How We Cook

A Moen consumer survey reveals gender differences in cooking approach and more
By Alice Liao
September 12, 2012

A recent consumer behavior survey conducted by Moen found that men and women differ in their approach to cooking. It also reaffirmed what some overworked working moms already know: When it comes to meals, they’re still doing the bulk of the grocery shopping, recipe hunting, prepping and cooking, as well as cleaning up.

The study, however, goes beyond just fueling the battle of the sexes. According to Jack Suvak, senior director of market research and insights for Moen, it also aimed to “learn about the types of cooks out there,” of which there are four:
• Forty-two percent of those surveyed are Family Cooks, who actually enjoy cooking and do it frequently. They tend to be caretakers, for whom feeding loved ones a home-cooked meal is a part of fulfilling that role.

• The daredevils in the kitchen, Adventurous Cooks love experimenting with new recipes and will try anything once. The 31 percent who fall into this category are undaunted by complicated cooking techniques and often create without a recipe. For their families, mealtimes carry an element of surprise.

• Another 18 percent prefer not to cook and are considered Carry-Out Cooks. Whipping up anything on a stove or in an oven is neither fun nor an adventure but a chore. And when culinary things get tough in the kitchen, they dial for takeout.

• Fear of failure rules the nine percent of survey respondents who are Cautious Cooks. Sure, they enjoy cooking, but the process is somewhat fraught with anxiety over potential catastrophes such as a sauce that broke, a cake that did not rise, overcooked anything and a souffle that fell. To relieve some of their stress, they stick to reliable recipes or require guidance when trying something new.

If you do the math, 73 percent of the Moen survey respondents derive some pleasure from cooking. Perhaps not surprisingly, added Suvak, “more women are Family Cooks, and more men are Adventurous Cooks.”


Other survey findings relate to topics such as who prepares more meals at home—women do, and men tend to grab breakfast on the run—and where consumers look for culinary inspiration. With the popularity of sites such as www.Epicurious.com and www.Foodnetwork.com, you might think cookbooks are going the way of the dodo. Not so. Although sources of information for all things food and cooking related have grown in type and number, cookbooks are still the top go-to for inspiration. In an addition, having a physical tome of recipes at hand, especially one that’s been passed down and supplemented with handwritten notes in the margins, may offer extra reassurance to Cautious Cooks and could be the next best thing to having an actual teacher by their side.

For couples looking for stats to settle disputes about who does more, Moen’s survey results indicate that women do, at least when preparing meals at home:

• 81 percent of women do the grocery shopping

• 82 percent of women prepare the meal

• 86 percent of women cook the meal

• 80 percent of women clean up afterward

This is not to suggest, however, that men don’t contribute. According to the survey, 52 percent of men are in charge of opening the wine.

Doesn’t seem like much? For some women who’d rather shoulder more of the cooking than clean up chaos in the kitchen, this may be a worthwhile trade-off. After all, when Moen asked consumers who makes a bigger mess in the kitchen, 65 percent of female respondents and 61 percent of male respondents answered that men do. Why is that? “We might chalk it up to all those men with Adventurous Cook energy,” Suvak said.

But if you’re thinking cooking is causing fissures in marriages, think again. More than 50 percent of men and women said they talk to their spouses when they’re preparing a meal. Other activities that occur during meal preparation include watching TV—or just having it on—and listening to music. More than 40 percent of both male and female respondents do the former, and 31 percent of women engage in the latter. Also of interest, approximately 40 percent of men sample the food while cooking.


So who likes doing the dishes? Apparently no one. Most disagreeable among the tasks associated with clean-up is hand-washing pots and pans, followed by putting food away and washing the dishes. More than 80 percent minimize their misery by using a dishwasher, which is a good thing, as doing so is more water-efficient (for an average family, hand-washing uses 43 gallons while a conventional dishwasher uses just roughly 4 to 5 gallons). And more than 80 percent still pre-rinse their dishes even though today’s dishwashers perform perfectly without it.

Know someone with a pet who does the pre-wash for them? According to Moen’s survey, they are in the minority: Roughly 70 percent of respondents claimed that they decline their dogs’ repeated offers to help clear the plates of leftover food after meals.

Moen shared these survey results as a way to highlight the advantages of its much publicized MotionSense hands-free faucet, which was introduced at KBIS this year. For more information on the technology, visit www.moen.com.

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