Share this

Email this

LIFE AT HOME REPORT #2: TASTING THE MOMENTS

Welcome to the IKEA Life at Home Report #2. We've asked 8,500 people in New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, Moscow, Mumbai and Shanghai about their everyday thoughts and habits in and around their kitchens, to find out how the moments around food affect their wellbeing.

An important ingredient in any good meal is togetherness. So how do we get the experience of intimacy when gathering around an actual dinner table isn't always possible?
Having an organised kitchen isn’t all about looks. It’s actually the key to eating well. Making simple changes in our kitchens can help us see and eat more of the food inside our cupboards.
Growing our own food is about much more than saving money. But could it actually make life at home happier?
Cooking is about more than taste and nutrition. Could it also play a small part in making our everyday lives a little better?
As it turns out, you should thank your parents for insisting that you try and taste everything on your plate. Let's find out how our childhood food memories influence the way we eat as grown-ups.
Inviting kids into the kitchen is a great way for them to learn about food and cooking. But could these culinary lessons also improve teamwork, creativity and build confidence?
Making a meal with others is an excellent opportunity to bond and practice good teamwork. What can we learn about ourselves from cooking with others?
Eating together is arguably one of the best ways to bond with others. How is social media creating new ways for us to connect through food?

Longing for more together time

Food and drink are central to our traditions. In our previous Life at Home Report we found that for all the focus on the tradition of dinner, breakfast is often overlooked as an opportunity to spend time together. This year we’ve had a look at how togetherness is created beyond the dinner table. After all, research by Cornell University has proven that it’s the bonding time with friends and family that’s important – not where and how we choose to share a meal. Households today, from Shanghai and Moscow to Stockholm and New York, are finding it difficult to get together over a meal. Our study shows that as many as one in three people living alone wish they could eat together with others more often during weekdays. This sentiment is most common in Berlin where more than 4 in 10 single households long for more together time at home around food.

34%

…of people living alone wish they could eat together with others more often

Families face the same challenges. Nearly a quarter of couples with children feel they aren’t eating together as often as they would like, and for one out of ten parents that brings a feeling of guilt. Trying to stick to traditions of the past can add extra pressure. This is particularly true for single parents who are most likely to feel guilty over the fact that they’re not eating together with their family often enough. However, it’s not only time and distance that stand in the way of us getting together. Our expectations on what eating at home should be like is another obstacle. A quarter of people living alone in Paris feel that the size of their home is a major barrier to having people over.

Longing for more together time

Want to eat together with others more often

Single
households
Living
together
  • 36%

    20%

    Stockholm

  • 29%

    22%

    New York

  • 33%

    28%

    London

  • 28%

    16%

    Mumbai


  • 36%

    21%

    Paris

  • 42%

    29%

    Berlin

  • 15%

    23%

    Moscow

  • 11%

    16%

    Shanghai

Question: If you think about how often you eat together at home with the people you live with on weekdays: Which of the following statements best describe how you feel about it?

Modern traditions

Our study shows that the kitchen has become a place for any and every home activity, and meals have broken free from their traditional domain and migrated to other places – the sofa, bed, floor or desk. Although this behaviour is more common for younger folks, it’s clearly a global trend. A majority of people today have their meals outside the kitchen or dining room once or several times every week. In some cities these new traditions are especially evident – 54% of all Berliners don’t eat in their kitchens at all on weekdays. In other parts of the world however, the dinner table is still the undisputed social epicenter – 6 of 10 Moscovites always eat here during weekdays. Our new traditions are changing where, how and when we eat. The good news is that the benefits we get from eating together can be had anywhere, whether it be a sofa dinner, a window sill date or even sharing that dish you made in solitude with your friends via social media. BBC chef Andy Bates urges us to build our own traditions around family and food: ”And I mean family in the broadest sense – housemates, couples, friends, whatever your group is.” The recipe for togetherness might not be so complicated after all.

The new normal?

