November 20, 2013 08:00 ET

Yummly Mines Data to Predict Thanksgiving Trends, Adds Collections to Top Recipe App

Leading Recipe Site Unveils New Version of No.1 Recipe App and Thanksgivukkah Filter

REDWOOD CITY, CA--(Marketwired - Nov 20, 2013) - Healthier dishes and more fresh ingredients are expected to grace tables this holiday season, according to Yummly (, the leading digital kitchen and recipe discovery platform. The food technology company analyzed its search and recipe data to make predictions about people's plans for shopping, cooking and eating this Thanksgiving.

Yummly takes a data-driven approach to understanding food, leveraging one million recipes, its food knowledge graph, and behavioral data from its more than 10 million unique monthly visitors. To add to this rich set of data sources, the company surveyed a subset of its users about their Thanksgiving plans.

"Yummly's bread and butter is our ability to understand the complexities of food data," said Dave Feller, CEO of Yummly. "By providing insights into what people plan to cook and eat this Thanksgiving, we are leveraging our data to help users get ahead of the holiday season, and accurately forecast trends for the food industry."

Thanksgiving predictions
In order to make these predictions Yummly had to identify the ingredients, dishes and diets that are both growing in popularity and relevant for Thanksgiving. Yummly did this by mining its search data using its analysis tools and food knowledge graph, identifying recipe attributes that both appear frequently in searches around Thanksgiving and appeared more frequently in advance of Thanksgiving this year than last.

Backed by data, Yummly predicts:

  • People will incorporate trendy vegetables like brussels sprouts and kale into their meals. Yummly projects that the percentage of searches with these veggies will be at least 30 percent higher than in 2012.
  • More of an emphasis on nutrition and special diets. Yummly projects more than a 50 percent increase in searches for low carb and paleo dishes.
  • Sweet potato pies will be more prevalent in the South this Thanksgiving. Last year, searches for this dish were four times higher in Mississippi and Georgia than the country as whole.
  • Thanksgivukkah dishes will replace some traditional dishes. Since this "holiday" won't come around again for another 70,000 years, Yummly predicts that people will embrace ingredients that are unique to each celebration by making hybrid dishes, like Sweet Potato Latkes.
  • A 30 percent increase in cocktail searches during Thanksgiving. In fact, 22 percent of respondents to a user survey plan to serve cocktails. Yummly has more than 3,400 cocktail recipes, including some that are perfect for Thanksgiving like Bourbon Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes or Cranberry Sangria.
  • A more potluck-like Thanksgiving. Twenty-nine percent of respondents who are hosting this year said they planned to make fewer dishes (only 12 percent said they would make more). The decrease in dishes prepared by the host this year could encourage others to distribute the workload by bringing their favorite dish.

The year of Thanksgivukkah
This year Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will collide for the first time since 1888. Yummly found that one in ten users plan to celebrate this holiday mash up, dubbed Thanksgivukkah. Inspired by this once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, Yummly developed a system to predict whether a recipe is relevant for Thanksgivukkah. The data-driven system identifies recipes that incorporate the culinary traditions of both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, giving users access to recipes like Sweet Potato-Apple Latkes and Cranberry Sauce, Spiced Pumpkin Doughnuts, Sweet Potato-Parsnip Latkes, Almond-Cranberry Rugelach, Pumpkin Challah and Matzo Apple Kugel.

Regional differences
Location could also dictate the traditional dishes that are more prevalent in people's kitchens this holiday season. To discover these drastic regional differences, Yummly classified dishes that appeared more frequently in particular states or regions than they did in the country as a whole.

It is no surprise that pumpkin pie is the most popular choice for a sweet after-dinner treat, followed by apple, pecan, sweet potato, and chocolate pie. Yummly data analysis reveals that taste in pies varies by region. In Mississippi and Georgia the percentage of searches for sweet potato pie was almost four times as high as the percentage in the country as a whole. An analysis of regional search patterns revealed a number of interesting regional pies: Sugar Cream Pie (Indiana), Lemon Icebox Pie (Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and surrounding states), and Millionaire Pie (New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana and surrounding states). 

The most searched Thanksgiving sides on Yummly are stuffing/dressing (4.4% of all searches around Thanksgiving), sweet potatoes (3.6%), and green beans (1.7%). However, like pies, the popularity of side dishes varies by region. Unique regional side dishes include Corn Pudding (The East, especially Virginia and the surrounding states), Creamed Onions (New England), Congealed Salad (The Southeast), and Frog Eye Salad (The West).

What's better than having delicious food on Thanksgiving? Leftovers the next day! Yummly took a look at the non-Thanksgiving turkey dishes that appeared in searches frequently on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving and found that soup was the most common, followed by casserole (80 percent as frequent as soup), and pot pie (37 percent as frequent as soup). Most people don't need a recipe for the classic post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich, but the leftover staple still came in fourth on the list (27 percent as frequent as soup).

From the kitchen
Data from Yummly shows that sweet potatoes are the most searched Thanksgiving vegetable, followed by pumpkin and green beans. Whether it is turkey or dessert, 75 percent of respondents said they will be starting to prep their dishes the day before Thanksgiving. Among those surveyed, the majority plan to make three to five dishes for the Thanksgiving holiday with the top recipes expected to include ingredients like brown sugar (76 percent), vanilla (73 percent), pumpkin (69 percent), cranberries (66 percent) and sweet potatoes (64 percent).

Considering that Thanksgiving is a holiday that focuses on food, respondents are opting to take a healthier approach this year. Forty-two percent of those surveyed plan to include healthier options, 39 percent plan to use more fresh ingredients, and 29 percent plan to make fewer dishes. Respondents are also opting to use ingredients like brussels sprouts, kale, and quinoa (Yummly projects at least a 30 percent increase in searches for these ingredients). The adoption of these ingredients may not be universal, however, as the survey suggested that people in the Northeast are three times as likely to make a dish with kale than people in the Midwest.

A majority of respondents plan to include at least one traditional family recipe in their meal. However, users above the age of 45 responded affirmatively more often than those below (66 percent to 53 percent), as did respondents from the South, when compared to those from the West Coast (69 percent to 54 percent).

The most common traditional family dishes users provided were variations on the classics like stuffing/dressing (28.5 percent; "Mother's Cornbread Dressing"), pie (11.2 percent; "Vinegar Pie"), sweet potatoes (8.4 percent; "Candied Sweet Potatoes -- no marshmallows") and green beans (8.1 percent; "Green Bean Salad").

iPhone App
And just in time to help with Thanksgiving recipes, Yummly updated its popular iPhone app to add a collections feature. Now users can save and organize their favorite recipes into different groups/collections, from appetizers to weekday dinners all customized with a name and short description of the recipes inside -- just like a personalized cookbook. Collections can be created before a user searches for that perfect dish or whenever they yum a recipe.

To learn more or to start finding delicious holiday meals and recipes based on your tastes, sign up for free at


About Yummly
Yummly's mission is to create the ultimate digital kitchen platform. Headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley, Yummly is backed by Physic Ventures, Unilever Corporate Ventures, First Round Capital, Harrison Metal Capital, and Intel Capital. Its founding angel investors and advisory board include: Jeff Jordan (partner at Andreessen Horowitz), Bill Cobb (CEO, H&R Block), Justin LaFrance (StumbleUpon), Marcia Hooper and Brad O'Neill (CEO, TechValidate). For more information, visit

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