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Thanksgiving meal trends are changing this year

Posted at 2:59 PM, Nov 17, 2020

Many Thanksgiving traditions will likely change this year for many Americans, as health officials warn people against having large gatherings.

Food and grocery experts preparing for the holiday are also noticing some new trends when it comes to that traditional Thanksgiving meal.

"We are definitely seeing turkeys selling in smaller portions, so people aren’t buying whole birds. We anticipate Americans are going to be buying smaller parts like wings, legs, cutlets. We definitely saw that going up in Canada, so we expect the same here," said Instacart trends expert Laurentia Romaniuk.

Romaniuk says they first looked at buying trends for the Canadian Thanksgiving, which occurs in October. They found people aren't just buying smaller turkeys, but also choosing to make healthier sides.

"We're seeing customers go after a lot of healthier alternatives. This includes things like chickpea-based pasta, instead of regular pasta. So, a classic Thanksgiving dinner might include mac and cheese, and this year, we’re seeing Banza, which is a brand that makes chickpea-based pasta, go up by 333 percent, and actually, we’re ready starting to see that take off," said Romaniuk.

And some people may not even want to cook their Thanksgiving meal at all, especially if they're having a smaller celebration than normal.

Milton's Cuisine and Cocktails in Georgia is prepping more than 400 turkeys this year for their gourmet Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings to go.

"We do an apple brined and smoked turkey; they are 12 to 14 pounds. We say it feeds six to eight people. It comes with sage-corn sweet bread which is our version of dressing and then a Madeira turkey gravy," explained Derek Dollar, Milton's executive chef and managing partner.

This year, Dollar says, getting a Thanksgiving meal to-go is a good way to support a restaurant this year. He believes more restaurants will continue to close their doors for good because of the pandemic, and any support is appreciated.

"People are definitely jumping on board. Luckily, we were ahead of the curve and we’ve already done it," said Dollar.

However you decide to eat your Thanksgiving meal this year, Dollar advises to not wait until the week of Thanksgiving to make your decision.

"We pre-ordered just to get it allocated, and big corporations aren’t ordering extra like they normally do. My people are telling me that there’s larger birds left, which is what you’re saying is not the trend, and I think if people wait too long like the week of Thanksgiving, they might not be able to get one at the grocery store or anywhere else, unfortunately," said Dollar.