Halal and kosher dinner guests account for the same proportion of diners as vegans at the Christmas dinner table this year according to new research, despite members of Islam and Judaism not typically celebrating the Christian festival.
Leading savings site VoucherCodes.co.uk looked at dietary requirements over the festive period and revealed that 35% of Christmas dinners in Scotland will host someone with specific needs, with vegetarians most likely to need accommodating (14%).
But, despite its growing popularity, veganism is still a relatively insignificant barrier for those preparing this year’s meal. Just 8% of festive dinners will need to cater specially for vegan guests, while the same number will need to provide either halal or kosher food.
The study also analysed Scots’ views on having to cater for guests with particular dietary needs, and it looks as though this could cause some family friction: one in five people expect dietary requirements to be the root of an argument on Christmas day.
Additionally, 12% of those responsible for cooking Christmas dinner consider it a “significant hassle” to accommodate guests with dietary needs – unsurprising considering respondents also anticipate an average extra cost of £13.37 to cater for each person with specific restrictions.
But, dietary-related concerns are also shared by 17% of guests who fear being judged because of their requirements.
Across the UK, Brummies are most likely to need additional arrangements made for them, with more than half of meals in Birmingham (51%) having at least one guest with a particular requirement, such as allergies or a gluten intolerance.
By contrast, Christmas guests in Liverpool are easiest for their hosts as just under a quarter of meals are likely to include someone who needs to be specially catered for (23%).
Anita Naik, Lifestyle Editor at VoucherCodes.co.uk said: “The festive period can be stressful at the best of times. When you throw in a large group to cater for, and cooking times to get spot on, then add to that extra dietary requirements to manage, there’s a lot to think about.
“There may also be additional costs associated with catering for specific dietary needs. Our research shows that 22% of people with specific requirements are happy to cover the cost themselves, but there are also plenty of savings to be made.”