Hi everyone! It’s Melissa from The Burning Kitchen and today I’ll be sharing with you some of our key takeaways from our recent Reader Survey 2018.
So in case you missed the memo, we actually launched a short survey to poll readers about your cooking habits, and to understand how you interact with and use our recipes, videos, tip and how-to guides on The Burning Kitchen. Over the 10 day survey period, we had over 130 responses (huge shout out and thank you to all who took time to participate).
The responses provided tremendous insight on what people found most useful (and less useful) about the content we have published here on this blog over the last 20 months. What was particularly impactful was the specific feedback we received from readers which ranged from encouraging to heartwarming to honest feedback on how we can further improve, so thank you so much for your candour and warmheartedness!
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All in all, the whole exercise turned out really great and achieve all that we had hoped for, which is to listen to our readers and get to know your needs and concerns better. We will definitely be doing this again next year, so if you missed it this year, we hope you will be part of next year’s survey and make your voice heard!
For now, I’ll be sharing with you 12 Key Takeaways that we have discovered through this survey. We will also be doing a follow-up Part 2 post to share with you some of the projects and initiatives we are working on based on these 12 key takeaways, so stay tuned!
1. HOW OFTEN WE COOK
Q: How often do you (and your family members) cook?
->KEY TAKEAWAY 1: Three quarters of our readers’ families cook at home almost every day
- 75% of readers’ families surveyed have a member of the household (self, spouse, parent, domestic helper) who cooks almost every day, while 21% of families cook at least once a week.
- This is significantly higher than national average in a 2015 Food Forward Trends study found that only 40% of Singaporeans eat a home-cooked meal almost every day.
- While some of our readers read recipes / watch recipe videos for the sheer fun of it (we get it, we love watching cooking videos too!), we are heartened to know that the majority of your families cook regularly. Meaning that you read and watch our recipe videos not just for entertainment but also for inspiration for your family’s actual home-cooked meals!
2. WHY WE COOK
Q: What are your top three motivations for cooking?
->KEY TAKEAWAY 2: Health is a HUGE concern for most people and a major factor that drives the preference for eating in rather than out.
- An overwhelming 82% of readers say they are motivated to cook so their families can enjoy healthier meals.
- This finding is consistent with 2010 and 2014 Electrolux Asian Food surveys which found that health was a big concern for 79% of Singaporeans when dining out, and 80% responding that they would rather eat at home.
->KEY TAKEAWAY 3: Nowadays more people cook out of choice (health, personal enjoyment & achievement) rather than necessity (budget)
- Readers cite personal enjoyment of cooking for people (70%) and a sense of achievement when mastering a recipe (63%) as the next 2 popular motivations for cooking.
- This is likely helped by the fact that international cooking shows like Masterchef and celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver have popularised home cooking, and shifted people’s perception of cooking from being a household chore to being a skill that is fun, challenging and empowering.
3. WHY WE SOMETIMES DON’T OR CAN’T COOK
Q: What are the top 3 challenges that prevent you from cooking more often?
->KEY TAKEAWAY 4: Unsurprisingly, the lack of time in Singapore’s time-starved society is a major challenge that prevents people from cooking more often
- 37% of readers say they have no time to cook after work, while 31% cite a lack of time to plan weekly meals and they grocery shopping
->KEY TAKEAWAY 5: The next biggest challenge is related to cooking skills, including (surprisingly!) a lack of variety in cooking repertoire despite so many recipes available online
- 35% of readers cite limited cooking skills, while 37% say their limited repertoire of recipes prevents them from cooking more often.
- It was surprising to us to find that so many readers say they only have a limited repertoire of go-to recipes for preparing a family meal. Especially given the fact that there are so many more recipes available nowadays in published cookbooks and online.
- One plausible explanation is that less experienced home cooks may not be able to tell how good a recipe is, based on just reading it or even watching a video! And they may be reluctant to put in the time, money and effort to try out a recipe, unless they are confident that the recipe is tried, tested and proven. Hence despite the proliferation of recipes online and offline, people still struggle with a limited personal repertoire of recipes they are confident of whipping up any time.
4. HOW WELL WE COOK
Q: How would you describe your cooking skills?
>KEY TAKEAWAY 6: A large majority of our readers assess themselves to have at least basic cooking skills, while expressing an interest to improve their cooking skills further
- 82% of readers say they have at least basic level cooking skills (e.g. able to make fried rice, porridge, omelette, stir-fry vegetables), while only 9% are true beginners who describe their cooking skills as limited.
- This is significantly better than the national average in the 2014 Electrolux Asian Food survey which found that 46% describe their ability in the kitchen as limited and a further 19% admitting to being a ‘culinary disaster’. Despite this, that same survey found that 85% of Singaporeans aspire to be a better cook.