36% never eat in kitchen or dining room during weekdays

Main barriers eating together on weekdays

Family households

  • Different schedules

    54%

  • Lack of time

    25%

  • Hard to get everyone to eat in the same place

    16%

  • We eat different things

    16%

  • We prefer to eat out

    8%

  • Lack of space at home

    7%

Main barriers eating together on weekdays

Single households

  • Different schedules

    33%

  • I live too far away

    30%

  • Lack of time

    29%

  • Lack of space at home

    15%

  • I don't like entertaining

    15%

  • It's too messy

    12%

  • I don't like cooking

    11%

  • I don't have enough plates and glasses

    3%

Question: What are the main barriers that stop you from eating together at home (with the people you live with) on weekdays?

Only eat in kitchen or dining room during weekdays

  • Moscow

    60%

  • Stockholm

    37%

  • New York

    27%

  • Paris

    24%

  • Berlin

    23%

  • London

    22%

  • Shanghai

    19%

  • Mumbai

    11%

Never eat in kitchen or dining room during weekdays

  • Berlin

    54%

  • London

    47%

  • Mumbai

    36%

  • Paris

    35%

  • Shanghai

    35%

  • New York

    32%

  • Stockholm

    31%

  • Moscow

    18%

“How would you feel if a friend looked in your kitchen?”

Good
Uncomfortable or ashamed
  • 46%

    14%

    Stockholm

  • 43%

    15%

    New York

  • 35%

    17%

    London

  • 50%

    10%

    Mumbai


  • 35%

    19%

    Paris

  • 35%

    16%

    Berlin

  • 36%

    13%

    Moscow

  • 62%

    9%

    Shanghai

Question: How would you feel if a friend looked in your kitchen?

How we organise our kitchens can affect what we eat

Our study reveals that people around the world are more concerned about how their kitchen looks than about the contents of their cupboards and fridges. This may come as no surprise, given the kitchen’s central and increasingly open location in our homes. Mumbaikars and Shanghaians are the most relaxed about how their kitchens appear to others. Whereas Parisians are more concerned about theirs, with one in five feeling uncomfortable or even ashamed of having friends in their kitchen. Basically, we tend to feel most at ease with others in our kitchen when it’s tidy and clean.The good news is that getting them in order has other benefits too. How we organise our kitchens can in fact affect our eating behaviour. According to Brian Wansink, Professor of Behaviour Change and author of “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think”, the principle of convenience tells us that, what we eat and how much we eat depends on how convenient it is for us to get to it. In other words, the more we see it, the more likely we’ll eat it.

Cupboard castaways

Being more mindful of how we organise our food at home doesn’t just affect what we put into our bodies, but also what we empty into our bins. We can all relate to the experience of returning home from the grocery store only to discover that some of the items you bought were already in your cupboard. In fact, one in five households in our study accidentally double up on food and drink items on a regular basis. These twin products often get pushed to the back of the cupboard and risk being thrown away when they go out of date. The results of our study show that a quarter of urbanites feel bad about the amount of food they throw away. In some cities this feeling is more widespread, like in Shanghai where 4 in 10 feel bad. But in other cities like Paris and Berlin less than 2 in 10 feel bad about the amount of food they throw away each week.

Kitchen appearance most important

TOP REASONS:

”I would feel good”

  • It is clean and sanitary

    62%

  • It is well organized and tidy

    57%

  • I have good food in there

    45%

  • I have a well- stocked kitchen

    45%

  • I like the way my kitchen looks

    44%

  • I have nice kitchen equipment

    40%

  • My kitchen has a personal touch

    30%

TOP REASONS:

”I would feel uncomfortable or ashamed”

  • It is messy and untidy

    33%

  • It is small and crowded

    27%

  • It is dirty and needs cleaning

    23%

  • I have a poorly stocked kitchen (e.g. fridge, cupboards)

    21%

  • It looks ugly (e.g. bad design)

    20%

  • They would get the wrong picture of me

    13%

  • I have a lot of food products in poor condition (e.g. old or outdated)

    9%

  • I have a lot of unhealthy food

    8%

Question: How would you feel if a friend looked in your kitchen?

Tidying up our food habits

According to Professor Wansink’s research, people make over 200 food-related decisions every day, most of which they can’t explain. However, we can have influence over our everyday food choices by making healthy food and drinks easy to see and the not-so-healthy stuff more invisible. Could reorganising our kitchens help us consume more of what we should, rather than what is easiest? Not to mention avoiding buying more than we need or unnecessarily wasting what we buy. Wansink calls this the “see-food” diet – healthy foods up front at eye-level in the fridge and healthy snacks instead of candy in a clear kitchen counter jar. Or as Japanese tidiness expert Marie Kondo puts it, the key to tidiness is to know where your things are so you use them as much (or as little) as you intended. So, perhaps a little tidying up in our kitchens can help us tidy up our food habits too.

