There’s more to Thanksgiving dinner than turkey.
As the weather gets colder, people immediately start planning for holiday meals. And for millions of families that means only one thing, time to buy a turkey. A whopping 86% of American households feature it as the main dish!1 Considered to be the always-impressive centerpiece to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, turkey is the American holiday mainstay, or is it? Throughout the year in 2018, the percentage of people who eat turkey remained relatively steady at the 50% range. But consider that:
Turkey’s popularity has
decreased almost 6% IN THE
On a list of “Most Popularly Menued Proteins”, TURKEY CAME IN
AT 12TH PLACE.3
Raises the question: If turkeys are such a popular dish during the holidays, why are they doing so poorly compare with other center-of-plate dishes? The answer is that outside of Thanksgiving, turkey is not a popular protein. Why? Because turkey is a labor-intensive, temperamental dish. It takes a long time to defrost properly. It’s easily overcooked. It frequently dries out. And then, quite frankly, there’s the taste. When put side to side with other poultryand meat dishes, turkey has relatively drier, less flavorful meat.
Browse unconventional main dish ideas for your Thanksgiving.
So, what’s moving in on turkey’s traditional territory?
Probably second in popularity, hams are considered another holiday favorite. According to The Washington Post, 15% of the U.S. ate ham during Thanksgiving.4 This is equivalent to 24.75 million pounds of ham! But hams do not have to be the only other center-of-plate feature during the holidays. By offering more “unconventional” proteins, there are still ways to add unique flavors. Whether it’s a rack of ribs, smoked brisket, roasted pork belly, slowcooked pork shoulder and so much more, these unique proteins are truly versatile and can enhance and differentiate a holiday meal.
Whatever the occasion, Smithfield Culinary is here for you to deliver on-trend insights and the inspired flavors and products that your customersseek for the holidays.
What’s on the side can make a big difference.
While the protein is often seen as the center-of-the-plate star of holiday meals, one way to make meals even more memorable is by offering your customers flavorful side dishes to enjoy alongside it.
Although sides are considered by many to be quintessential comfort foods during the holidays, there are several ways to truly make them a tasty treat by adding unique flavors to enhance these traditional side dishes. (Note: % indicates consumers who prefer a certain side.6)
Need inspirations for your holiday sides, be sure to check out more recipes.
Holiday without the hassle.
Carryout is more popular than ever, and there’s no indication it’s going to slow any time soon. With an incredible 70% of consumers ordering for takeout or delivery, having an appealing and efficient to-go menu is essential for any restaurant operation.7
Many consumers, notably younger ones, feel more comfortable getting food off-premise. So,
offering foods that hold well in packaging that keeps food fresh/warm and especially that taste
great is important. Consider that:8
Regardless of how carryout cravers get their order, having effective packaging for each item is essential. To make customers feel that you took the time to put together their holiday meal, you can separate the main course from the sides, generally in their own containers, and provide separate containers for dressings, sauces or toppings to maintain each item’s integrity. Thank-you notes and coupons for future visits can also make customers feel more special during the holiday season!