By: Leslie G. Sarasin, President and CEO, FMI
This time of year, amid hot discussion of the virtues and vices of pumpkin spice, a frequent conversation topic among my friends is that Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday. Our reasons may vary, but they tend to coalesce around the notion that Thanksgiving’s traditions remain laser-focused on family, friends, food and gratitude. And unlike pumpkin spice, those are things we all concur that we enjoy.
Recent research published by FMI reports that 96% of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving in some shape form or fashion. I dare you to find anything that 96% of Americans can agree on these days, so the magnitude of that number points to how deeply the tenets of Thanksgiving resonate with most everyone. Thanksgiving traditions tend to remain very stable from year to year and 2023 is no exception since 74% of shoppers say they’ll celebrate about the same as they always do, 14% indicate they’ll celebrate less than usual and 12% have plans for their observance to be a bit more forceful than usual.
While many researchers are focused on the cost of the meal, I think it’s important to note that 90% of Americans consider home-cooked meals to be more economical than eating out and let’s face it, the Thanksgiving feast is the Queen Mother of home-cooked meals. It frequently is the gift that keeps on giving and giving for days to come. Plus, I think the food industry is to be commended for the work it has done to keep this year’s Thanksgiving meal ingredients more economical than last year’s.
But beyond the obvious external advantages of fantastic and affordable food, the opportunity to reconnect with family, and table time to enjoy each other’s company, there remains Thanksgiving’s internal benefit of being grounded in gratitude. In a world that is increasingly more stressed, conflicted, and emotionally challenged, we need the yearly reminder of the healing superpower of being grateful. Multiple pieces of research show that people who have incorporated gratitude into their lives are happier and that they exhibit more evidence of psychological well-being such as being less stressed, less depressed, less anxious and even report having fewer symptoms of physical pain. If there were a pill that helped improve sleep, made you feel better and improved your immunity, it would be the hottest item in the pharmacy. Expressing gratitude can provide those benefits and it’s free. We just need to be reminded to do it.
My colleagues at FMI join me in hoping you and yours enjoy ALL the nutritional, emotional and social benefits of a bountiful Thanksgiving meal together.
Please know that at my Thanksgiving table this year, among the many things for which I will humbly offer thanks, I will express my gratitude for the FMI membership, the tremendous support afforded to my family and me this year and the honor of having the opportunity to work daily with some of the finest people on earth.