Mintel: German families "adventurous"

6 Feb 2017

New research from Mintel reveals that families with children across Germany are more adventurous and experimental with their cooking than those without children in the home, and keen to try more exciting recipes.

Mintel: German families adventurous

While children are notorious for their fussy eating habits, new research from Mintel reveals that despite this reputation, families with children across Germany are more adventurous and experimental with their cooking than those without children in the home. Nearly half (45%) of all households living with children are keen to try more exciting recipes, with one in three (33%) looking for new flavours. This compares to just one in four consumers (26%) with no children who say they are looking to try new flavours when cooking at home and 39% who say they are interested in trying more exciting recipes.

And it seems that it’s not just in cookbooks that consumers are turning to for recipe ideas, with one in six (16%) German consumers living with children saying they like recreating restaurant inspired dishes at home, compared only one in 10 (10%) consumers without children say the same. Today, nearly two in five (38%) consumers living with children say that they would consider themselves to be very adventurous in their cooking habits, while only one third (33%) of those living without children do so.

Indeed, Mintel research on cooking style confirms the greater spirit of adventure of German households with children. Two in five (41%) of those with children say that they enjoy experimenting with ingredients, compared to 35% of those with no children.

“Breaking the stereotype of children as picky eaters and the conservative reputation of German cuisine, families with children in the home are more likely to enjoy experimenting with new ingredients and to recreate either restaurant-inspired dishes or drinks at home,” said Katya Witham, Senior Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel. “The reason for this trend could be a growing professional consensus that eating together as a family is beneficial for children’s emotional and physical development, including preventing obesity. Furthermore, German consumers with children at home are more actively looking for new taste experiences.”

And Mintel research shows that as families show more willingness to step outside of their comfort-zone in the kitchen, this could present new opportunities for sauce and seasoning brands and manufacturers. Indeed, families in Germany are the key demographic for ‘cooking helpers’ as they over-index for both penetration and usage frequency.

One in three (35%) households with children use dry sauces or seasoning mixes at least once a week, compared to one in five (20%) consumers with no children.

Similar differences in usage frequency are evident across other market segments, with some 13% of households with children using wet ambient cooking sauces, the other dominant ‘cooking helper’ at least once a week, almost three times as much as the 5% of households with no children. Families also use more seasoning mixes (84% vs 75%), ambient sauces (66% vs 48%), BBQ marinades (58% vs 36%) and chilled sauces (53% vs 35%).

In addition to Mintel research indicating that families are the main users of these items, it seems that introducing more family-size products is a growth opportunity for brands targeting this demographic. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), family-size products (700g/ml and larger) accounted for less than 2% of new product launches in Germany between 2011 and 2015, well below the global average of 5%.

“Brands can benefit from cultivating German families’ spirit of adventure, including their willingness to experiment with ingredients by promoting different twists on classic recipes or ways to finish recipes made with cooking sauces,” said Witham. “Food and ingredient brands would do well to better target the underserved families with children market with more positive family-friendly marketing and promotion of shared taste adventures on the dinner table. Artisanal, more home-made positioning and natural, organic ingredients will enhance the family appeal of new cooking sauces in Germany, especially in the key area of wet pasta sauces where authenticity is very important.”