All Hail the Late-Night Turkey Fix: 8 in 10 Say Leftovers are the Best Thing about Hosting Thanksgiving

Four in ten Americans look forward to the turkey over anything else on the Thanksgiving table

05:00 AM EST Nov 18, 2015 Rating
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All Hail the Late-Night Turkey Fix: 8 in 10 Say Leftovers are the Best Thing about Hosting Thanksgiving

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Family, friends, food, and a few days off work… what’s not to love? With Halloween officially over, Thanksgiving season is nearly upon us. Whether you’re cooking the food or simply enjoying the feast, Thanksgiving meals undoubtedly offer something for everyone. But for some, it’s what comes after the meal that really strikes their fancy. Nearly eight in ten (79%) U.S. adults agree having a fridge full of leftovers is the best thing about hosting Thanksgiving. This could also explain why seven in ten (71%) disagree with the notion that they’d rather eat in a restaurant than cook Thanksgiving dinner.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,225 U.S. adults surveyed online between October 14 and 19, 2015.

What’s the star of the traditional table?

The turkey (39%) rules the roost when Americans vote on which traditional dish they most look forward to at Thanksgiving, followed by stuffing (23%) and pumpkin pie (12%). Farther down the line, Americans also look forward to mashed potatoes (9%), sweet potatoes (6%), and cranberry sauce (3%). Generation and gender appear to play a role in picking favorites:

Not-so-traditional feasting

While turkey may be the most anticipated dish, it doesn’t necessarily mean feasters aren’t open to trying something new with their bird. When asked about several alternatives to a traditional roasted turkey, half of Americans show an interest in giving grilled turkey (52%) or deep fried turkey (49%) a try, with an additional one in ten saying they’ve already tried a deep fried bird or will be giving it a go this year.

Nearly three in ten (28%) are interested in trying a turducken (a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey, for the uninitiated) at their Thanksgiving dinner. And despite all the turkey lovers out there, one quarter (25%) say they’d be interested in skipping the turkey completely.

When it comes to the other dishes on the table, one-fifth (20%) of Americans say their Thanksgiving meals will include at least one gluten-free “fix” for a traditional item. Among those planning a gluten-free fix, the most common substitutions are rolls/bread (61%), gravy (58%), stuffing (53%), and pies/desserts (36%). Fewer, but still a notable number, are planning to sub gluten-free casseroles (36%).

So why exactly are so many planning for gluten-free options? While 72% have a reason for taking such action – most prominently that someone at the meal has been diagnosed with celiac disease (27%) or gluten sensitivity (26%) – nearly three in ten (28%) say there’s no specific reason.

 

TABLE 1

THANKSGIVING DINNER 

By Generation and Gender

"Thanksgiving dinners have a number of ‘traditional’ food dishes. Of these, which one would you say you look forward to the most?"

Base: All adults

 

Total

Generation

Gender

Millennials

(18-35)

Gen Xers

(36-50)

Baby Boomers

(51-69)

Matures

(70+)

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

The Turkey

39

30

39

46

45

41

37

Stuffing

23

21

22

23

29

22

23

Pumpkin Pie

12

14

12

10

9

9

15

Mashed Potatoes

9

16

10

5

2

11

8

Sweet Potatoes

6

8

7

5

6

6

7

Cranberry sauce/relish/jelly

3

5

2

3

2

3

4

None of these

7

8

8

7

7

9

6

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 2a

TURKEY ALTERNATIVES

Grid Summary

"How interested would you be in having the following alternatives to a traditional roasted turkey at Thanksgiving (whether you are hosting Thanksgiving or having the meal elsewhere)?"

Base: All adults

 

INTERESTED
(NET)

Extremely interested

Somewhat interested

NOT INTERESTED (NET)

Not very interested

Not at all interested

I have had this in the past and/or will be adding it this year

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Grilled turkey

52

19

33

45

14

30

4

Deep fried turkey

49

24

25

41

12

29

11

Turducken (a chicken, inside a duck, inside a turkey)

28

13

15

69

12

57

3

Skip the turkey completely

25

11

13

72

13

59

4

Vegetarian or vegan turkey substitute intended to simulate the flavor of turkey (i.e., tofu)

14

7

7

84

10

74

1

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 2b

TURKEY ALTERNATIVES

Summary of “Interested (NET)”

By Generation & Gender

"How interested would you be in having the following alternatives to a traditional roasted turkey at Thanksgiving (whether you are hosting Thanksgiving or having the meal elsewhere)?"

