Cooking fulfils the basic human need to eat, but it also does far more than that; it is inextricably intertwined with the state of a country’s health, its economy and the environment. Cookpad, the world’s largest community platform for sharing recipe ideas and cooking tips, believes how much time people spend cooking, who cooks, what resources they use, and how and with whom they share their meals are all windows into our society.
Cookpad partnered with the Gallup World Poll to conduct the first-ever global analysis of cooking across the world. Since 2018, the Gallup and Cookpad study has collected nationally representative data from more than 100 countries each year. Now in its third year, this survey focuses on the frequency of home cooking and eating, as well as who is cooking in households.
The global pandemic and accompanying lockdowns likely drove people back into their own kitchens but result from the latest Gallup and Cookpad study show this was already happening more often in some parts of the world. When countries experience social unrest related to political and economic strife, it can lead to an increase in people staying home to cook and eat meals, rather than dining out or consuming pre-prepared foods.
While cooking habits were stable across most countries between 2018 and 2019, in 13 countries, the average number of meals people were cooking increased or decreased by at least 15%. Many of the countries where cooking habits changed substantially in 2019 also experienced a series of economic or social shocks, which may have prompted changes in people's lives, including their cooking habits.
The data also reveal how households share – or do not share – the task of cooking. Looking at dinner -- a key mealtime that brings together families or communities to not only eat, but also form connections and deepen bonds -- 40% of people frequently eat and prepare home-cooked dinners. People in this group are predominantly female (72% female vs. 28% male). Worldwide, women are more than twice as likely to be in this group than men, with 57% of all women frequently cooking and eating at home, compared with 22% of men.
Conversely, another 33% of people worldwide frequently eat home-cooked dinners but rarely prepare them. This male-dominated group (75% male vs. 25% female) is particularly prevalent in societies where there are relatively large gender gaps in key areas of human development as defined by the International Development Association gender equality rating and the UNDP Gender Inequality Index.
The results from the latest Gallup and Cookpad study add to the growing body of what the world knows about the role that cooking plays in people's lives. Gallup collected and is analyzing data from more than 100 countries in 2020, and we expect to learn even more, as we anticipate significant changes in home cooking trends.