—Restaurants may not play the most significant role on Thanksgiving Day, but do the Wednesday before 

Chicago, November 18, 2022 — A Thanksgiving Day host’s dream is to have a perfectly prepared feast on a beautifully decorated table surrounded by happy family and friends. However, it takes a lot of planning and preparation to make the Thanksgiving Day dream come true, and grocers and foodservice operators help to make it happen. Most, 67%, of Thanksgiving meals occur at the eater’s home; the remaining meals happen at another house, like a relative’s or friend’s, restaurant, or non-commercial foodservice outlet, like a long-term care facility or country club, reports The NPD Group.  

For those preparing the turkey day meal in their home, 33% report that the meal’s entrées are entirely homemade, and 9% are partially homemade. Some cooks get support from ready-to-eat entrées they freshly prepared before the holiday or are from retail, foodservice outlets, or restaurants. Nearly 31% of Thanksgiving main entrees are ready-to-eat from retail or restaurants. Grocery retail and what’s already in the host’s pantry, which likely came from a grocery store, are the undisputable sources for Thanksgiving Day meal fixings. Ninety percent of the meal components source from retail or the preparer’s home.

A small percentage of consumers eat their Thanksgiving Day meal at a restaurant — 5% say they intend to have their Thanksgiving Day meal at a restaurant this year — but restaurants help relieve the pressure of meal prep for the big day by hosting the Wednesday meal. There are 10% more restaurant visits on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving than any other week.  

“Both grocers and foodservice play a key role in making the Thanksgiving Day celebration happen, whether on the day or the day before,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “But the real heroes of the day are the hosts, cooks, and helpers who make a dream come true.”

Note: The NPD Group recently merged with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI®) to create a leading global technology, analytics, and data provider. One of the merger’s many benefits is providing food and foodservice manufacturers, operators, and foodservice distributors a complete view of food and beverage, both at and away from home. Since Thanksgiving is a major food holiday, NPD collaborated with IRI to show how the day’s meals come together at and away from home in this Thanksgiving Day Tracker.



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