Sharing a Meal

By Lucinda Pierce, Specialist, Research & Insights, FMI

As an independent person, living alone seemed like a natural and easy transition from life in my parent's home to a place of my own. Though there was much enjoyment in my newfound freedom, no wardens minding my movements or irksome siblings, something was immediately missing — someone to share a meal with.

FMI's U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2024: Eating and Cooking found that 88% of Americans say they believe eating together is at least somewhat important. Within that number, 31% say it is very important and 32% say it's extremely important. In my family, cooking and eating are a love language of their own. The meals we make, the time spent cooking and how we serve, are markers of the labor of love we invest in each other.  

Though different in personality, I bond the most with my father over chopped veggies and delectable aromas. Similar to the 43% of adults who say they "like" or "love" cooking, meal preparation has been our shared passion and provides a sense of comfort and control over our health & well-being. We don't need much to enjoy each other's company — just a shared love of cooking and the simple pleasure of preparing a meal together. And since the age of six, I have enjoyed every opportunity to say I love you through a new recipe.

With a change in my household composition and plenty of love to give, my friends and I commenced a dinner party rotation. From vegetarian nights to soup swaps, each host offers an opportunity to explore new recipes. As one of the 43% of grocery shoppers who rely on routine meals for cooking inspiration, this was a welcomed variety that I won't soon forget. And while we feasted on butternut squash, raspberry chipotle salmon and meals alike we relished the (literal) fruits of our labor.

For me, dining is about the people I share it with, not just the food on the table. My most prized memories are built on laughter and delicious aromas, and the countless meals shared continue to satiate my soul.

Download U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2024: Eating and Cooking