Since spring, people sheltering in place have been rediscovering baking and are cooking more meals at home. (In fact, we’ve seen our butter sales increase more than 20% from an average year) The Land O’Lakes Test Kitchen and experts across our dairy enterprise have always worked to provide recipes and baking advice to people and to better connect them with the farmers who grow their food. Now, they’re preparing for a holiday season that stands out from others in the past.
Here are the trends they say are on the rise now:
1. Small-batch baking for socially distanced “gatherings”
People are searching for small-batch, scaled-back versions of recipes. This year, Land O’Lakes small-batch recipe for traditional chocolate chip cookies was among the most positively reviewed. That’s one of the insights that led our Test Kitchen team to create this half-pumpkin, half-pecan pie, so you can enjoy both classic pies among a smaller crew.
“People still want to have a sense that it’s a special day,” says Samantha Kelly, senior recipe management specialist at Land O’Lakes. “We’re helping them figure out how they can celebrate safely, at a smaller scale.”
2. First-time hosts
“Because fewer people are traveling across the country, there are going to be more first-time hosts,” Samantha says. “So maybe you’ve never done Thanksgiving dinner before, and now it’s on you, but you don’t want to sacrifice the tradition or nostalgia that you’re used to.”
To help these new hosts, Land O’Lakes is tailoring their resources, including a hotline and online articles about making holiday meals in advance, repurposing leftovers and many more topics — anticipating the questions and surprises these hosts will inevitably encounter.
3. Getting more creative, more confident and scooping on the crème fraiche
In a Hunter poll from April, 50% of people reported increased confidence in the kitchen. Betsy Thompson of Vermont Creamery says that added confidence may be helping home cooks experiment just beyond their comfort level.
“We’re finding that home cooks are incorporating one or two ingredients that they may have avoided before, because they were considered too elevated or fancy,” said Thompson. “Crème fraiche is a prime example.”
Vermont Creamery’s crème fraiche has seen double-digit growth this year, as home cooks are using it alongside butter in recipes like this comforting soup and on its own in this versatile salad dressing.
4. The most important meal of the day
This year saw an uptick in people making breakfast at home instead of grabbing it on the go; the rate of people making breakfast at home increased 4%, according to the NPD group.
Christmas morning breakfast can be a fun way to put your personal spin on the holiday this year, if you’re not the traditional type. Try a savory breakfast casserole or buttery cinnamon rolls for a delicious, seasonal option.
“Maybe now that you don’t have to go to multiple family Christmas celebrations in one day, you’ll find yourself with more time on your hands,” says Kelly.
5. Tried and true: Connecting through cookies
In December of 2019, nearly 40% of LandOLakes.com searches contained the word “cookie.” This year, gifting cookies may just be one tradition that does not need to change.
“We think cookies are going to continue to be huge this year,” Kelly says. “Baking your own cookies and shipping them or even making drive-by or door-step deliveries to neighbors helps you celebrate and share with others safely, at a distance.”
Learn which cookies are best for mailing and how to package them.
6. Self-care and searching for joy
This year has taken its toll on our physical and emotional health. From everyday stress, like managing caretaking responsibilities, to anxiety and grief — our families and communities have been through it this year. Our kitchen experts hope that baking can offer one small way for people to participate in something they enjoy doing and alleviate some stress they may be feeling.
In fact, Test Kitchen data suggests that this year people are treating baking more like a hobby than something they have to do: 62% of people likened baking to an enjoyable activity like singing or arts and crafts, opposed to a chore.
“We have noticed that people are actually turning to baking to relieve stress, boost their confidence and, overall, take care of themselves,” says Kelly. “That’s something we could all use this year.”
Land O’Lakes is here to keep you connected to your family traditions, and start some new ones, this holiday season. Continue to find new recipes, including ones from our farmer-owners, on the Land O’Lakes Kitchen Chronicles online.