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Top Food Trends for 2020

Posted on January 07 2020

It’s often helpful to review the past in order to identify future trends. Analysis of online customer reviews, searches and orders gives forecasters a broader view into consumer preferences and tastes. For example, the 2020 Trend Forecast Report published by the business directory and crowd-sourced review forum Yelp, San Francisco, highlighted several emerging food and beverage trends that may take hold in the new year.

Elevated breakfast, comfort food with a healthy twist, Nashville hot chicken and Korean cuisine are four food-centric trends identified by Yelp that may catch on in 2020. Examples of elevated breakfast include souffle pancakes, a Japanese culinary trend. This past September, searches for souffle pancakes on Yelp rose 156%.

The pancakes are made with the same ingredients as traditional pancakes but feature egg whites that are beaten to form a meringue mixture that gives them greater fluffiness than traditional pancakes. The items may then be customized with combinations of syrups and toppings.

Yelp also is forecasting 2020 will be the year of cauliflower as consumers continue to seek healthier versions of their favorite comfort foods. Categories seen achieving greater scale include cauliflower mashed potatoes and cauliflower pizza. Flavors associated with these innovative applications tend to be traditional and include roasted garlic, sour cream and chives, cheese, pepperoni and margherita.

While Nashville hot chicken is not a new concept, Yelp sees its influence spreading nationally. Mentions of the menu concept expanded throughout the country during the year, and the fast-casual chain Ruby Tuesday adding Nashville hot chicken to its menu was cited as further evidence the concept is set to go mainstream.

 

In early 2019, Yelp forecast there would be a jump in consumer interest in Korean cuisine and Korean barbecue during the year. The company is forecasting it will be a “top cuisine” in 2020, with dishes like tteokbooki, a fried rice cake format, trending. Tteokbooki is a stir-fry concept featuring the fried rice cake combined with boiled eggs and scallions. Other variations may include seafood or short ribs.

 

What are Americans ordering?

DoorDash, the San Francisco-based restaurant delivery company, analyzed orders from January through November and surveyed more than 1,200 customers to track the year’s most popular food items and forecast upcoming rends.

 

More than 95% of customers told DoorDash they use food to explore other cultures, and 30% said they typically eat 5 to 10 different cuisines per month. Mexican food was the most popular cuisine ordered in 2019, increasing by 314%, according to the report.

 

Half of the top 10 most popular items ordered throughout the year were associated with Mexican cuisine. Burrito bowls took the No. 1 spot, followed by chicken tacos. Bean burritos, taco salad and nachos were also among the top 10 delivery order items.

 

American food was the second most popular cuisine, followed by Chinese, Italian, Thai and Indian. DoorDash predicted Thai food will be the “next big thing” in delivery in 2020. Customers who were introduced to Thai food for the first time in 2019 ranked it as the top new cuisine they discovered.

 

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