Half of Americans admit to holiday party-hopping just to eat free treats

NEW YORK — Forget the small talk and catching up with long-lost relatives. Half of Americans have attended a holiday party specifically for the treats and desserts, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 Americans reveals that, while 48 percent have attended a party solely for the sweets they expected to be there, 43 percent have also stayed at a gathering just to eat treats — and then left!

The data explored Americans’ love for all things sweet, and results also find that indulging a sweet tooth is the activity most likely to bring back the childlike wonder of the holidays (56%). Eating sweets and desserts beat out opening presents (52%) and playing in the snow (49%) as the top activity to make respondents feel like a child again.

Another eight in 10 respondents said indulging in sweets and other desserts brings back the best memories of holidays and spending time with family growing up.

Commissioned by Sanders® Candy and conducted by OnePoll ahead of National Sea Salt Caramel Day on Nov. 13, the survey revealed respondents are most likely to indulge in eating sweets during the holiday season (76%). Results show that 48 percent have hidden their favorite treats to avoid sharing them with anyone else.

The most common hiding spots include behind other items in the kitchen cabinets (61%), in a kitchen cabinet that doesn’t usually have food in it (52%), or in the bathroom cabinet (49%). And watch out — 46 percent admit to “always” or “often” eating sweets that belong to other family members.

Holiday and Christmas cookies and desserts
(© Jenifoto – stock.adobe.com)

Hidden or not, during the holiday season, respondents will eat an average of 26 cookies — whether store-bought or homemade — 25 pieces of candy or chocolate and 12 slices of pie. They’ll also have 13 each of the following — slices of cake, cupcakes, brownies, and caramels.

For a treat to be “quality,” respondents are paying close attention to the taste (46%), whether it’s homemade (44%) or if it’s made in small batches (41%). That’s in addition to the origin of the recipe (33%) and if it uses real ingredients (31%).

“We’ve always felt that some of the best holiday memories are made while indulging in sweet treats — and we’re excited to make an official day to celebrate these treasured traditions,” says Sean Kristl, Brand Manager at Sanders® Candy, in a statement.

Three-quarters (74%) add they’re more likely to give in to their cravings for sweets at the end of the year — an average of 43 percent more than during the rest of the year.

For two-thirds (64%), this is because they only purchase their favorite sweets at the end of the year — for others, it’s due to tradition, as they only make their favorite treat for the holidays at the end of the year (57%).

Respondents might also be more willing to indulge at the end of the year as winter was chosen as the season with the best flavors (46%). Gingerbread was selected as the best flavor at the end of the year (54%), followed closely by salted caramel (47%). Peppermint (43%), maple (40%), and pumpkin spice (30%) rounded out the top five best flavors during the holiday season. 

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by Sanders Candy between Oct. 24 and Oct. 25, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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