easy to whip up on any given night of the week.

Meeting shopper’s greater demand for convenience is becoming increasingly important as we see shifts in grocery spend to online. In early June Woolworths announced a strategic partnership with high-flying subscription-based meal kit provider Marley Spoon as they aim to capitalise on this trend.

A clear bright spot exists in satisfying the hunger for new and exciting recipes. An opportunity for retailers and suppliers alike to experiment and offer new products with unique flavour variations, and dial-up unique product attributes around fresh, healthy, and organic to tap into the growing interest in this space.

Expect this trend to continue with its strong momentum as IRI’s recent shopper survey found that 66% of Australians will continue to create meals from scratch more often.

Daniel Tester, Insights Consultant, IRI.

For more information on how IRI can provide data and insights to grow your business, visit, or contact us at +61 2 8789 4000.

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