Eating changes caused by the pandemic were markedly different between men and women, according to a new study.
The survey by Murphy Research, conducted in late March, basically showed that women were more interested in cooking at home – or at least, more likely to take up the burden. During the pandemic, among respondents who identified themselves as “nutrition-engaged,” the percentage of women who said they cooked at home at least six days a week ranged up to 68%; with men, it never cracked 60%.
“Only women actually cooked at home more; men’s cooking remained similar to pre-pandemic,” the Murphy Research report states. “Instead of cooking, men increased their regular consumption of delivery/takeout, frozen meals, and prepared meals from grocery, while women did not. More men continued to dine out regularly compared to women.”
That situation has implications for restaurant eating patterns post-pandemic, the report notes. While women “may be especially excited to be waited on” after more than a year of avoiding restaurants, “they may also be slower than men to return to previous levels of dining out because they have been more conscientious about staying away.”
On the positive side, the report predicts that consumers will be more likely to cook at home more often after the pandemic than they were before, with their newly honed cooking skills. In addition, “the ability to prioritize family dinners was a pandemic bright spot. Family dinners provide both emotional and functional benefits, and families want to hang on to these routines as much as they can.”
According to the survey results, at the pandemic’s height, as many as 73% of “nutrition-conscious” families with children under 18 said they planned dinner most or all of the time, compared with 63% in the last quarter before the pandemic.