Which countries are top of the cooking charts?

GfK has asked consumers across 22 countries about how knowledgeable, experienced and passionate they are about food and cooking – with surprising results.

Which countries are top of the cooking charts?

For the survey, the market research consultancy interviewed over 27,000 people aged 15 or older in 22 countries, either online or face-to-face, in summer 2014. The countries are: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK, Ukraine and USA.

Internationally, people who cook said that on average, they spend just under six and a half hours a week doing so. Women cited just over seven and a half hours compared with men’s five hours.

The top five most active countries are India, Ukraine, South Africa, Indonesia and Italy. In India and Ukraine, people spend just over 13 hours a week cooking, falling to nine and a half hours for South Africa. Indonesia is next with more than eight hours, followed by Italy, just topping seven hours.

The least active countries are Brazil (slightly more than five hours), Turkey (slightly less than five hours) and South Korea, which trails well behind at less than four hours, possibly due to the popularity of its inexpensive street food carts.

When asked how often respondents cook purely for fun, rather than necessity, 30% of both men and women said they cook for fun at least once a week – and a further quarter claimed to do so every day or most days (33% of women and 2% of men).

When it comes to knowledge and experience of food and cooking, overall 29% claim to have ‘great’ knowledge. South Africa and India top the list, with around half of respondents (50% and 48%espectively) agreeing, or agreeing strongly, that this applies to them. Also in the top five are Turkey and Ukraine at 40% each and Indonesia at 38%.

At the bottom end of the scale are Spain, France, Russia and Australia – with just one in five believing they have great knowledge and experience with food and cooking. These are followed by Belgium at 19% and South Korea trailing well behind at only 13%.

Looking at genders, an average 37% of women and 27% of men across all 22 countries agree that they are ‘really passionate’ about food and cooking. Interestingly, when looking at individual countries, the findings show that knowledge and experience of food and cooking does not always relate to passion for cooking.

Turkey, which was joint third for claiming knowledge and experience, falls to seventh place (equal with USA) when asked about passion for cooking, and Ukraine (joint third) slips to 11th place. Instead, Italy and Mexico (seventh and eighth respectively for knowledge) appear in the top five countries claiming cooking passion.

In fact, Italy leads all other countries in this area, with 43% agreeing or agreeing strongly that they are really passionate about food and cooking. It is very closely followed by South Africa (42%), Indonesia and Mexico (40%) and India (39%). By comparison, the lowest ranking countries – Poland, Sweden, Belgium and Russia – all have only about one in five feeling passionate about cooking, while bottom place is again claimed by South Korea, at just 13%.

Udo Jansen, GfK’s global director for tracking sales of small domestic appliances, commented: “This study offers valuable insight for businesses offering food and cooking products or services, especially when combined with our sales trends for electric kitchen appliances worldwide. For example, we’re seeing growing demand for electric food preparation appliances in India, Indonesia and Italy. Our combination of insight and actual sales trends is unbeatable in revealing which markets and consumer segments present the greatest commercial opportunities for our clients.”

GfK’s point of sales (POS) tracking monitors retailer and reseller sales data for electric kitchen appliances, washing machines, tumble driers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, cookers and ovens, hobs and ranges, extractor hoods and microwaves in more than 90 countries worldwide.

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