1 in 5

Often buy products only to find they already had them at home

Food waste anxiety

  • 19%

    Stockholm

  • 27%

    New York

  • 24%

    London

  • 30%

    Mumbai


  • 18%

    Paris

  • 18%

    Berlin

  • 20%

    Moscow

  • 40%

    Shanghai

Statement: I feel bad about the amount of food I throw away each week

Inviting nature in

To some, growing is a hobby or a pastime. And according to our study, metropolitans have many reasons for growing: for fun, to decorate their homes and to have fresh produce available when they cook are some of the most stated ones. Others see growing as a way of inviting living things into their homes. In fact, six in ten of all people acrosss the cities in our study are bringing nature into their urban homes and neighbourhoods. Gardening in this general sense is most widely rooted in Shanghai where three quarters grow something at home. Decorative plants and flowers are the norm in Shanghai and Mumbai. New Yorkers are just as likely to grow vegetables as flowers.

6 in 10

GROW SOMETHING

  • 40%

    Flowers or other decorative plants

  • 28%

    Herbs

  • 23%

    Vegetables

  • 15%

    Fruits

  • 40%

    I don't grow anything

Question: Do you grow any of the following?

The puzzle of growing green

It is said that nature always finds a way. But our study shows that the barriers for growing in cities are many. Even among those who don’t grow plants at home, almost half say it’s something they would like to do. Although time pressure is a constant in urban life and some undoubtedly lack green thumbs, the main challenge to urban growing is finding the right space. Not everyone has a balcony, which is where most home gardening takes place. Nor does everyone live in a climate that allows them to grow outside their window. But it turns out that growing even the most simple of herbs at home could be almost as satisfying as having your own garden.

Main barriers to growing at home

  • 42%

    I have no place to grow them

  • 28%

    I'm not good at keeping them alive

  • 28%

    I don't have the time

  • 24%

    I'm not interested

  • 17%

    I don't have the right equipment


  • 14%

    I wouldn't know where to start

  • 5%

    It makes my home untidy

  • 5%

    It's too expensive

  • 5%

    None of the following statements

  • 3%

    Don't know

Question: Why don’t you grow plants, vegetables, fruits or herbs at home?

Benefits of growing

Even if there are challenges to growing greenery at home, we can all benefit from many different aspects of growing – from simply caring for something to eating what we’ve grown. Whether it’s the satisfaction of eating something home grown or just the sheer fun of seeing something you’ve planted thrive, city growers actually claim that they enjoy their weekdays more than others. And they say this even as our study shows us that their days are just as stressful as those of the people that don’t grow something at home.

Places we grow in the city

  • On my balcony

    39%

  • In my house or apartment

    33%

  • In my garden

    31%

  • In a flower box outside my window

    19%

  • At my holiday house

    11%

  • Private lot

    11%

  • In a greenhouse

    10%

  • Communal garden

    7%

  • I do "guerilla gardening" (e.g. in public places)

    3%

  • Elsewhere

    2%

Question: Where do you grow?

Top reasons that people grow

  • 46%

    ”It’s fun to grow”

  • 37%

    ”Decorate my home”

  • 32%

    ”To have fresh produce when I cook”

  • 30%

    ”To have living things at home”

  • 29%

    ”It tastes better”

Berliners have the biggest kitchen confidence

Scale 0-10, 10: Very confident, 0: Not confident at all. Showing share of answers 7-10.

  • 73%

    Stockholm

  • 81%

    New York

  • 76%

    London

  • 80%

    Mumbai


  • 75%

    Paris

  • 84%

    Berlin

  • 82%

    Moscow

  • 79%

    Shanghai

Question: How confident do you feel cooking at home?

Food for thought

Even though six in ten people in the surveyed cities enjoy cooking a lot, making everyday meals isn’t fun for everyone. To those who feel the least confident in the kitchen, cooking on weekdays carries with it feelings of reluctance, boredom and a lack of inspiration. To those with the most kitchen confidence, everyday cooking is a source of fun, inspiration and relaxation. But the really good news is this: our research shows that even when making a meal feels like a chore, everyday cooking can still be positive for your wellbeing.

