By now we’ve all read about how people have changed their eating and cooking habits during the quarantine. But how exactly are they using their Instant Pots, arguably the runaway countertop cooking success story of the last few years, and the first cooking gadget many millennials ever purchased on their own?
To find out, I decided to check in with the maker of the Instant Pot appliance and they shared some data on exactly how people are using their multicookers ever since the pandemic forced the entire world to stay home and start cooking.
One of the big things that changed is the cyclicality of the normal cooking week. In a typical non-pandemic week, Sunday is the biggest day for Instant Pot by a substantial margin, with 25% off all cooking activity occurring on the day of rest.
During quarantine, cooking days have become more evenly distributed as people are home pretty much all the time and Sunday only accounts for 17% of cooking activity. Conversely, Friday, which normally represents the weekly cooking activity nadir, has jumped from 9% of all cooking activity to 13% during the quarantine.
Apparently you can make bread with your Instant Pot (who knew?), and just like with pretty much every other cooking device, the multifunction cooker has seen a sharp increase in loavemaking. The chart above shows how total searches for bread recipes jumped 700% right as the US went into social distancing in early March. Interestingly, this increase is almost identical to the 800% jump in breadmaker sales that happened at the same time.
The search for comfort has also been well-documented. That embrace of more carb-centric food has meant a significant drop in vegan and vegetarian diets, where searches dropped 82% by the week after social distancing had been announced.
And it wasn’t just plant-forward diets that took a hit during coronavirus, as Keto-centric recipes saw a 70% drop in the searches in the same time period.
The big question is will all of these forced changes brought on by the jarring impact of a forced quarantine stick around? My guess is some of the behavior change will have some staying power beyond summer as consumers adjust to lower overall incomes and continue to cook at home more as they head back to work (even at reduced or moderated schedules), but that we will see (and already are seeing) some partial snap-backs to behaviors and routines that were in place before the quarantine.