In an often divided world, new research reveals the factor Americans feels unifies us the most — food!
Eighty-four percent of Americans say food genuinely has the power to connect people of different cultures and backgrounds.
The poll of 2,000 Americans found 88 percent say they encounter and experience other cultures through eating foods and reading about a variety of recipes.
In fact, 76 percent are regularly drawn to foods that are representative of a culture different from their own.
Conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Sabra, the survey examined how Americans look at cultures other than their own and how food can bridge gaps and create connections.
The research revealed that 86 percent enjoy eating cuisines different from their home cuisine.
A whopping 84 percent of those studied revealed they see food as a welcoming and approachable way to share cultures with others.
And another 82 percent say they see chefs as cultural ambassadors — able to make experiencing a variety of cultures easy and accessible.
Americans are also willing to travel solely to experience food native to specific regions of the world. Forty-six percent would travel for Mexican and Chinese cuisine while nearly half (47 percent) would travel to enjoy authentic Italian cuisine.
Turns out, 35 percent would gladly travel to the Mediterranean to enjoy the food native to that area like grape leaves and hummus.
But it’s not just food that people enjoy from cultures other than their own. While 64 percent do enjoy experiencing foods from other cultures, three in five enjoy listening to music that comes from cultures different from their own.
Fifty-five percent say they like embracing fashion and style from other cultures, while a further 54 percent appreciate cultural traditions that come from cultures besides their own.
That’s not to mention the over half (52 percent) who appreciate dances that arise from cultures other than their own.
“We believe food has a transcending ability to connect us and that delicious things can happen when we share heritage, culture and uniqueness through food,” said Jason Levine, CMO of Sabra, which recently opened a collaborative hummus pop up in NYC called Whirled Peas.
Food has become a way to bring different groups of people together. Turns out, 68 percent of those surveyed say a shared meal is the best way to bring groups of people together.
Other ways to bring people together include community (65 percent), similar experiences (65 percent), a shared culture (62 percent) and traditions (49 percent).
When it comes to food and cooking, 84 percent of those studied say cooking is a method of self-expression — whether cultural or personal.
It’s no wonder then that 72 percent have been introduced to a culture different than their own through food.
In fact, 79 percent of those surveyed have even proactively learned more about a tradition or culture after being introduced to a specific ethnic dish or food.
TOP 5 THINGS PEOPLE ENJOY FROM OTHER CULTURES
- Food 64%
- Music 60%
- Clothing/style/fashion 55%
- Cultural traditions 54%
- Dances 52%
TOP 5 WAYS TO BRINGS GROUPS OF PEOPLE TOGETHER
- A shared meal 68%
- Community 65%
- Similar experiences 65%
- Shared culture 62%
- Traditions 49%
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