Thursday, 21 December 2017

When it comes to Christmas Day there’s a difference between North and South

Times are changing and many of us are doing things differently on one of the biggest days of the year, however there’s still a strong demand for traditional Christmas feasts. The only thing is that these differ between the North and South Islands.

Emily Blumenthal, Head of Customer Experience for Foodstuffs New Zealand says, “The versatile ham (you can eat it hot or cold) is still a firm Kiwi favourite but then it gets interesting. Up there is a Kiwi leg of lamb – more popular in the North island than the South Island (19% vs 16%), followed closely by salmon (surging in the North Island as the next most popular choice), while turkey remains a favourite with South Island customers as their second most popular main.”

And, it’s not just the protein that differs between islands, it’s also all the condiments and bits and pieces that go with it. “Southerners are more likely to opt for the traditional clove studded ham while North Islanders roll out the Hot English Mustard for an added kick on Christmas Day. Northerners are twice as likely to add a couple of relishes to the festive table for their ham.”

Manhandling a large bird in and out of a roasting dish to make much loved gravy from scratch is also losing favour with some customers. 31% of South Island turkey buyers purchased a gravy mix (vs. 25% of North Islanders). “That’s understandable – making a gravy from a pack is simple, stress-free and less likely to result in a bird on the kitchen floor,” says Emily Blumenthal laughing.

As a sign of how our tastes are changing it’s exciting to see the different ways we cook and dress delicious New Zealand salmon fillets. “In the South they are still very keen on simple lemons – sliced as a decoration and ready for freshly squeezed juice as a dressing. In the North we’re seeing whole ginger and herbs being used with fragrant sesame oil for more Asian-inspired flavours.”

Once the main event is over there’s dessert. “Our research showed how dessert differs by age on Christmas Day. Older customers are still tucking into traditional favourites like fruit mince pies, puddings and Christmas cake, while younger customers are whipping up treats like Ambrosia – a heavenly and definitely Instagrammable mix of cream, yoghurt, marshmallows and fruit. A recent Ambrosia recipe on New World’s Facebook page had 250,000 views – which just goes to show how social media is influencing what we buy and enjoy,” says Blumenthal.

Christmas is a special time of year for the vast majority of Kiwis. For some New Zealanders, however, it can be a challenging time. New World and sister companies, PAK'nSAVE and Four Square make substantial donations throughout the year to foodbanks and charitable organisations. To date, the co-operatives have donated the equivalent of 3.2 million meals.

Wherever you are and whatever you do on Christmas Day 2017 the team at New World wishes you the very best and a safe, delicious and happy New Year.

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