Britons shun big New Year’s Eve bashes for small, intimate dinner parties

Searches for vegan and vegetarian recipes for New Year’s Eve surge on Waitrose’s website

Kate Ng
Friday 31 December 2021 09:57

New Year’s Eve is usually marked by parties and celebrations, filled with drinking, dancing and plenty of festive cheer.

But this year, Britons seem to be eschewing the big bashes for smaller, more “intimate” dinner parties featuring plenty of vegetarian and vegan dishes.

According to Waitrose, searches for New Year’s Eve recipes have surged by 160 per cent on the retailer’s website, while searches for dinner party recipes have risen by 400 per cent in the past two weeks.

Data released by the supermarket also showed that shoppers are not skimping out on celebratory drinks to mark the occasion, as sales of champagne and sparkling wine rose by 20 per cent last week, making it the biggest week of sales of the year.

Waitrose also saw a surge in people looking for lighter alcohol options to celebrate, with sales of “no and low” drink options up by 52 per cent.

The most-searched for vegan or vegetarian-friendly recipes include Vegan Roasted Vegetable Tart (up by 351 per cent), French Onion Soup (up by 192 per cent), and Festive Pavlova (up by 1,446 per cent).

The retailer also saw a surge in searches for Beef Wellington recipes (up by 190 per cent), Mushroom and Stilton Pie (up 94 per cent), Mushroom Caviar (up by 45 per cent) and Mediterranean Grilled Vegetable Lasagne (up by 28 per cent).

Will Torrent, senior brand development chef at Waitrose, said: “It’s clear our customers are hosting intimate dinner parties for New Year’s Eve this year and findings show that just over a third of shoppers are treating themselves and their guests to high-end, quality products such as more premium wine and specialty ingredients.

“From what they’re serving as the main centrepiece to the fizz they’re bringing in the new year with, we’re seeing people upgrading their menus to kick off 2022.”

The findings come shortly after the government announced there would be no new Covid restrictions before the end of 2021, giving the green light for parties to go ahead to usher in 2022.

Health secretary Sajid Javid said earlier this week that nightclubs can remain open on New year’s Eve and there will be no limits on group numbers in pubs. However, Covid passes will be mandatory for large events.

Javid urged revellers to carry out Covid tests before they join any celebrations tonight.

Prime minister Boris Johnson added: “I would urge everyone to continue to act cautiously given the rising number of Omicron cases.

“More importantly I urge everyone to get their first, second or booster jab without delay to protect yourselves and your loved ones.”

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