The Traditional Christmas Goose is Gone: Survey Reveals Additional Changes to Holiday Meal

Ready-Made Dishes are Making Appearances at 50 Percent of Holiday Tables; Wal-Mart Identifies Popular Premade Items


BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Dec. 13, 2006 – In the days of yore, families gathered ‘round the Christmas table to feast on home-cooked roasted goose, oyster stuffing, plum pudding and plenty of wassail. But times have changed, and so has traditional holiday fare.  

Turkey is America’s favorite Christmas main dish, according to a national survey conducted for Wal-Mart this month. Ham came in second and 15 percent say they will be enjoying more than one main course this year. And those memorable holiday dishes—many may not be from traditional family recipes but are prepared by your favorite grocery bakery or deli. Half of respondents serve at least some premade dishes, with desserts topping the list.

“Convenience and ease are leading the trends this holiday season, and premade selections fit perfectly into that,” said Bruce Peterson, Wal-Mart senior vice president of perishable grocery. “By adding a few prepared dishes into their holiday menu, our customers have found that they can still have all the traditions associated with the season and leave themselves more time to enjoy those special moments with family and friends.”

Other survey highlights include:

  • They’ll never know: After desserts, appetizers were the next most popular premade dish, with 22 percent of people saying they’d buy already-made versions and 19 percent said they’d purchase a pre-ordered party platter.
  • Please pass the carbs: Whether you call it dressing or stuffing, it’s still the number one choice for holiday sides—more than one third of Americans rated it as their top pick. Mashed potatoes are another popular side dish, taking 32 percent of the vote. Sweet potatoes/yams ranked next, ahead of cranberries and green bean casserole, proving the nation still loves carbohydrates.
  • Sweet celebration: Nearly one-third of Americans said pumpkin pie is their favorite winter holiday dessert, while pecan pie satisfies the sweet tooth of others (19 percent). Bread pudding no longer takes the cake as a traditional holiday dessert—only 4 percent named it as their favorite.
  • Voted most likely to change: When asked which course they’d be willing to change by adding a new dish to the winter holiday meal, respondents were torn. One third said they’d bring or make a new appetizer and the same amount reported they’d mix things up with a new side dish.

According to Wal-Mart, many of the most popular holiday ready-made selections include those from the deli and bakery. Deli party trays such as shrimp trays, chicken wing platters and cheese and meat trays are seasonal favorites that provide great time-saving solutions. Customized holiday cupcake cakes, gourmet brownies and decadent tortes are also making their way onto holiday tables with increased popularity as easy, delicious additions to any celebration.
“Favorite Winter Holiday Meal” study was conducted by StrategyOne on Nov. 30 through Dec. 4, 2006.  The online survey was completed nationwide among 1093 adults (18+).Margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence.

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, more than 127 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America.  The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally.  Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $245 million to local United States communities.  To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmart.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.

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