The eternal quest for more time

There are a multitude of reasons why everyday cooking is a challenge. But what it mostly boils down to for the people in the cities we’ve studied, is the lack of time. According to our study, Muscovites struggle the most with half of them not finding enough time to cook on weekdays. A lack of everyday inspiration is the second most common challenge. More so in Stockholm and Paris than anywhere else. For Stockholmers, it’s almost as big of an issue as time.

Top feelings for everyday cooking

People with most kitchen confidence

  • 42%

    Fun

  • 39%

    Routine

  • 33%

    Relaxation

  • 32%

    Joy

  • 24%

    Inspiration

Top feelings for everyday cooking

People with least kitchen confidence

  • Lack of inspiration

    34%

  • Boredom

    33%

  • Routine

    32%

  • Reluctance

    28%

  • Stress

    21%

Question: What feelings best describe how you usually feel when cooking on weekdays?

Bite-sized cooking for the better

People who cook more often on weekdays find their days just as stressful as those who cook less. But there is an upside: those who cook more also enjoy their everyday life a little more. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, therapists have even started using cooking as a therapy tool since it eases stress, builds self-esteem and curbs negative thinking by focusing the mind on following a recipe. The kitchen has become an important place for self-expression. And while that sounds like serious stuff, maybe we should try to embrace a playful attitude towards cooking? Finished meals aren't just a means to an end – it seems like it's also the journey that matters with all the mishaps and small personal victories made along the way. There really seems to be a case for getting around to more of those little kitchen moments as they may well lead to less stress and increased mindfulness.

Time is the biggest hurdle to everyday cooking

  • Lack of time

    42%

  • Lack of inspiration

    19%

  • Lack of skills

    17%

  • Lack of interest

    15%

  • My partner or someone else in the household usually does the cooking

    12%

  • Take-out is more convenient

    11%

  • Lack of space in my kitchen

    11%

Question: What would you say are the biggest barriers for you to cook at home on weekdays?

How often do we cook at home on weekdays?

Practically every day
Once a week or less often
  • 54%

    14%

    Stockholm

  • 46%

    12%

    New York

  • 49%

    14%

    London

  • 47%

    24%

    Mumbai


  • 49%

    19%

    Paris

  • 38%

    20%

    Berlin

  • 43%

    15%

    Moscow

  • 49%

    17%

    Shanghai

Question: How often do you cook at home on weekdays?

”Enjoy cooking a lot”

Scale 0-10, 10: Enjoy very much, 0: Don’t enjoy at all. Showing share of answers 7-10.

  • 54%

    Stockholm

  • 63%

    New York

  • 58%

    London

  • 63%

    Mumbai

  • 60%

    Paris

  • 55%

    Berlin

  • 53%

    Moscow

  • 63%

    Shanghai

Question: How much would you say you enjoy cooking?

What do you want to eat when you grow up?

Hopefully, most of us have fond childhood memories of our family meals. Do these moments influence us as we grow up and leave our parents' kitchens? According to Professor Tim Jacob, from Cardiff University's School of Biosciences, our preferences for food do indeed seem to stay with us. Our own study supports this and points to the fact that we may actually be more influenced by our past food habits and experiences than we realise. For example, those who remember themselves as being picky with food as a child turn out to be more bored with their weekday meals than others. A third of them even admit to dismissing foods they never actually tried. And yet as many as 6 in 10 of these very same people wished they would try more new types of foods.

1 in 4

…say they were picky with food as a child

It’s good for you

They say variety is the spice of life. It can also be the key to a healthy diet. At least according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, which urges us to ‘try new recipes’ and to ‘explore the produce aisle and choose something new’. And as many as 7 in 10 in our study enjoy trying new types of food a lot. But the weekday grind often means that our menus remain mostly the same. This is especially true for breakfasts, as more than half of our metropolitans start their days with a default morning meal. Even dinners across the globe seem to leave plenty of room for more variation, seeing that four in ten of urban dwellers eat the same dish several nights a week. In Moscow and Mumbai, more than fifty percent eat the same meals more than once a week. And one in five in Stockholm, New York and Moscow admit that they are bored with what they eat on weekdays.

