American holiday traditions are forever being altered by our changing demographics, and Thanksgiving is no exception. As the country’s population grows more multicultural, so too do the ethnic food offerings on the holiday table. With plant-based diets on the rise, expect an increase in demand for alternatives to turkey and ham. (Everyone roasts Tofurky, but maybe Vegducken deserves a shot?) But even as the holiday’s cornucopia multiplies, we continue to gorge on the classic staples of a Turkey Day feast: 2016 spending on turkey, for instance, increased significantly compared to the previous year.
Some people eschew the holiday entirely. Others may supplement their long weekends with “Friendsgiving” dinners.
Sweet potato demand is rising, alongside the general, though still largely undefined, trend of “clean” eating. Interestingly enough, “organic” sweet potato sales rose 12 percent while conventionally-farmed sweet potato sales dropped by 2 percent in the year ended September 30, 2017. Organic sweet potatoes: coming to a sweet potato casserole near you.
Online grocery shopping is making it easier than ever to avoid long check-out lines. Meanwhile, increasingly popular meal kits (like this one by Martha Stewart) claim to reduce holiday hassle by giving cooks everything they need for a festive repast in one big box. Too bad there isn’t a “functional family” kit.
And, of course, pie is on the rise (is that ever not the case?)—specifically the store-bought kind. The pie category has seen a big jump in sales, but not necessarily a surprising one. Family gatherings are inherently communal, and nothing is as unifying as dessert. Or emotional eating.