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Brief Published: 24 Nov 2020

Food Trends for a Socially Distant Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving trends for a socially-distant holiday

As Covid-19 cases spike across the US, families are adapting Thanksgiving meals. Food brands are offering festive promotions that address smaller get-togethers, first-time hosts and desire for celebration. Here are three trends to watch:

  • Selling Small Formats: The majority of Americans (51%) do not plan on travelling for Thanksgiving and 74% will host dramatically downsized gatherings (Morning Consult, 2020). Rather than stock large turkeys, retailers like US budget outlet Sam’s Club have opted for smaller birds, while online grocery service Fresh Direct noticed increased demand for baking supplies, and Midwest chain Kroger is prioritising non-traditional mains, like seafood and vegan roasts.

    To help eager cooks embrace Holiday meal prep, newspapers are publishing tips for small-scale gatherings or encouraging readers to pick only their favourite food traditions, like the leftover sandwich.
Sam's Club
Fresh Direct
Turkey thighs as a replacement centrepiece
Leftover Sandwich
  • Cooking Insurance: Noting that 59% of millennials will be first-time Thanksgiving hosts (Chicory, 2020), brands are providing insurance schemes to safeguard against cooking fails. Amazon-owned supermarket Whole Foods partnered with US insurance group Progressive to offer turkey insurance. Customers who pre-ordered a turkey can add insurance for $10, letting them claim the turkey’s full cost if it ends up dry and bland (limited to the first 1,000 claims). American food brand Campbell's is operating a similar campaign and sending NYC hosts replacement sides if their planned dishes don’t taste good.
Whole Foods x Progressive
  • Not-Quite Traditions: Acknowledging that family dinners won’t happen for many this year, food brands have released a raft of Thanksgiving-themed novelty products. US poultry producer Perdue launched drumstick-shaped turkey nuggets, while Brachs, an American confectionery company, released a line of Thanksgiving-themed candy corn.

    For those who cook, US fast-food company White Castle enlisted rapper Coolio to promote a stuffing recipe incorporating the chain’s sliders. While outlandish, these promotions enable consumers to mark the Holiday season with stand-ins with common traditions.

For more on pandemic-era holidays, see Festive Feasting in Lockdown.

White Castle