The 2020 holiday season may not offer the same gatherings, parties and hoopla of years’ past, but diners are making sure it is still filled with amazing food. A new survey from Oracle Food and Beverage found that 60 percent of respondents plan to stay at home during the holidays, and 42 percent are considering ordering their holiday meals from a local restaurant. Nearly half (48 percent) of respondents also said they are likely to buy gift cards from a local independent restaurant.

“This is a challenging time for both consumers and businesses. People are looking to make their holidays special, and plan to do that with takeout and meal kits from a favorite local restaurant,” says Simon de Montfort Walker, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Food and Beverage. “It’s encouraging to see consumers continue to rally and support local businesses, with many planning to purchase merchandise, specialty items and gift cards as holiday gifts.”

The survey, conducted by Untold Insights on behalf of Oracle Food and Beverage, polled 502 consumers in the United States in November 2020 about their dining and gifting plans for the holiday season.

Hassle-free holiday meals

Nearly a half (48 percent) of consumers are looking to pre-made/catered dinners, meal kits and takeout for their holiday meals.

Consumers are looking towards pre-made/catered meals (15 percent), take-out (18 percent), and meal kits (15 percent) in place of meal prep for one of their holiday or New Year’s meals.

Of those consumers considering alternatives to cooking, households with families were the most likely to favor a pre-made/catered meal (32 percent), meal-kit (38 percent), or eating out at a restaurant (32 percent).

When it came to ordering take-out, Gen Z led with 28 percent.

Meal kits are a popular choice with Gen X’ers (25 percent) and Millennials (24 percent).

“With holiday traditions disrupted and people dining in smaller groups, they are looking to for inspiration and want to try something new,” added de Montfort Walker. “Consumers are showing an increased appetite for skipping big meal prep to order in or experiment with meal kits.”

The gift of food

With travel and larger gatherings constrained due to the pandemic, gift cards are a popular choice. Three quarters of all consumers are considering restaurant gift card purchases this year.

Nearly half (48 percent) of consumers said they are likely, or very likely to buy gift cards to a local independent restaurant.

Of those noted above, gift cards are most popular with males (58 percent), Gen X (71 percent), and Millennials (55 percent).

Membership and loyalty cards also ranked well among buyers with 28 percent saying they’d like to purchase these as gifts from their favorite local restaurants.

Getting sauced

In addition to gift cards, consumers are looking to bring their favorite restaurant faire to friends and family this holiday season.

24 percent of people are interested in gifting signature sauces. Of those interested in this option, it is especially popular with Millennials (36 percent).

22 percent of customers are looking to buy restaurant merchandise.

22 percent of those polled are interested gifting recipe books. Of those who noted interest in this gift, Gen Z ranked the highest with 30 percent.

18 percent of respondents were interested in cocktail kits. Of that 18 percent, Millennials and Gen X favored this option the most at 27 percent each.

28 percent of consumers are interested in meal kits as gifts. Of those interested, meal kits where most popular with Gen X at 41 percent.

Consumer Trends, Industry News