More Americans will get Thanksgiving dinner on demand.
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Twenty percent of adults in the U.S. will order their Thanksgiving meal or specialty ingredients to make it online, either for delivery or in-store pickup, according to the latest data from market research firm NPD Group.
While turkey will remain the star of the Thanksgiving Day spread, unconventional fixings such as garlic habanero, harissa and entrees that mimic meat — like meatloaf made from Impossible Foods' plant-based ingredients — will have supporting roles as more grocery stores and meal kit delivery services appeal to niche diets, according to NPD data.
Americans spent an estimated $48.90 for a 10-person Thanksgiving meal (less than $5 a person) last year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. But industry experts predict that price to go up to nearly $50 with the demand for specialty items.
"With consumers more health-conscious than ever, the holiday meal is growing healthier too. It’s not unusual to have grandma serve gluten-free dressing with an alternative-protein ‘meat’ course and dairy-free butter on the organic potato puree," Phil Kafarakis, president of the Speciality Foods Association, told FOX Business, adding that consumers will find more niche-based options that appeal to people following meatless, keto or vegan diets.
A whopping 84 percent of Americans will have turkey as their main meat source, followed by ham with 4.94 percent, according to a "Thanksgiving Traditions" survey by Lawnstarter.com. However, 4.18 percent of diners surveyed said they'd have a vegetarian entree, beating out chicken at 3.61 percent and beef at 1.9 percent, according to the findings.
Here are some of the top items taking over Thanksgiving Day spreads and how to get them on demand:
Plant-based entrees will have a supporting role this year, with 16 percent of consumers saying they regularly use plant-based alternatives like tofu, veggie burgers and almond milk, according to NPD Group.
The Purple Carrot, a meal delivery service that caters to vegetable-centric diets, has already sold out of its $65 Hasselback Butternut Squash Thanksgiving Box (a plant-based alternative to turkey), but eaters can still order a-la-carte items like Thanksgiving sandwiches made with roasted Brussels sprouts and gravy topped with tempeh bacon.
Restaurants are also noticing an increased demand for meatless delivery. Beyond Sushi, a New York City-based vegan sushi restaurant, has had more requests for plant-based holiday spreads, so it added a meatless meatloaf made with Impossible Foods' soy protein-based “meat” blended with herbs, garlic, shiitake and a red wine glaze served with green beans and butternut squash.
“We wanted to create a main dish so savory and satisfying you won’t even miss the turkey,” Guy Vaknin, chef and owner of Beyond Sushi, said of the $75 entrée that comes with sides, mains and desserts. “We’re seeing a wider demand for plant-based cuisine, so people are turning to us to help them ‘veganize’ their holiday."
Grocery stores are whipping up traditional, fully cooked Thanksgiving meals with classic sides like cranberry sauce and veggies. FreshDirect is selling 12- to 14-pound turkeys that are fully cooked and raised without antibiotics, according to its website, for $169. That includes three vegetables and three side dishes, gravy and cranberry sauce.
And for those who have to have chef-quality ingredients shipped in a box right to their door, celebrity chef Martha Stewart’s meal kit service Marley Spoon will supply all the necessary side dish components like Thanksgiving cheesy sausage stuffing, roasted root vegetables with brown butter herbs or Martha's cream cheese mashed potatoes and green beans so all you have to do is cook up the turkey. Prices range from $49.99 to $120.83 depending on the number of dishes ordered.
Get festive with a deep-fried feast. Online meal delivery service Goldbelly is selling a $99 Cajun deep-fried turkey seasoned with Cajun spices. The turkeys arrive fully cooked and frozen and take 72 hours to thaw before they're ready for reheating.
Diners looking for a three-in-one feast can opt for the Turducken, a turkey stuffed with duck that's then stuffed with chicken. The All-Madden Turducken ($139) has two layers of sausage stuffing and one layer of cornbread dressing; it weighs in at a hefty 17 pounds.
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