The National Kitchen Audit


image via NPD Group

image via NPD Group


Every three years a massive study reveals what’s in our kitchens.
In 1993, the NPD Group, a market research company, first asked American consumers to tell what’s in their pantries and on their countertops. The published reports have taken us through the era of George Forman grills and South Beach diets to coffee pods and Greek yogurt. And through it all there’s a block of cheddar cheese lurking in everyone’s refrigerator.

Here are the latest findings from the 2014 Kitchen Audit:

Pod-based coffeemakers are now found in 23% of kitchens, up from 9% just three years ago. And they’re using them regularly—80% in the past month, even though 55% of these households held on to their electric drip coffeemakers. Other dedicated appliances like rice cookers, slow cookers, juicers, and waffle makers have also found a place in more kitchens.

You’ll find soda in 54% of kitchens, and home soda makers in 4%; that rises to 10% if there are children under age 6 in the household.

Sriracha hot sauce was barely a blip in previous audits. Now it’s found in 9% of total households, and an impressive 16% of households with a cook under the age of 35. This reflects the influx of new flavors shared by Asian-Americans, the country’s fasting growing ethnic group, plus the much larger Hispanic population, which opened us up to bolder, spicier flavors.

There’s a slew of new pantry staples.
Sea salt, formerly a specialty food item, has officially crossed over into the majority of kitchens. 
Nut products are becoming a standard way of adding meatless protein to diets; hazelnut spreads like Nutella are now in 14% of kitchens (up from 8% in 2011), and nut milks, especially from almonds, reached 10% (up from just 4%).
Of course the reigning king of the high-protein meat alternatives is Greek yogurt. In three short years its market penetration more than tripled, and it can now be found in 29% of all household refrigerators.

Instant and prepared foods are losing ground.
Home cooks are using microwave ovens less frequently. Canned foods are slipping (lima beans and mushrooms dropped out of  20% and 6% of pantries, respectively), and the dry cereal manufacturers are in full panic mode. There’s still a ready-to-eat box of in around 90% of American households, but unless there are small children, we’re just not eating it like we used to.

The biggest surprise revealed in the audit is that we’re cooking.
Consumers- especially millennials- say that they want to be hands-on in the kitchen. They still like convenience (remember all those coffee pods?), but the buzzwords are fresh and customized. Think of bags of pre-washed and trimmed salad greens with homemade dressing or tacos constructed at home with a takeout rotisserie chicken. More people consider themselves good-to-excellent cooks, and 53% of that self-identified group is cooking at least some elements of a meal from scratch- with recipes even- at least once a week.

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10 Reasons Why You Should Buy Girl Scout Cookies

Yup, it’s Girl Scout cookie time.
Those girls time it just right. Just as your New Years diet resolve is weakening, they come a’knocking.
In case you need a little nudge toward an extra box of coconut-caramel Samoas, here are 10 good reasons why you should buy Girl Scout cookies.





10) They’re not Boy Scout cookies.





9) You can thumb your nose at Conservative mudslingers.
Prominent voices on the Christian Right claim that we’re distracted by the cute green outfits and cookies; that the Girl Scouts are really out to feed us a radical feminist lesbian agenda along with a box of peanut butter Do-Si-Dos. The Family Research Council published Girl Scouts Not Pro-Abortion! Earth Not Round!; WorldNetDaily blared the headline GIRL SCOUTS EXPOSED: LESSONS IN LESBIANISM; and created a timeline titled  A History with Planned Parenthood, United Nations, Radicals & More as part of its Girl Scouts Hall of Shame.



8) Cookie app!


7)There’s something to this Girl Scouts thing.
Nearly three-quarters of all the women serving in Congress, including 14 of the 20 women senators, are former Girl Scouts. This is especially notable when you consider that less than 10% of U.S. women were scouts in their youth.


6) The Girl Scouts take credit cards.





5) New cookie boxes.
The re-designed packaging features girl-power images from the Pulitzer Prize winning photographer David Hume Kennerly who has photographed four decades of American presidents, documented the Jonestown massacre, and produced a book about the last Seinfeld episode.


4) The Girl Scouts made LGBT history welcoming the first transgender scout.
Last year’s statement from the Girl Scouts of Colorado: “Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization and we accept all girls in kindergarten through 12th grade as members. If a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout.”



3) Do it for Hillary.
Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. Sandra Day O’Connor, Janet Reno, and Madeleine Albright. Every woman astronaut that’s ever flown in space. Gloria Steinem, Barbara Walters, Martha Stewart, Taylor Swift, and Venus Williams. All told, the Girl Scouts of America claim 64% of today’s women leaders—civic, athletic corporate, political, arts and sciences— as their own.


2) National Girl Scout Cookie Day is coming.



  1) Thin Mints.



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Celebrities Endorse the Hollywood Cookie Diet


Dr. Siegal’s Cookie Diet is the latest diet fad to grip Hollywood. It seems like every day we hear of another knobby-kneed celebrity signing on to the six cookies a day regimen.

Of course strange eating habits and crash diets are nothing new in the land of the incredible shrinking starlets. Uma Thurman only eats raw food, Christina Aguilera limits herself to foods of one color for each day of the week (white, red, green, orange, purple, yellow, and rainbow), Reese Witherspoon snacks on jarred baby food, and Beyonce downs a mix of lemon juice, maple syrup, water, and cayenne pepper (and nothing else) for 10 day stretches. […]

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U.S. Government Gets 2 Million Fortune Cookies


No, it wasn’t one hell of a takeout order.

The cookies are part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s effort to reach various ethnic populations. The Bureau ordered two million custom cookies from a fortune cookie factory in Seattle’s Chinatown. Crack one open and the fortune reads Put down your chopsticks and get involved in Census 2010, or one of the other four messages exhorting us to fill out and return our census forms. The cookies will be available this spring in Chinese restaurants throughout the Northwest. […]

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Girl Scout Cookies in Cyberspace: Tweeting your way to a merit badge

Forget about using PayPal. Girl Scouts don’t sell cookies over the internet.

The 2009 Girl Scout cookie season was a rough one thanks to one very wired Brownie. 3rd grader Wild Freeborn posted a YouTube video in which she made a cookie sales pitch in all her adorably fidgety, 8-year old glory. Other scout troops cried foul, fearing that Wild’s tactics would poach customers from their territories. When the Girl Scouts pulled the plug on her video, Wild took her story to the media. She made the rounds of the morning news shows, appeared on the cover of Newsweek, and in the pages of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. […]

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