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Despite increasing signs of economic recovery, Americans won’t soon forget their newly learned frugality, according to a new survey released by Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra Foods. Four in five Americans (79 percent) surveyed even said they don’t feel like the recession is over, and seven in 10 (71 percent) insisted they would stick to the habits they adopted during the worst of the economic downturn.
Among the survey’s additional findings:
—In the past year, 75 percent of respondents have cooked more meals at home and said they would continue to do so
—Two-thirds (68 percent) said cooking at home has resulted in their families becoming closer
—Three in five (61 percent) said they now enjoy cooking more
—Four in five (79 percent) said they would continue to save through the use of coupons, store specials or a budget, and two-thirds (63 percent) will keep cutting back on premium purchases
—Two-thirds (67 percent) of those respondents said they’ve enjoyed becoming better bargain hunters
—Half (49 percent) of those already cutting back will freeze more meals, and two in five (38 percent) will continue to stretch meals
—Around one-third of consumers have sought to save money by make meals go further through the use of water or canned foods, or by purchasing more frozen or prepared meals
While the economy ushered many consumers into their kitchens — some for the first time — many felt right at home there and intend to stay on. Half of all survey respondents (52 percent) said they expect to cook more in the coming year than they did last year, and among younger consumers (ages 18 to 34), an impressive 72 percent said they would cook more.
Seventy-one percent of younger Americans have begun preparing new dishes, although 59 percent admitted that they don’t always know what they’re doing and that they’d like to be better cooks. Still, they claimed to enjoy cooking more than the general population does, by a rate of 75 percent to 61 percent.
One reason could be that younger shoppers think cooking leads to more family time. Eighty-one (81) percent said cooking brings their family closer together, vs. just 68 percent of the general population.
The survey, which was conducted for ConAgra by Caravan, reports the results of a late March telephone survey of 1,018 adults comprising 509 men and 509 women 18 and older, living in private households in the continental United States.