Ready to celebrate? 5 surprising facts about Thanksgiving dinner

(BPT) – Thanksgiving is only a few days away, and that means last-minute menu planning and trips to the grocery store. While many consumers may be focused on ordering the perfect turkey, is that really what guests want? In its inaugural State of the Sides report, Campbell’s® discovered that 66% of Americans prefer sides to their holiday entrée. From top side dishes to must-try recipes and flavors, the trends report sets out to find common holiday food preferences and some of the results may surprise you.

1. Americans are not skimping on sides

This holiday season, consumers are shopping more consciously with their wallets in mind. According to the survey, 69% of respondents plan to buy the same or smaller size turkey, with 52% of those planning to go smaller to save money.

One area in which Americans are not cutting costs on their holiday table is the sides. The results show that 90% of consumers plan to serve the same number or more sides this season. Also, more than half plan to buy the best brands when cooking their holiday meal to ensure quality for the special occasion.

2. Popular holiday sides

When it comes to selecting sides to serve at holiday meals, some dishes are more popular than others. The survey found that the top five most popular holiday side dishes include: mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing and mac and cheese.

By state, two carb-filled sides reign as the clear frontrunners for top side: mashed potatoes or stuffing. While most states have a clear preference for one or the other, Massachusetts is the only state in which folks are evenly split on the topic. If you plan to visit family in Massachusetts, make sure to prepare both so everyone can enjoy!

3. Traditions can be tweaked

While those five classic side dishes remain popular, many people are looking to put a twist on traditional Thanksgiving recipes. In fact, 54% of consumers plan to try new recipes this season.

One popular flavor trend consumers are interested incorporating into their holiday meals is spiciness. For example, a Jacked Up Mac & Cheese adds the super-spicy jalapeno flavor to everyone’s favorite comfort food.

If you’re looking to take your holiday meal to the next level, consider trying something new, like this Hot Honey Mashed Sweet Potatoes recipe. This update to the classic sweet potato dish is sure to excite your holiday guests.

4. You’re going to need a bigger plate

If you’re frustrated about not having enough space on your plate for all your holiday dishes, you’re not alone. The nationwide survey revealed that 73% of respondents complained about running out of space on their plates for all their sides.

Some people may even skip turkey to make more room for their favorite dishes, noting half of the United States would be content with only sides on their holiday plate.

5. Thanksgiving lunch or dinner?

While it’s commonly referred to as Thanksgiving dinner, most people actually eat a Thanksgiving lunch. According to the survey, the most popular time to eat a holiday meal is between noon and 3 p.m. Not only does this provide a more casual, relaxed ambiance for your meal, but it also means that there’s plenty of time for people to recover before going back for seconds!

While making your Thanksgiving meal shopping list, keep these five meal trends in mind. Even small tweaks to your usual holiday meal planning can make this year the best gathering yet.

To see the full Campbell’s® State of the Sides report and find recipes for your Thanksgiving meal, visit