RICKI Survey Points to Expanding Range Of Non-Traditional Kitchen Activities

by Autumn McGarr

HOUSTON — Nearly one in four homeowners spend more time in their kitchen than they did two years ago, while a sizeable number are involved in an ever-growing range of non-traditional activities, according to a new study conducted by the Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI).

The online survey, conducted in late-2018 among both homeowners and kitchen design professionals, was aimed at determining the activities – beyond the traditional activities of cooking, eating and clean-up – that are taking place in kitchens today.

According to the RICKI survey, nearly one in four surveyed homeowners report that they spend an average of three hours in the kitchen each day. Four in 10 sit at the kitchen table or island and have a meal with family or friends every day, and 16% are doing so more often than they were two years ago, RICKI said. The leading activity taking place in the kitchen that designers say has had the greatest impact is the trend toward more gathering and socializing, the researchers added.

“Today’s homeowners are doing far more than simply preparing, cooking and eating in their kitchen,” RICKI said. “Many consumers informed us that they do several activities simultaneously, multi-tasking in their kitchens, but they don’t even realize they’re doing it.”

According to the Houston-based research firm, the top non-cooking or eating activities taking place in today’s kitchens most often include: feeding pets; listening to music; gathering with family; cleaning household items (besides cooking or cleaning utensils); reading (either print or on a digital device); watching TV/streaming video, and paying bills.

Other non-traditional kitchen activities include gathering with friends; playing games (video games, cards, board games), and doing schoolwork, RICKI noted.

Additional survey findings were as follows:

  • Three in 10 homeowners are dining in more compared to two years ago, while close to one in six homeowners are eating out more.
  • 14 percent of surveyed homeowners have used a subscription meal service, doubling since 2016.
  • The top changes that homeowners feel would make their kitchens function better are to create larger overall footprints and add countertop space.
  • The top ways kitchen design has changed to accommodate homeowners’ latest needs include: additional seating, larger, more open kitchens, dedicated spaces for devices, installing more outlets for “smart spots” and adding dedicated pet centers. Designers also report a greater focus on specific zones beyond the traditional work triangle, more integrated desks and filing cabinets, more hidden storage overall, additional TVs and ensuring Wi-Fi/Bluetooth capability.

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