Weekday variation

BREAKFAST

”I eat more or less the same thing every day”

  • 64%

    Stockholm

  • 50%

    New York

  • 56%

    London

  • 53%

    Mumbai


  • 64%

    Paris

  • 44%

    Berlin

  • 47%

    Moscow

  • 36%

    Shanghai

DINNER

”I eat more or less the same thing every day”

  • 28%

    Stockholm

  • 49%

    New York

  • 40%

    London

  • 54%

    Mumbai


  • 40%

    Paris

  • 44%

    Berlin

  • 51%

    Moscow

  • 33%

    Shanghai

Question: Please think about the meals you typically eat Monday to Friday – which of the following statements best describes your breakfast/dinner

Go ahead, try something new

Are we turning down new food and experiences out of habit rather than choice? It turns out that metropolitans who manage to vary what they put on their plate from day to day do enjoy their weekdays a little more. Maybe if we realised that our childhood food memories might be getting in the way of us trying new foods, we could get out of our comfort zone, be more curious and put a little more excitement into our week.

"I want to try new foods more often"

Question: Which of the following statements do you agree with?

”I’m bored with the food I eat at home on weekdays”

  • 20%

    Stockholm

  • 21%

    New York

  • 16%

    London

  • 18%

    Mumbai

  • 12%

    Paris

  • 15%

    Berlin

  • 21%

    Moscow

  • 5%

    Shanghai

Question: Which of the following statements do you agree with?

”I enjoy trying new types of foods a lot”

Scale 0-10, 10: Enjoy very much, 0: Don’t enjoy at all. Showing share of answers 7-10.

  • 72%

    Stockholm

  • 68%

    New York

  • 65%

    London

  • 72%

    Mumbai

  • 64%

    Paris

  • 60%

    Berlin

  • 65%

    Moscow

  • 78%

    Shanghai

Question: How much would you say you enjoy trying new types of food?

22%

"There are foods I say I don't like even though I have never tried them..."

9 in 10

parents involve their children in some way around food

We want more kids in our kitchens

We've heard it before – involving kids in the kitchen is one of the best ways of building healthy food and eating habits. Provided the food we cook is healthy, of course. As Dr Maya Adam, professor of child health and nutrition at Stanford University puts it: ‘by involving kids in the cooking process, they learn to love the foods that will support good health and enjoyment throughout their lifetimes’. This notion is clearly echoed in the results of our eight cities study, which show that 9 in 10 parents involve their children in the activities around food and that a majority think it’s an important thing to do. In Berlin and Shanghai, this sentiment is shared by as many as eight in ten parents.

Concern for our little ones

Having kids help out in the kitchen can bring up other aspects of parenting, such as being concerned about the best way to do things. And with advice from everyone from nutritionists to celebrity chefs, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Our study reveals that for parents, keeping kids out of the kitchen has to do with their concern for their kids’ needs. “Will they hurt themselves?". "Are they too busy?". Parents are also worried that it may create too much mess. Mumbaikar and Shanghainese parents are amongst those who feel it’s most important that their kids help out with the food, but are also the most anxious about their little ones hurting themselves or simply being too young to start.

66%

Of parents think it’s important that their children are involved in activities around food

  • 52%

    Stockholm

  • 60%

    New York

  • 66%

    London

  • 74%

    Mumbai

  • 52%

    Paris

  • 76%

    Berlin

  • 60%

    Moscow

  • 81%

    Shanghai

Question:How important is it that your children help out in some way with food-related activities? Showing share of answers ”Very important” and ”Important”.

Participation is everything

The good news is that kids learn and understand a great deal from just doing the little things. And this goes beyond the cooking process; counting by measuring flour but also planning when grocery shopping, getting creative choosing napkin colours or just practicing the teamwork involved in making an everday dinner great. As author and family therapist Jesper Juul points out, by taking on real-life responsibilities at home and seeing us being adults, children are essentially practicing being adults. It might actually surprise us what tasks they actually enjoy, like picking their favourite vegetables at the store or scrubbing a greasy stove shiny again. Berlin parents involve their children in more activities around food than in any other city in our study; from meal planning and grocery shopping to setting and clearing the table as well as helping out in the kitchen during cooking. The study also shows that they worry less than parents in other cities about the whats and hows of letting their children participate. Perhaps Berlin can serve as an inspiration? Maybe instead of letting our concerns become an obstacle, we could let curious kids in on the fun around food.

