National St. Patrick’s Day Survey Reveals America’s Rye or Die Food Preferences

CHICAGO, March 6, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — As St. Patrick’s Day quickly approaches, a new national survey reveals Americans’ food preferences for March 17th celebrations, covering everything from where and what we eat, to what belongs on (and what should be banished from) the traditional corned beef sandwich.

According to a national survey conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Chicago-based S. Rosen’s Baking Company, nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) eat traditional and Irish-inspired foods on St. Patrick’s Day and have pot-of-gold standards for their corned beef sandwich ingredients.

Traditional Foods – Corned Beef & Spaghetti?
Among those who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, 40% dine on corned beef and cabbage, followed by fish and chips (28%), corned beef on rye (27%), Reuben sandwiches (24%), Shepherd’s pie or similar (19%), soda bread (17%), Irish Stew and pastrami on rye (tied at 15%). Green beer, cookies, and cakes were among other culinary delights Americans said they eat as “traditional” St. Pat’s food, along with the perhaps surprising and less-traditional additions of carne asada and spaghetti.

St. Pat’s Homebodies
Of those who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, over half say they get their St. Patrick’s Day meal at home (55%), while 31% get it from a bar or restaurant.

“It’s evident that when it comes to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, Americans have cherished individual traditions that incorporate specific foods, such as rye bread, and these food preferences extend outside the home to include special restaurant menus for St. Patrick’s Day. Simply put, there are some very specific food traditions surrounding the holiday,” said Tim Lotesto, Vice President of Retail Sales at Alpha Baking Co., Inc.

Lotesto added “We’re proud to produce some of these beloved foods, specifically our wide variety of ryes, which means no matter your rye preference, we’ve got what you need to make your St. Patrick’s Day sandwich unforgettable. As our founder, Sam Rosen, liked to say, great sandwiches start with great bread, and our rye bread is truly beloved. Using the same rye starter that Sam Rosen did in 1909, our rye breads are a Chicago tradition all their own.”

Changing with the Times?
According to the survey, Americans did not indicate a strong desire to change traditional St. Patrick’s Day foods, with 42% saying there shouldn’t be any changes and 22% wanting more authentic Irish options. In addition, 20% want healthier options, 16% asked for more unique options, and 10% were interested in vegetarian/non-meat options.

No Hummus, Avocados or Ketchup!
As for what ingredients St. Patrick’s Day celebrators say they would never add to their corned beef sandwich, hummus topped the list at 47% followed by avocado (43%), ketchup and olives (both at 40%), and hot sauce at 38%.

White bread got a resounding  “no” as an ingredient in a St. Patrick’s Day corned beef sandwich, with 25% of St. Patrick’s Day celebrators calling it out and 19% similarly designating wheat bread as a no-go as well.

To honor upcoming St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, S. Rosen’s has curated four new serving suggestions using their beloved rye bread as the foundation for all four recipes. For a full list, visit

About S. Rosen’s
S. Rosen’s began in 1909 when founder Sam Rosen purchased a small bakery on Chicago’s Northwest side. Renaming the company after himself, Sam Rosen used it to introduce his now-famous rye bread to the city. S. Rosen’s became a Chicago tradition and they would later merge with Mary Ann Baking Company, producer of the iconic poppy seed hot dog buns, used at more than 90 percent of Chicagoland hot dog stands today. Alpha Baking is still a family-owned company, with Sam Rosen’s grandson, Steve, serving on the board and Steve’s son Jason serving as Safety Director for the company. The company continues its long-standing support of food-insecure organizations, including donating more than 265 million pounds of bread products in 2020 to local food pantries.

About Alpha Baking   
Chicago-based Alpha Baking Co., Inc. provides premium baked goods to restaurants, food service outlets, retailers, and consumers under the S. Rosen’s, Mary Ann Baking, and Natural Ovens retail brands. Alpha Baking Co., Inc. employs more than 1,800 people at its six production plants across the Midwest. For more information, visit or

Survey Method:
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Alpha Baking Co., Inc. from January 30 – February 1, 2024 among 2,092 adults ages 18 and older.  The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval.  For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points using a 95% confidence level.