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Food & Drink

Americans think picky eaters most stressful part of holidays

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Happy family at Christmas dinner party

Forget finding the perfect gift or catching a flight — the most stressful part of the holidays is actually cooking for those with different diets, according to new research.

The survey of 1,000 millennials and 1,000 baby boomers found 46% of respondents chose “cooking for those with picky palettes or diets” as the part of the holidays that stresses them out the most.

This beat out other options in the list, including “avoiding political talk” (43%) and “trying to eat healthy” (42%). It also ranked higher than traveling (35%) and “getting the right gift” (32%).

And results found millennials are actually much more stressed about accommodating those with specific palettes — 64% of millennials chose this option, compared to only 28% of baby boomers.

Commissioned by San Francisco-based food technology company Eat Just, Inc. and conducted by OnePoll, the survey found despite the stress, more millennials seem to be incorporating options into their holiday menu that cater to different dietary needs.

The survey found 54% of all the survey respondents have found the “perfect” holiday dish — equal parts healthy, tasty and good for the planet.

Broken down by age, it was millennials who were most likely to agree (74%), compared to just 34% of baby boomers.

And when asked what that “perfect” dish contains, millennials said it would have less sugar (63% vs. 54% of baby boomers), whole grains (62% vs. 52%) and would use plant-based products (61% vs. 44%).

Respondents aren’t just incorporating plant-based products into their “perfect” holiday dish — the survey found 71% of millennials plan to make plant-based versions of traditional dishes to change things up this holiday season. Meanwhile, less than a third of baby boomers (28%) shared the same sentiment.

Interestingly, both generations are slightly more likely to be making plant-based alternatives this year compared to last year— a similar survey by Eat Just, Inc. and OnePoll from 2020 found 67% of millennials and 24% of baby boomers planned to make plant-based versions of traditional dishes.

That’s not the only difference: in this year’s survey, respondents were asked how they plan to change up their holiday traditions this time around.

Results found respondents are eating smaller portions (43%) and are planning to eat healthier (42%) — they’re also purchasing more sustainably-sourced food (35%) and are eating more plant-based options (32%) compared to previous years.

“The holiday season is stressful enough without having to plan to make different dishes for family members and friends with dietary restrictions and preferences. Finding ingredients that satisfy a range of diets has never been easier and more delicious, thanks to recent breakthroughs in the food industry. Whether you are plant-based, keto, low-carb, low-fat or cholesterol-conscious, a growing number of products are now available that can make your favorite holiday foods better for you and better for the planet," said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just, creator of JUST Egg.

WHAT ARE RESPONDENTS STRESSED ABOUT DURING THE HOLIDAYS?

  • Cooking for those with picky palettes or diets - 46%
  • Avoiding political talk - 43%
  • Trying to eat healthy - 42%
  • Traveling - 35%
  • Getting the right gift - 32%

HOW ARE HOLIDAY FOOD TRADITIONS CHANGING?

  • Eating smaller portions - 43%
  • Eating healthier - 42%
  • Purchasing sustainably-sourced food - 35%
  • Eating more plant-based - 32%
  • Cooking healthier - 30%

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