Kitchen Gender Gap Widens, Reversing Course

Worldwide, women prepare 4.7 more meals per week than men, though it's 1.7 in North America
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2023 5:20 PM CDT
Pandemic Cooking Trends Are Over
Americans are back to pre-pandemic kitchen habits.   (Getty / Lyndon Stratford)

Despite scores of people discovering the joys of baking bread, the pandemic home-cooking trend among Americans apparently has reached its shelf life. A new Gallup-Cookpad survey examining 2022 trends across 142 countries shows that in North America, people are back to ordering out or eating in restaurants more than any other region in the world, Axios reports. In fact, folks in the US and Canada have fallen back to pre-pandemic levels of preparing meals at home—about 8.4 per week, roughly the same amount as 2019. In the US alone, the trend was even greater: Americans ate an average of 8.2 meals per week at home in 2022, described as an "historic low."

And when we did share meals at home, women were shouldering the burden of meal prep, according to a summary of the study in the Gallup blog. The survey showed that women cooked 1.7 more meals than men every week in North America. This "cooking gender gap" was worse globally—with women preparing 4.7 more meals per week than men—with one interesting exception. In Italy, men cooked a bit more than women. Worldwide, the cooking gender gap widened for the first time in three years, which "underscores the importance of understanding cultural, societal and economic influences on everyday habits," says Gallup's Joe Daly.

Marriage also played a factor in the gender gap in heterosexual relationships, with married women preparing 6.9 more meals per week than married men. Gender aside, some of the reasons people have returned to eating out include more workers returning to the office and people feeling more comfortable out at restaurants, says Joe Dugan, the study's research director. Meanwhile, as Americans experience sticker shock at the grocery store this year, inflation may affect future trends. Per Spectrum 1, Americans spent over 20% more at restaurants than on groceries in 2022, with the trend expected to grow this year. (Meet the robots who will be soon be making your food.)

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