A nation divided: Mash potatoes at Christmas?

Christmas Dinner

THE NATION is divided in its opinion on mashed potato at Christmas as stats reveal you’re much more likely to want mash on your Christmas dinner plate if you live in the North of Britain compared to the South.

Those living in the North East are most likely to choose mashed potato, with three quarters of residents picking it as part of their perfect plate – while only one in five people living in the South East would consider it a crucial part of their Christmas dinner.

Looking to discover what the nation’s preferred Christmas dinner plate comprises of, Seasonal Spuds – an initiative backed by the UK’s leading potato producer Branston that looks to inspire the public to enjoy more potatoes – commissioned the online YouGov survey of more than 1,800 members of the public who celebrate Christmas across England, Scotland and Wales.

Mash or roast potatoes
The Great Mash Divide

Jackie Baker, communications manager at Branston said: “Admittedly, we were hoping to see spuds rank highly, but we were stunned to see such a north south divide on mash.”

The North East’s favourite Christmas dinner plate has also been revealed; a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

If cost and time were no issue, which, if any,
of the following would you include as part
of your personal “perfect Christmas dinner” plate? 
Christmas dinner itemPercentage of people
Roast potatoes91%
Meat gravy78%
Pigs in blankets75%
Mashed potato75%
Brussels sprouts69%
Yorkshire puddings65%


The stats show that those hailing from the North East have proved to be Britain’s biggest carrot fans – whereas only three quarters of people across the country wanted carrots on their plate, 85% of North Easterners opted for them, proving their popularity over parsnips (76%) and pigs in blankets (75%)*.


The survey also shows that the difference in opinion between the North and the South goes beyond mashed potato. Only 13% of northerners would choose lamb at Christmas, compared to just over one in five (21%) in the southern regions. Red cabbage is also more popular with southern consumers, as 37% of those asked would opt for it, but just over a quarter (26%) of those from the north said yes*. 


“There is one thing the nation can agree on however, and that’s our love of roast potatoes. Regardless of age, gender or location the survey placed roast potatoes at the top of people’s dinner wish list this Christmas.”

The stats revealed that on the average dream Christmas dinner plate, 92% of people included roast potatoes. 94% opted for either roasts or mash and 40% were doubling up; choosing both options to create their perfect plate of festive food.

Jackie continued: “It just wouldn’t be Christmas without potatoes – and they’re so versatile you can cook them however you want to satisfy all your Christmas guests.”

So, it’s no wonder that demand soars for spuds during the run-up to Christmas. Sales of fresh potatoes and ready-prepared roasties experience a massive increase at this time of year.

“Our teams work around the clock to meet the demand for extra spuds in the final weeks of December. Production ramps up by over 80% to make sure there are enough fresh potatoes in supermarkets**. And in our Prepared factory we produce an extra 115,000 packs of ready-to-roast potatoes through December.”

Roast Dinner
Christmas Dinner


As well as showing differences in opinion depending on your location the survey also showed clear differences in opinion depending on when you were born. Veering away from tradition, nearly three quarters of Gen Z, millennials and Gen X (18 to 44-year-olds) included Yorkshire puddings in their ideal Christmas dinner, compared to just half (51%) of baby boomers (over 55s)*.

The survey also revealed that Brexit isn’t the only time Brussels is causing divided opinions between age groups.

“It looks like it really is true that you learn to love the taste of Brussels sprouts as you get older,” said Jackie.

“Less than half of 18 to 24-year-olds (48%) wanted the green vegetable on their ideal Christmas dinner. Meanwhile, for more than three quarters of over 55s (78%), Christmas isn’t complete without the traditional trimming.”


Younger generations are also more likely to opt for meat free gravy compared to their mature counterpart. Almost one in four 18 to 24-year-olds picked meat free gravy (24%), whereas less than one in ten people aged 55+ chose veggie gravy (9%) – similarly just 9% of over 55s would choose a nut roast.

Jackie added: “There is no denying the huge debate about eating meat products and flexitarians, vegans, and vegetarians becoming more mainstream. This is known to be something that’s influencing younger generations and our stats back this up.”

From the options provided in the survey, 81% of 18 to 24-year-olds included a product containing meat*** – significantly lower than the national average, which is 89%.

*Results calculated using variables combined in Crunch

**Figures supplied by Branston Ltd

***Product options containing meat included meat gravy, pigs in blankets, beef, gammon/ham, lamb, chicken, goose, turkey

News from Cartwright Communications

Written by Louise

What do you think?

12654 points
Upvote Downvote

Leave a Reply

A polling card poking outthe top of a ballot box in front of a map of Britain

General election 2019: A really simple guide

Lewis Capaldi holding a red rose between his teeth

Lewis Capaldi beats Ed Sheeran for 2019 best-seller