While grocery shopping has either been regulated or shifted to online transactions and many restaurants still operate on limited capacity, comfort food cravings have become a desire that is harder to fulfill.
Comfort food is a go-to for anyone who needs an instant mood booster. Some food sites even have sections dedicated to this food category and how to satisfy these cravings at home. But what else does it exactly bring us?
Comfort food triggers nostalgia
Some childhood memories might be connected to what a person considers comfort food. Getting an ice cream cone after acing a math exam? The smell of your grandmother’s pancakes on Saturday mornings? These are simple reasons why you associate food with comfort.
In a 2014 study about nostalgia and food consumption, childhood is one of the themes of culinary sentimentality. Even in a 2017 study, comfort food was found to have a positive correlation to childhood as well as the people, events, and locations attributed to these memories. Both studies illustrate that food does provide contentment and evoke positive emotions simply by reliving related memories.
Getting an ice cream cone after acing a math exam? The smell of your grandmother’s pancakes on Saturday mornings? These are simple reasons why you associate food with comfort.
This approach can be a strategic way for businesses to incorporate more comfort fare into their brands. The nostalgia and food consumption study also recommended that “the use of childhood, happy family times and of intergenerational transmission is particularly suitable for the communication strategies of food brands.”
The pleasures of healthy eating
More often than not, comfort food is often linked with unhealthiness and indulgence. But it shouldn’t be the case. With a wide range of products in the market delivering infinitely healthier possibilities to this product category (vegan ice cream, sugar-free pastries, and gluten-free cake), reinventing the concept of comfort is just a matter of making informed choices.
Company in times of isolation
More than nostalgia, comfort food can also provide a sense of companionship. Based on a 2015 study, people enjoy these types of food more especially when they’re lonely since it fulfills a sense of belongingness—a cup of coffee can be a warm hug or a slice of chocolate cake can be a sweet affirmation. These foods also serve as reminders of social ties, mostly influenced by food served at home during family gatherings.
This explains the increase in businesses influenced by heritage recipes and home-cooked meals. The constant craving for familiarity can be traced back to how people were brought up, the culture they grew up with, and the memories in between. This is why preferences vary from person to person.