Nearly half of Americans sought out comfort through food last year

A new study from Castello and OnePoll found fifty-two percent of Americans were more indulgent when it comes to food. (Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash)

Nine in 10 Americans turned to the “simple things” in life to get through a tumultuous 2020, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 Americans determined that 88% of those polled have found a new appreciation of the simpler things in life over the past 12 months.

And they’re most likely to have turned to comfort food (56%), with quality time with loved ones (45%) and a good laugh (44%) rounding out the top three simple things for which Americans have grown a renewed fondness.

The survey also revealed that 89% of respondents have been trying to bring themselves daily joy to combat stress.

The top comfort foods Americans are seeking are dairy, including ice cream (43%) and cheese (41%), as well as cookies (41%).

Two-thirds of Americans surveyed called cheese the ultimate comfort food — and those polled noted that they have been enjoying a variety of cheeses, including Havarti, Cheddar, Blue Cheese and more.

Not only is cheese being enjoyed on its own, but it is the go-to ingredient in comforting dishes that respondents have been indulging in more, like macaroni and cheese (36%) and grilled cheese (35%).

Commissioned by OnePoll on behalf of Castello, a Danish cheese brand, the study found that a nice walk outdoors is another simple joy that 42% of Americans are craving.

Time alone (39%) and quiet time (40%) are two things Americans have come to enjoy, with 39% saying they could really go for a long-overdue massage.

Forty-one percent appreciate time with a good book, 42% with their favorite movie or TV show and 35% with a nice nap.

These instances of tranquility come as nearly three-quarters (72%) have begun to incorporate methods of mindfulness into their routines over the past year, including meditation and deep breathing exercises.

One in three respondents focused on mindfulness has been incorporating the Danish practice of hygge — a mood defined by coziness, comfort and the feeling of contentment — in their daily lives.

Americans that are not utilizing any mindfulness practices cite being too distracted or not sure how to incorporate them as top reasons.

As mindful practices go, a quarter of Americans are interested in learning about hygge.

“In these unprecedented times, finding comfort in simplicity has never been more necessary,” said Castello spokesperson and Danish baroness and chef, Caroline Fleming.

“The Danish practice of hygge is centered around finding comfort in your environment — and in your food — and based on the survey results, it sounds like most are practicing hygge without even realizing it!”

Just over half of the respondents said they actively try to create a cozy atmosphere in their home — an essential component of hygge.

According to results, 82% of those surveyed also said they are actively seeking out “comfort,” and the top way respondents find it is through food (43%).

Virtual time with friends and family (40%) and comfy clothing/loungewear (40%) round out the top three, with a nice cup of coffee/tea (38%) and exercise (38%) not far behind.

The results also showed that 52% of Americans surveyed have become a bit more indulgent when it comes to their food, opting for foods that bring more joy to their life.

Comfort food 56%
Quality time with loved ones 45%
A good laugh 44%
A vacation 44%
Favorite movie/TV show 42%
A walk outdoors 42%
A good book 41%
Quiet time 40%
Time alone 39%
A massage 39%

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