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Everybody Hates Canned Cranberry Sauce at Thanksgiving. Why are We Still Eating It?

The numbers don't lie. This stuff is gross.

A new survey from grocery delivery service Instacart and market research firm The Harris Poll confirms what we already knew: people really don’t like canned cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving.

According to the survey, which integrated the opinions of over 2,000 adults from across the United States and Instacart data, nearly half of Americans think canned cranberry sauce is “disgusting.” But are they really giving it a fair shake?

First of all, there’s the fact that fresh cranberry sauce is not difficult to make. Instacart customers bought twice as much canned sauce than fresh cranberries last year. If more people went to the relatively minor effort of making sauce with fresh cranberries, might they rehabilitate the tattered reputation of the venerable fruit-based condiment?

Then there’s the fact that a third of the folks who serve canned cranberry sauce leave it in the shape on the can when it makes it to the table. They get points for honesty, to be sure, but is there a less appetizing way to serve something? You could at least run a spoon through it, sheesh.

So why does canned cranberry sauce persist? There’s the traditional aspect—people are reticent to not have something at the table they’ve had their entire lives—and the fact that lots of people eat it even though they don’t like it.

The survey found that over two-thirds of Americans secretly dislike a classic Thanksgiving food but eat it anyway because of tradition. Canned cranberry sauce was the biggest offender; 29 percent of people eat it even though they don’t like it.

So if you end up buying and throwing away a full can of cranberry sauce every year, this Thanksgiving might be a good year to ditch it for good or at least give the fresh, non-can-shaped stuff a shot. Because maybe you’d be a fan of the cran after all.