Survey: Americans plan to eat, drink more this holiday

Americans are ready to indulge this holiday season — more than they did in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic led to dramatic restrictions on public life — according to a survey from Diageo.

The giant behind brands like Guinness, Ciroc and Smirnoff found that nearly 22% of Americans believe they did not get to celebrate the holiday season the way that they wanted to last year, which was characterized by lockdowns, surging infections and the lull before the vaccine. Now, they are ready to make up for lost time, the survey found. 

"We anticipate more people returning to socializing and celebrating this year with the increase in COVID-19 testing and vaccinations" Ana Fitzgibbons, director of Diageo in Society told Yahoo Finance. She addressed the company's "Know When to Stop" campaign U.S. survey findings, an initiative aimed to educate consumers on responsible drinking this holiday season.

And true to the holiday spirit, sweets and spirits are among the top go-to this time of year, especially in 2021.

Ready to socialize and celebrate, a whopping 81% said they plan to do at least one thing "in excess" or more than they usually do, the data showed. In addition, over half (55%) say they plan to over-indulge in sweets and baked goods this year, with 43% expecting to binge watch movies and television, and some 42% planning to shop.  

"These are holiday activities people have of course enjoyed historically, but for some, there can be a feeling of making up for lost time and the data shows that this year people plan to indulge in their favorite pleasures more than ever," Fitzgibbons noted. 

For some Americans, these indulgences are among their best kept secrets. According to the survey, 40% of Millennials confess they'd be "ashamed" if others knew they were drinking more than they should, compared to Gen Z (23%), Gen X (37%), and Boomers, 33%. 

Fitzgibbons says over the past year, consumers have been taking "advantage" of at-home consumption. They've sought more premium options and making purchases based on convenience like ready-to-go cocktails, and through e-commerce platforms.

For this reason, she says the company launched the "Know When To Stop" campaign, a key component of Diageo's Society 2030 targets, to encourage celebrations at home or at a restaurant or bar "in moderation."

"We’re aiming to remind everyone that there’s a happy limit to everything, especially if they choose to consume alcohol," she noted.

And while celebrating, Fitzgibbons emphasized responsibility, and the importance of tracking alcohol intake. 

She added that "food is your friend," i.e. be sure to always have something to eat before drinking, and shift the focus away from just drinking with fun and games. Fitzgibbons also suggested drinkers temper alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic drinks. 

Last, but not least, drinkers should also end the night with a trusted ride home, and avoid getting behind the wheel. 

Brooke DiPalma is a producer and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at [email protected]

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