- In our Reader Survey, we also found a good 59% of readers requesting for cooking classes and coaching to help them improve their cooking skills (see chart entitled ‘Top Requests for New Value-added Features’)
5. NEW RECIPE NOTIFICATIONS
Q: How often would you like to notified of new recipes from us?
>KEY TAKEAWAY 7: Majority of our readers asked for real-time notification of new recipes, while only a quarter preferred our currently weekly round-up.
- 63% of readers asked to be notified of new recipes as and when they published, compared to 24% who prefer the current weekly newsletter format.
6. TOP REQUESTS FOR OUR EXISTING CONTENT & FEATURES
Q: What are we currently doing that we should do more of?
>KEY TAKEAWAY 8: Majority of readers asked for more recipes (though we do already have over 120 to choose from!)
- 67% of readers asked for more new recipes. Over the last 20 months, we have actually built from scratch a repository of over 120 recipes on The Burning Kitchen blog. But this finding made us realise that many readers may not be aware there are already loads of free recipes on our blog, which you can browse using the Recipe Index page to get inspiration for your next family meal.
- Another possible reason why people are asking for more recipes is because they would like to see certain favourite recipes being featured, e.g. Teochew dishes, heritage / nostalgic / grandma style dishes, one-dish meals etc. So yes, please keep those requests coming in and we will prioritise those recipes in high demand by our readers!
>KEY TAKEAWAY 9: Again, a majority of readers are for more recipe videos, including request for earlier recipes to be ‘video-rised’
- 60% of readers asked for us to make recipe videos for our earlier recipe posts, and they find it easier to follow than recipes with only the written instructions.
- We only started making full recipe videos around September 2017, and in the last 6 months we have made around 25 recipe videos (1 per week on average). So that means around 100 of our earlier recipes have step-by-step photos but no recipe video at the moment.
- But we have noted that a large number of readers prefer the video format, and we are actively working to upgrade and upsize our video production capabilities so we can balance the effort to video-rise our earlier recipes, while continuing to publish new recipes (with video tutorials) on our blog. More about this in Part 2 of our post.
>KEY TAKEAWAY 10: Just under half of readers (mostly beginner home cooks) asked for more marketing guides showing how to choose ingredients
- 46% of readers asked for more marketing guides (e.g. how to identify and choose ingredients)
- This is also borne out by the fact that the earlier Marketing & Ingredients guides we published e.g. Guide to 10 Common Local Fish, How to Choose Shiitake Mushrooms and Essential Chinese Sauces and Condiments perform extremely well and continue to be among some of the most-read posts on our blog. (If you missed these, you can always browse Pantry Basics ‘How-To’ Index for a list of how-to posts.
- One reader requested for a list of essential cookware that a Chinese kitchen should have, including recommended brands and care instructions for the cookware. Another reader requested for a marketing guide is on where to buy and how to choose Chinese dried and preserved goods. Yes we hear you, and its something that we will put into the pipeline. However these articles are usually semi-massive efforts that take a while to compile, photograph and write-up, so please bear with us til we get there!
7. MOST POPULAR RECIPE REQUESTS
Q: What are your favourite types of recipes you would like us to do more of?
>KEY TAKEAWAY 11: The three most popular Recipe Themes for ‘Heritage Foods’, ‘One-Pot / One-dish Meals’ and ‘Healthy Foods’
- 67% of readers wanted more heritage and nostalgic recipe with one reader saying poignantly that our recipes reminded him fondly of his mother’s and grandmother’s cooking.
- The second most popular request was for one-pot and one-dish meals (61%). Not only does it minimise washing up, but it makes it more feasible to cooking on a regular basis given the hectic lifestyles of many Singaporeans.
- The third most popular request was for healthy recipes (55%), given our increasing health-conscious society.
8. TOP REQUESTS FOR NEW VALUE-ADDED FEATURES
Q: What new value-added features would you find most useful?
>KEY TAKEAWAY 12: The three key themes we picked up here was ‘Health-related’ (nutritional information), ‘Time-related’ (meal and grocery planning), and ‘Skill-related’ (online and hands on cooking classes, live chat personal coaching)
- 64% of readers asked for recipe nutritional information, 60% voted for meal and grocery planning and 59% requested classes and coaching (online / hands-on cooking class / live chat coaching).
TO SUM IT ALL UP
Here are the 8 themes that we picked up on from our readers, which will help guide our direction for the next 12 months.
- Video-rised Recipes
- Healthy Cooking & Nutritional Information
- Heritage / Nostalgic Recipes
- Time-Savers in Cooking
- Cooking Classes / Coaching
- How to Choose Good Recipes
- Marketing & Ingredient Guides
- Real-time Notifications For New Recipes
P.S. Whew this was a long post, please pause to give yourself a good pat on the back for reading til the end!
P.P.S. And don’t forget to read Part 2 of this post where we will share some of the new initiatives we have / are planning to launch over the next 3-6 months, based on the feedback and insights we have shared here!