The British public are dreaming of a traditional Christmas, opting for classics such as roast potatoes, farm-reared turkey and gravy over more unusual dinner choices. 

The new poll by leading rural insurer NFU Mutual will come as a boost to the nation’s farmers and independent rural businesses providing Christmas fodder for people up and down the country.

Sixty-four percent of people said tradition was the most important factor when planning their Christmas dinner, and a whopping 74 per cent stated roast potatoes were essential to the plate. This was closely followed by gravy (58 per cent), pigs-in-blankets (45 per cent), and farm-reared turkey (37 per cent), with 37 per cent plumping for the humble brussels sprout.

Roast potatoes
New research from NFU Mutual reveals 64 per cent of Brits feel tradition is the most important factor when planning their Christmas dinner, with roast potatoes the most popular item (Stock image)

The results suggest the traditional Christmas dinner is sacrosanct, but shockingly, over a third of those surveyed said non-traditional Yorkshire Puddings were essential.

When it comes to the centrepiece, turkey still rules the roost with 37 per cent saying it is essential to the Christmas dinner, while 14 per cent opted for beef. Four in every hundred say a nutroast is essential while 3 per cent want fish and 2 per cent selected goose.

In addition to tradition, Brits want something easy to cook (31 per cent) and nearly a quarter had their eye on getting good leftovers when planning their Christmas dinner.

More than one in five sought special ingredients while over 20 per cent said good food and wine pairings were essential.

Hannah Binns, NFU Mutual Rural Affairs Specialist, said: “British farmers and rural businesses have their own long-standing tradition of providing the nation with high-quality, nutritious, and affordable food, especially at Christmas.

"Our research shows roast potatoes are the most essential item for a Christmas dinner, closely followed by gravy and that festive favourite, pigs in blankets. 

“Turkey was predictably the most popular centrepiece while Brussels sprouts were voted the most essential vegetable.

"Even though Brits still strive to put on the perfect Christmas roast, a third believed Yorkshire Puddings belonged on the plate, which will no doubt spark debate with traditionalists.

"The good news for British farmers and growers and other rural businesses is that they are perfectly placed to provide people's dream food throughout the festivities and into the new year.”

Emma Mosey, Farm Retail Association Chair, adds: “It’s the busiest time of year for our farm retailers and many host additional events and extended opening hours to increase footfall.

“Customers may be watching their pennies in these difficult times but consumers are more mindful than ever of where there food comes from and supporting local producers and independent retailers – for which we are very grateful.”