Children’s needs: the main concern for parents

  • They are too young to help

    29%

  • They are too busy with their own activities to help out

    27%

  • I'm worried that they will hurt themselves

    19%

  • It creates too much stress

    19%

  • It's too time consuming to have them help out

    16%

  • It's hard for them to reach and use things to help out

    14%

  • It takes too much effort to have them help out

    13%

Question: What are the main barriers preventing you from involving your child(ren) the activities around food during weekdays?
Showing answers for top concerns.

Children’s activities around food on weekdays

Plan

  • 36%

    Help to choose what we all eat (breakfast, lunch, or dinner)

  • 27%

    Plan meals decide what to buy

Shop

  • 39%

    Shop / go to the store

  • 40%

    Unpack / store groceries at home


Prepare meals

  • 30%

    Perpare for cooking (taking out groceries, pots and pans etc.)

  • 35%

    Help with cooking (cutting, measuring, rinsing, stirring etc.)

  • 45%

    Set / decorate the table

Clean up

  • 48%

    Clear the dishes off the table

  • 33%

    Wash the dishes / put the dishes in the dishwasher

  • 30%

    Help with waste sorting

Personalities in the mix

Like any other group activity, cooking with others is an excellent opportunity for us to hone our social skills. Not to mention learn new things about ourselves. A majority of metropolitans in our study cherish spending time in the kitchen with friends, partners or children. As many as one in five say it's a favourite thing to do. Mumbaikars value togetherness around the stove most highly, where one in three say it’s one of their favourite ways of spending time with other people. The French mindset, however, is a bit different from that of other urbanites. Parisians are more focused on cooking time as me-time, as almost a third of them prefer to cook by themselves.

52%Enjoy cooking with others a lot

Scale 0-10, 10: Enjoy very much, 0: Don’t enjoy at all. Showing share of answers 7-10.

  • 51%

    Stockholm

  • 56%

    New York

  • 45%

    London

  • 59%

    Mumbai


  • 43%

    Paris

  • 46%

    Berlin

  • 46%

    Moscow

  • 64%

    Shanghai

Question: How much would you say you enjoy cooking together with others?

Gender equality in the kitchen

In Stockholm, Shanghai and New York men and women feel equally confident around the stove. And among young adults under 30 years old in New York, men have more kitchen confidence than women on average. This may be an encouraging sign of growing equality and shared responsibilities at home.

Male and female confidence in the kitchen

Scale 0-10, 10: Very confident, 0: Not confident at all. Showing share of answers 7-10.

Men
Women
  • 73%

    73%

    Stockholm

  • 82%

    79%

    New York

  • 73%

    79%

    London

  • 74%

    89%

    Mumbai


  • 72%

    77%

    Paris

  • 80%

    87%

    Berlin

  • 75%

    88%

    Moscow

  • 78%

    80%

    Shanghai

Question: How confident do you feel cooking at home?

Learning by doing

When cooking together we get to see other peoples' points of view and feel the joy of reaching a goal together, which boosts our confidence. And according to research from UCLA, we’re not only creating a happy experience out of what could be a chore, we’re also setting the stage for more productive conversations with each other in the future. However, our study tells us that the most confident cooks, are actually more likely to feel a little stressed when letting other people join in. On the other hand, some recognise that they have learnt things about themselves through cooking with others. This experience is shared by as many as a third of all Mumbaikars. Learning to work together in the kitchen can be a great way to get to know ourselves and others better, through things like problem solving. Margaret Paul, Ph.D. and bestselling author and relationship expert thinks so, and claims that cooking together ‘tests your communication, as well as your ability to collaborate and compromise.’ In the end, even if the food doesn't turn out exactly as planned (does it ever?), maybe there’s something we can all gain from the time spent together and learn about ourselves and others by cooking togehter.

16%I have learnt things about myself that became more evident while cooking with others

  • 11%

    Stockholm

  • 18%

    New York

  • 15%

    London

  • 32%

    Mumbai


  • 10%

    Paris

  • 9%

    Berlin

  • 12%

    Moscow

  • 17%

    Shanghai

Question: Think about cooking together with others. Which of the following statements describe what that’s like for you?

