They think it’s hors-d’over.... it is now

By Nigel Booth
Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 4:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 5:12 pm
The humble canapé is at risk (photo: Shutterstock)
The humble canapé is at risk (photo: Shutterstock)

Britons to banish Christmas canapés and finger foods this festive season over hand hygiene concerns

They think it’s hors-d’over - it is now. The humble canapé is at risk – due to Christmas COVID concerns.

The bite-sized finger-food favourite, usually served on pre-prepared bread, pastry or cracker was a must-have at mass festive gatherings for decades before coronavirus struck.

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But the classic hors d'oeuvres will be conspicuous by their absence at office parties and family get-togethers this year, having fallen victim to fears over hand hygiene and cleanliness.

Christmas finger food endangered due to Covid-19 (photo: Shutterstock)

The seasoned savoury staple is not alone in going missing from the menu.

Bowls of nuts, crisps, olives and other snacks, such as breadsticks and twiglets are also set to receive the cold shoulder this Christmas, with a potential BYOS (Bring Your Own Snacks) scenario looming.

A whopping 63 per cent of Britons believe finger foods should be off the menu this festive season, with cucumber and carrot sticks and dreaded dips such as hummus causing significant concern.

With a resurgence in Covid cases and the Omicron variant emerging - even with those who are fully vaccinated - hand hygiene is more important than ever.

The study found almost a quarter (24 per cent) of Brits will ask visiting relatives to sanitise before, during and after Christmas get-togethers, or on the big day itself, to ensure viruses don’t spread.

The full effect of the pandemic on the Christmas menu emerged from a study carried out among 2,023 adults by leading hygiene solutions provider, INEOS Hygienics, who have created a new dual action Sanitiser + Moisturiser range of hand sanitisers which kills 99.9 per cent of viruses and bacteria, whilst also containing aloe vera to protect and repair dry skin.

Britons could banish Christmas finger foods from the menu over fresh COVID concerns (photo: Shutterstock)

Chief operating officer of INEOS Hygienics,  George Ratcliffe,  said: “We are facing a dilemma this festive season: from what to feed guests, what food to expect if you’re visiting relatives or heading off to the office party.

“Finger foods have long been a popular touch for any event, but with the new Omicron Covid variant causing concern – alongside cold and flu season being in full swing - people are more mindful of passing on viruses to loved ones and colleagues.

“Hand hygiene is an essential tool in protecting ourselves and those around us, which is why we have taken our trusted high purity sanitiser and enriched it with the added benefit of moisturiser to give skin the best of both worlds - world-class safety and kindness.”

“And if you do decide to display nibbles after all this Christmas, the new INEOS Hygienics Sanitiser + Moisturiser range is something which you can put on the buffet table so you can canapé with confidence.”

According to the study, other dishes which we don’t want to see being offered or presented at festive get-togethers are bowls of popcorn, salads and sliders.

Even the ever-popular antipasti boards are considered inappropriate or risky now, despite 85 per cent being happy to offer them to guest’s pre-pandemic.

It emerged Brits are getting creative when it comes to hygienic hosting, with packets of crisps being laid out for guests and individually wrapped cakes set to make an appearance this Yule Tide.

An unlikely food hero is also making a resurgence in the name of hand hygiene - cheese and pineapple on a stick, with one in five Brits (20 per cent)] set to serve individual portions of snacks on sticks.

Brits are also making the move away from sharing serves in favour of a sit-down meal with individual plating this festive season, whilst the more cautious are set to scrap offering food completely and simply serve drinks at their soirees instead.

Over half (58 per cent) said they would be concerned if buffet-style finger foods were laid out for them on arrival at social venues this year.

One in seven (14 per cent) have officially been informed that ‘finger foods’ will be off the menu at the office Christmas party this year.

Overall, 56 per cent admitted they would feel uncomfortable being served snacks at the office party, another 18 per cent felt vol au vents are now a nibble ‘no no’.

Incredibly, one in five (20 per cent) said they would be happy with a ‘bring your own snacks’ scenario for the Christmas party season, even if they were heading off to the office ‘do (23 per cent) or dinner parties (32 per cent).

As many as 18 per cent said they would be happy to take their own nibbles to the local pub if they were invited out for drinks with friends and family over the Christmas break.

The study also found COVID has caused chaos with plans for family’s festive food, with half (51 per cent) admitting they have been forced to rethink what to offer visiting friends and relatives.

Hand hygiene is set to be a hot topic for hosts - as well as those people who will spend the festive period travelling around seeing their nearest and dearest.

In fact, 65 per cent of those who took part in the study are worried about the cleanliness of people they will mingle with.

Around one in three (31 per cent) will ask guests to sanitise their hands on arrival, while 22 per cent will do so before eating and drinking.

Overall, 15 per cent said their ‘first priority’ was to keep friends and family safe during the festive season.

But despite that, nearly a half (49 per cent) of Brits plan to have as many relatives over as possible and make the most of Christmas.

And 16 per cent can’t wait to get out and about and socialise as much as they possibly can.

As one of the leading producers of hospital grade hand sanitiser, the hygiene solutions provider has specifically formulated a dual action product with the added benefit of moisturiser, to not only safeguard but soften skin.

George Ratcliffe added: “Winter comes hand-in-hand with dry, chapped skin and in this new world where hand sanitisation has become a daily ritual, no one should have to prioritise protection over comfort and care.”

“We all need a helping hand to both protect and nourish our hands - especially during the winter months when temperatures drop, and cold and flu season strikes.”

“Our aim at INEOS Hygienics is to support people to go about their day with pure confidence.”

FORBIDDEN FESTIVE FINGER FOODS

1 Bowls of crisps

2 Bowls of nuts

3 Pork scratchings in a bowl

4 Olives in a bowl

5 Popcorn

6 Mini Cheddars in a bowl

7 Bowls of mini sausage rolls

8 Dips such as hummus and salsa

9 Twiglets

10 Cucumber and carrot sticks for dips

11 Cheese board

12 Chicken wings

13 Cheese straws

14 Canapés

15 Breadsticks