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Horizon Study Finds Holiday Celebrations Lead to Feelings of Food Guilt, but Technology Can Provide Relief

/EIN News/ -- NEW YORK, Nov. 18, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations are more likely to make Americans give in to guilt-inducing food cravings than a hard day at work or an emotional breakup. When it comes to eating and drinking, the holidays knock people off the straight and narrow more than most any other life situation. What’s more, Americans increasingly rely on mobile technology to get them back on track.  

Horizon Media, the world’s largest independent media agency, today announced findings from an in-depth study of Americans and their food and drink choices. Horizon talked to more than one thousand people in its Finger on the Pulse panel about the lifestyle habits, attitudes, situational triggers, and emotions behind what they eat and drink.

Horizon’s study found that nearly eight in ten adults (78%) say “celebrating a national holiday like Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s” pushes them to give in to their cravings, versus only 22% who say they tend to resist temptation. This makes holiday celebrations the third most crave-inducing situation behind “visiting an amusement park/carnival” (87%) and “feeling stressed” (80%).

While it’s not surprising that the rich food traditions of the holiday season inspire Americans to indulge, it is eye-opening how much more these celebratory events pull people away from healthier habits compared to upsetting life events. Just under seven in ten (69%) say they tend to give into cravings “after having a particularly hard day at work” while 64% say “going through a breakup” pulls them toward their own food and drink vices.

“It’s not that the stereotypical image of the distressed and dejected tucking into a pint of ice cream is wrong,” says Kirk Olson, Horizon’s SVP of TrendSights. “People do that. But the fact is people are even more likely to surrender to cravings in festive, uplifting situations like the holidays when they give themselves a ‘license to indulge.’”

However, the positive energy of holiday celebrations doesn’t relieve people of negative emotions. Almost a third of Americans (30%) say when they give into their food and beverage cravings, they feel “guilty,” “ashamed,” “out of control,” or sometimes all three. That includes holiday splurges like that extra helping of dressing or second slice of pie on turkey day.  

Fortunately, today’s technologies offer help that extends well beyond the perennial guilt-induced turkey trot. From closing activity rings on an Apple Watch to getting deeper into wellness tracking on the WW app or signing up for tech-centric services like Noom, people are turning to their mobile devices as trusted allies. More than a third of all adults (36%) say apps that help them keep their daily habits and tasks “on a positive track” are their most heavily used apps; among 18 to 34 year olds, that number jumps to more than half (55%).

Horizon’s study has implications for food, beverage, and wellness brands looking to help people better navigate the culinary temptations of the holiday season. “People want their devices and apps to be smart and empathic aids in their quest to fully enjoy the season” says Horizon’s Olson. “That means tools, prompts, and reminders that allow people to treat themselves when they must, but also help them ‘be good’ when offsetting indulgence is easier.  Beyond tech, marketers can win people over with media and messaging that realistically acknowledge the same push and pull between giving in and buckling down.”

Horizon’s study also suggests that technology should play a big role for brands that want to be there for people in the upcoming New Year’s resolution period, when regaining a sense of discipline around food, fitness, and other wellness habits is often top of people’s lists.

About Horizon Media
Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest independent media agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York, and has offices in Los Angeles and Toronto. With estimated billings of $8.7 billion and over 2,300 employees, Horizon is the second largest U.S. media agency according to COMvergence data.

Recognized as one of the world’s ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company, Horizon Media has been named Media Agency of the Year by MediaPost, Adweek and AdAge and is known for its highly personal approach to client service. Renowned for its culture, Horizon is also consistently named to all the prestigious annual Best Places to Work lists published by Fortune, Forbes, AdAge, Crain’s New York Business and Los Angeles Business Journal; including “Best Workplaces for Diversity,” “Best Workplaces for Women,” and “Best Workplaces for Millennials” honors.

Earning the industry’s highest honor, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder of Horizon Media, was inducted into the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Hall of Fame in 2019.

For further information please contact
Horizon Media
Stephen Hall
(212) 220-1744

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