”Cooking with others can often be stressful”

Most confident in kitchen
Least confident in kitchen
  • 14%

    3%

    Stockholm

  • 17%

    6%

    New York

  • 19%

    11%

    London

  • 15%

    8%

    Mumbai


  • 11%

    8%

    Paris

  • 16%

    8%

    Berlin

  • 8%

    15%

    Moscow

  • 4%

    2%

    Shanghai

Question: Think about cooking together with others. Which of the following statements describe what that’s like for you? Kitchen confidence, Scale 0-10. 10: Very confident, 0: Not confident at all. Most confident: 7-10, Least confident: 0-3

52%

Think it's annoying when people use their mobile devices when eating together

Digital food: distracting or delightful?

For many of us, smartphones and social media have become an integral part of our weekday, not least around food and eating. We love to share our recipes and our accomplishments in the kitchen via our social networks. And whilst not everyone has embraced sharing their own experiences online, research from the Hartman Group shows that people are exploring what others are creating in social media, far more than they are creating content themselves. According to our own study, whether it’s pictures of someone’s “ordinary” breakfast, new exotic recipes or celebrity chefs on YouTube, more than six in ten have looked for food inspiration online. In other words, the breakfast picture you tweeted this morning, might well be someone elses inspiration for their breakfast tomorrow.

For some, however, it can feel like these devices are getting in the way of connecting with others when eating together, rather than a way of inviting more people to the table. Our study shows that as many as three in four Berliners find it annoying when people use social media whilst eating together and one in ten even say they don’t allow them at all during mealtimes. All in all, one third of people across the cities in our study would actually prefer it if no-one was allowed to use social media when eating together.

6 in 10

Explore
social media about food

3 in 10

Create
social media about food

3 in 10

Question: What of the following have you done? Explore: search for recipes, look at food pictures for inspiration, watch cooking videos etc. Create: post recipes or pictures of food, blog about food etc.

Together alone

Food communicates across continents, cultures and generations. But food in social media doesn’t just connect us to people in far away lands. More than anything it allows us to share moments around food with those closest to us. The most common use of social media in all cities is actually interacting with friends or family when eating alone by chatting, texting or sending a picture of whatever is on the plate. And for the many people in urban areas living alone, that can mean eating by themselves becomes a little less lonely. So perhaps we should think less of social media as something that gets in the way and see it for what it is: another way for us to connect through food.

1 in 4

young (18-29) people living alone, think social media makes it less lonely to eat alone

Question: Think about how you feel about smartphones and other mobile devices during mealtimes at home. Which of the following statements are true for you?

About the report

This is the second part of our IKEA Life at Home Report series, where we explore the life at home of people all over the globe. This time, we have taken a closer look at how people meet and eat in and around the kitchen. The report is based on existing IKEA research, other published studies and a new survey where we have explored the food routines, habits and wishes of people around the world – from what we grow to how we store, cook, eat, socialise around food.

At IKEA we have lots of experience, knowledge and insights about people’s lives at home from listening to the needs and dreams of our customers. With the Life at Home Report we want to share our insights, raise awareness and interest, spark debate and contribute towards creating a better everyday life.

The IKEA Life at Home Report is divided into two parts. In the first part we share insights based on our new survey and existing IKEA research, augmented with other reputable and published study findings from experts and opinion leaders from a variety of backgrounds. We’ve also visited and photographed eight different households in the eight cities to give a better understanding of what everyday life at home around food can look like. In the second part we encourage you to try our digital tool – the Data Mixing Board – where you can discover interesting connections by mixing the survey’s raw data on the life around food.

The data was collected in two steps. First, we asked 8,527 people in Berlin, London, Moscow, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Shanghai and Stockholm about their everyday thoughts and habits in and around the kitchen. The data from these eight cities were collected between March 5th and 17th, and made part of the report insights. Between April 13th and May 12th we conducted the survey in three additional cities: Copenhagen, Zürich and Sydney. In July 2015 the data from the three new cities were implemented in the Data Mixing Board. All in all, 11,729 answers were collected, with respondents evenly distributed between cities.

Press Room

text version


Download report

pdf version


Download report