While grocery shopping has either been regulated or shifted to online transactions and many restaurants operating on limited capacity, cravings for comfort food have become a desire that’s harder to fulfill. Comfort food is a go-to for people who need an instant mood booster. Some food sites even have sections specially dedicated to comfort food and how to satisfy these cravings at home. But what else does comfort food exactly bring us?
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 this 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 comfort food does provide contentment and evoke positive emotion simply by reliving related memories.
This approach can be a strategic way for businesses to incorporate more comfort food 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” given that comfort food triggers joy.
Studies illustrate that comfort food does provide contentment and evoke positive emotion simply by reliving related memories. This approach can be a strategic way for businesses to incorporate more comfort food into their 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. Comfort food doesn’t always pertain to junk food. 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, anyone?), reinventing the idea of comfort food is just a matter of making informed choices.
Company in times of isolation
More than nostalgia, comfort food can provide a sense of companionship especially in times of loneliness. Based on a 2015 study, people enjoy comfort 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. Comfort food can also serve as a reminder 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 are brought up, the culture they grew up with and the memories in between. This is why comfort food preferences may vary from person to person.
While it’s true that comfort food can improve a person’s mood, this shouldn’t be a reason to consume it without moderation. In general, food plays an important role in a person’s holistic well-being so anything should be eaten moderately.
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