Is putting leftovers into the fridge a useless endeavor? New research shows the majority of Americans’ leftovers wind up in the trash uneaten.
But it’s not for lack of trying, as 61% said they always refrigerate their leftovers, but they just never get around to eating them.
The study asked 2,000 Americans about their cooking habits and being a solo chef, and results found 66% of respondents said when they cook for themselves, they always accidentally end up making enough food to feed a family.
It’s no wonder then, that three in five respondents said they constantly feel like they’re wasting food when they fly solo in the kitchen.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Gilbert’s Craft Sausages, the survey found the hardest part of cooking for one is having the self-control to even do it, with nearly half (48%) saying they constantly struggle with the urge to order delivery or takeout.
Respondents also said their food never stays hot enough by the time they sit down to eat (43%) and they also feel too stressed after cooking the meal to truly enjoy it (38%).
Forty-six percent of those surveyed also said finding healthy options for single-serve, ready-to-eat meals is another struggle they often face.
Cooking for one isn’t all bad though, as 66% of respondents said this is the perfect opportunity for them to have creative freedom in the kitchen.
Seventy-three percent of pollsters also said a top perk of cooking for only themselves is being able to make their food exactly how they like it.
Conversely, when they cook for others, 64% of respondents feel like they always have to adapt what they’re cooking to fit the needs of others.
Nearly seven in 10 (66%) of those surveyed also shared they prefer to try new recipes on themselves to see if it’s worthy of being presented to a larger group of people.
“Whether for those living alone or preparing a lunch while working from home, the past year has brought new attention to cooking for one and the food waste that often comes with it,” said Chris Salm, founder of Gilbert’s Craft Sausages.
“Individually wrapped and healthy proteins, like our chicken sausages, are an easy way to add flavor to a dish or customize for different diet preferences and restrictions in a household, without resulting in a ton of leftovers that won’t get eaten.”
Forty-eight percent of respondents said they get their recipe inspiration from online articles and blogs, closely followed by good old-fashioned cookbooks (45%).
Other places respondents find inspiration included family recipes and cooking shows, both at 44%, Instagram and social media influencers (35%) and recommendations from friends (28%).
Regardless of the recipe’s origin, the average respondent has five go-to meals they can whip up in no time.
“Solo diners shouldn’t have to sacrifice taste, health or flavor because of limited options,” said Salm of Gilbert’s Craft Sausages. “The last year has taught us that we each need to identify the cooking style and methods that work best for us.”
HARDEST PARTS ABOUT COOKING FOR ONE
- Self-control to not order takeout — 48%
- Healthy options for ready-to-eat meals — 46%
- Trying new things — 43%
- Finding the proper portion size for one — 42%
- Cooking too much/eating leftovers — 37%
- Rewrapping ingredients because I don’t need the full pack — 18%
TOP POINTS OF RECIPE INSPIRATION
- Online articles/blogs — 48%
- Cookbooks — 45%
- Family recipes — 44%
- Cooking shows — 44%
- Instagram or influencers — 35%
- Recommendations from friends — 28%
- Experimenting — 17%
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