What’s Appetizing Online

With the Internet having become a kind of cooking utensil, consumers are increasingly on the alert for assistance from online grocery ads. A new report from About.com about “home cooks” — i.e., those who prepare all or part of a meal from scratch at least twice a week — identifies elements that make online ads for food most likely to catch respondents’ eyes (see the chart).

Polling for the report (conducted online during the summer) also asked home cooks to cite the genres of meal they’re most apt to prepare. Atop the list was “easy/few ingredients,” picked by 73 percent.

Also popular were “healthy/nutritious” (63 percent), “comfort foods” (59 percent), “family meals” (58 percent), “outdoor grill/barbecue” (58 percent) and “budget-friendly” (57 percent).

Speaking of budgets, 30 percent of respondents agreed strongly that “store brands are as good as national brands,” although 40 percent strongly agreed that they would “buy more national brands if they were less expensive.” Despite consumers’ increasing reliance on coupons amid a tough economy, just 17 percent agreed that they “buy national brands only when they’re on sale or I have a coupon.”