Base: All adults

 

Total

Generation

Gender

Millennials

(18-35)

Gen Xers

(36-50)

Baby Boomers

(51-69)

Matures

(70+)

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Grilled turkey

52

63

59

43

28

56

48

Deep fried turkey

49

55

57

42

33

53

44

Turducken (a chicken, inside a duck, inside a turkey)

28

41

33

18

10

37

19

Skip the turkey completely

25

35

25

18

15

27

22

Vegetarian or vegan turkey substitute intended to simulate the flavor of turkey (i.e., tofu)

14

26

14

6

5

18

11

 

TABLE 3

THANKSGIVING DINNER

"How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements?"

Base: All adults

 

AGREE

(NET)

Strongly

agree

Somewhat

agree

DISAGREE

(NET)

Somewhat disagree

Strongly disagree

Not at all sure

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Having a fridge full of leftovers is the best thing about hosting Thanksgiving

79

44

35

18

10

8

3

I would much rather eat in a restaurant on Thanksgiving than cook dinner

25

11

14

71

16

56

3

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 4

THANKSGIVING SUBSTITUTES

By Reason for Gluten Avoidance

“Thinking ahead to Thanksgiving, do you expect that your Thanksgiving meal will include gluten-free ‘fixes’ or substitutions for any of the following?  Please select all that apply.”

Base: U.S. Adults

 

Total

Generation

Gender

Millennials

(18-35) 

Gen Xers

(36-50) 

Baby Boomers

(51-69) 

Matures

(70+) 

Male

Female

%

% 

% 

% 

% 

%

%

Any (NET)

20

33

18

11

11

24

15

Rolls/Bread

12

19

10

7

8

13

11

Gravy

11

21

9

5

6

15

8

Stuffing

10

17

10

6

7

13

8

Pies/Desserts

10

16

8

8

7

12

9

Casseroles

7

10

8

4

6

8

6

Beer

5

11

3

3

2

7

4

Something else

4

6

3

2

2

3

4

N/A -  don’t celebrate Thanksgiving

2

2

1

2

3

2

2

None of these

65

52

69

72

73

59

71

Don’t know

13

12

11

15

13

15

11

Note: Multiple responses allowed

 

TABLE 5

THANKSGIVING SUBSTITUTES

By Reason for Gluten Avoidance

“Thinking ahead to Thanksgiving, do you expect that your Thanksgiving meal will include gluten-free ‘fixes’ or substitutions for any of the following?  Please select all that apply.”

Base: Anticipate Gluten-Free Fixes

 

Total

Reason for Gluten Avoidance

Any (NET) 

Diagnosed celiac or sensitivity (NET) 

Diagnosed celiac 

Diagnosed sensitivity 

Suspected sensitivity 

Chooses to avoid 

No specific reason 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Rolls/Bread

61

57

55

50

73

77

59

71

Gravy

58

54

65

75

52

49

35

67

Stuffing

53

48

51

47

64

67

41

68

Pies/Desserts

53

48

48

43

63

59

54

66

Casseroles

36

33

32

26

42

44

33

44

Beer

28

27

31

24

41

28

29

31

Something else

18

17

16

14

20

21

18

22

Note: Multiple responses allowed

 

TABLE 6

REASON FOR GLUTEN AVOIDANCE

By Reason for Gluten Avoidance

“For which of the following reasons, if any, do you plan to include a gluten-free “fix” or substitution at your Thanksgiving meal? Please select all that apply.”

Base: Anticipate Gluten-Free Fixes

 

Total

%

Any reason (NET)

72

Diagnosed celiac or sensitivity (SUB-NET)

45

Someone who will be there has been diagnosed with celiac disease

27

Someone who will be there has been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity or intolerance

26

Someone who will be there suspects they have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance

18

No one who will be there suspects a sensitivity or intolerance, but one or more people say they feel better when lessening or avoiding gluten

17

No specific reason for avoiding gluten

28

Note: Multiple responses allowed

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between October 14 and 19, 2015 among 2,225 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #72, November 18, 2015

By Allyssa Birth, Senior Research Analyst, The Harris Poll

About The Harris Poll®

Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. 

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