Food Trends Then & Now
With a healthy appreciation for today’s buzzing food industry filled as it is with delivery services, plant milks, and all things CBD, we’re taking a trip down ten years of memory lane, back to the early days of TLP, to reminisce on the food trends it braved. We raise a glass to the food trends when avocado toast was all the rage, pumpkin spice mania took hold, and we were all excitedly lined up to get lunch from food trucks.
It had every millennial and young professional dropping anywhere between $7 and $13 each morning. With credit given to Gwyneth Paltrow, avocado toast defined a generation. Since, the commodity has been topped with everything from Sriracha and sunny-side-up eggs to everything-but-the-bagel seasoning.
Whether you consider Starbucks a godsend or a modern-day Dr. Frankenstein for their popularization of the pumpkin spice latte, it is inarguable that the drink took the country by storm in the early 2010s. Since then, #PSL has filtered its way into every consumer product from cereals, to ice creams, to liqueurs.
Maybe you had it in salad form, maybe you preferred it in a smoothie. Regardless, kale was on the menu or in your fridge right around the time Beyoncé donned a grey sweatshirt that read “KALE” in her “7/11” music video. The rest is history.
Pickles, bacon, asparagus, iceberg lettuce, oysters, and even deviled eggs and hot chicken have popped up on the rims of bloody mary glasses over the past decade. The innovation of the popular brunchtime cocktail has long been a favorite, but became trendy with modern takes and outlandish ornamentation in the early 2010s.
As the “got milk?” campaign faded, the plant-based milk movement emerged. The genesis of the craze can be found in 2011 with the rapid consumer switch to almond milk, when sales increased by 79 percent.
Craft beer boomed at the turn of the decade when breweries reinvented themselves as hip hangouts for millennials and longtime beer lovers alike. Growing initiatives to buy small and local have provided craft breweries with the demand to make batches specific to various American cities. In 2011 alone, the craft brewing industry grew 13 percent and has seen a steady increase ever since.
Moving into the twenty-teens, food trucks were nothing new, but gourmet food trucks quickly gained a cult following in cities teeming with young professionals. Now, there are entire festivals and lots dedicated to chefs who put it in park and fire up their stovetops.
The diet of our ancestors was resurrected by Dr. Loren Cordain, who published The Paleo Diet Revised: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating Foods You Were Designed to Eat. Who remembers abandoning all things processed and dairy and turning to fruits, veggies, and organic meats?
Experimentation with plant-based milk expanded through the twenty-teens and today, oat milk reigns supreme. After Oatly’s commercialization of the beverage in 2019, oat milk’s sales grew 303 percent over the next year and another 150 percent in the first half of 2021.
2020 was the year of Grubhub and DoorDash as we spent the majority it confined to our homes. Chinese food and pizza are no longer the only two food groups that you can have delivered. To the modern eater, the city’s best takeout is only an upcharge away.
As of 2020, nearly 40 percent of US homes had an air fryer. The countertop convection oven continues to gain attention as an alternative to deep-frying that eliminates the grease and oil.
Keto dominates as today’s favorite fad diet. With a focus on the consumption of large amounts of fatty foods and completely slashing carbs, the regimen relieves your digestive system of burning sugar and carbs allowing it to focus on burning stored fat instead.
Few terms have been extrapolated as much as “charcuterie” by the twenty-first century foodie. By definition a board consisting of cured meats, the term has evolved to describe themed boards—think Halloween platters starring Brach’s Mellowcreme Pumpkins, Mexican-themed spreads with grilled vegetables and guacamole, and dessert boards outfitted with chocolate fondue and bite-sized candy bars.
This decade’s “it” vegetable is undoubtedly cauliflower. The super food has been worked into trendy pizza crusts, mac and cheese alternatives, and even appeared on the menu at Chipotle as an alternative for carb-heavy rice (you’re welcome, keto people).
As the legalization of marijuana continues to trend in the political sphere, it has its counterpart in the kitchen. Cannabidiol has appeared in everything from beers to fine-dining dishes. To date, there are multiple cookbooks on the popular ingredient and a number of studies that advocate for the associated health benefits.
Canned cocktails and seltzers have lightened the load of many bar carts as an alternative to time-consuming mixology. Today, the top five producers of beer in the US have released a canned seltzer to compete with the ever-popular cultural reset that was the White Claw.
- by Erin Byers Murray
- by Amber Chase