Tracking Turkey Day traditions

by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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CHICAGO — Although many aspects of Thanksgiving have evolved over the last few years, a Thanksgiving tradition that has continued is most Americans choose to celebrate at home.

The NPD Group, a global information company, and its research partner, CultureWaves, a consumer qualitative insights company that focuses on consumer behavioral data, have released the results of a survey looking at the Thanksgiving traditions are evolving with a new cultural makeup of the US.

The survey pointed out several influences for new Thanksgiving traditions starting with generational differences between baby boomers, Generation X and millennials. Each group wants to keep certain parts of Thanksgiving consistent, but all have changed from the traditions they grew up on.

This led to the overall change in culture around Thanksgiving according to  Locke Hilderbrand, executive vice president and chief insights officer at CultureWaves.

“The key point is that as American culture evolves, the core of each American holiday is becoming focused on the people over the celebration itself,” he said.

Regardless of how the celebration is changing, the Thanksgiving dinner is an at-home occasion, according to NPD Group. Forty-eight percent of Americans eat their Thanksgiving meal at home that day, while another 44 percent eat in someone else’s home.  Carryout plays a significant role in Thanksgiving Day feasts with ready-to-eat food from restaurants being included in 29 percent of homes. Only 3 percent had their big meal at a full-service restaurant.

“As much as things change, we know that many of the traditional Thanksgiving foods have remained the same,” says David Portalatin, vice president and food industry analyst at NPD Group. “Even with all of the changes going on in our society, we have managed to keep the spirit of the first Thanksgiving intact, and that is sharing a meal and spending time with family, friends, or whomever one chooses.”    

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