New Survey Reveals The Most Popular Picnic Food In The US

Writer Jane Wagner famously said that, "Unless you are at a picnic, life is no picnic." In the historical "Picnicking in the Northeastern United States, 1840-1900," Mary Ellen W. Hern explains that Americans have been turning to the romance of picnicking since the 1830s, via JSTOR. Today, picnics have become something of a summertime superstar. According to the authorities at National Picnic Week, the average picnicker partakes three times a year — that makes for roughly 94 million picnics. But, from the blanket, to the basket, to the favorite grassy spot, everybody does it differently — especially when it comes to the food.

Libby's Vegetables (a company you might recognize from its famous canned pumpkin around the holidays) recently conducted its first-ever Great American Picnic survey to find out — once and for all –what is the most popular picnic food in the U.S. Libby's surveyed over 5,000 picnickers across the country (per Brandpoint Content) and the results were published June 21, 2022, just in time for peak picnic season.

I scream, you scream, for ... potato salad

Step aside, charcuterie boards. The results are in: potato salad is king of the picnic basket. There's a reason:  the popular item has many varieties inspired by international flavors, from French to Korean potato salad. The dish might be an American picnic superstar, but it has an international audience. June 18 is even International Picnic Day. (But, if you're picnicking on a particularly hot day, consider leaving out the mayo from your recipe.)

According to the Libby's survey, other top picnic food faves include chips and salsa, fruit salad, cookies, deviled eggs, and sub sandwiches. But, many folks don't enjoy them as often as perhaps they might want to. What's the hang-up?

There are all sorts of reasons why people don't picnic more, says Libby's, from expenses to not knowing what to bring, to simply preferring indoor dining. But, according to the survey, the number-one most common hurdle to a proper picnic day is that the prep is too time-consuming, per Brandpoint Content. But, luckily for busy picnickers, potato salad is often available pre-made and packaged at many grocery stores and delis. Now, there's no excuse not to touch some grass and enjoy the great outdoors. (Yes, that's a formal challenge.)