Google recently released their very first Food Trends Report and you can bet we were on it in a hot second. I mean, if they can create a car that drives itself, they can certainly predict what will be on our plates in the coming months.
Google compiled their top searches from January 2014 to February 2016 to determine what our stomachs are growling for across the United States. They didn’t simply look at the top queries, but adjusted for seasonal affect, and looked at how quickly each search term gained momentum. Some of the newly trending topics may surprise you, while a slew of the decliners are likely fads you’re happy to send out the door.
Instagrammers, fire up your smart phones and get those filters ready, there’s a whole new slate of hot dishes coming your way! The foods that have been rising to the top for a while include ramen, rigatoni, bibimbap, linguine, empanada, uncured bacon and Bundt cakes. While ramen has been trending for at least three years on the coasts, you have to remember that this report takes national searches into consideration. Seasonal trends are an interesting lot, and range from pho and cheese curds to smash cake and gender reveal cake. Pinterest is drowning in ridiculously adorable ideas for the last two, which you’ll be familiar with if you’re pregnant or have a kid who is about to turn one. And finally, our rising stars are turmeric, jackfruit, cauliflower rice, sourdough bread, funfetti and vegan donuts. Basically we want to eat totally processed junk food and then detox, which is of course, the American way.
On the flipside, Google says we’re losing interest in gluten-free cupcakes (hallelujah!), wheat free bread, bacon cupcakes and bacon cinnamon rolls. We’re also ready to say later to recent health stars, including quinoa, kale chips, and agave nectar. And some fads may not have even gotten on your radar before being booted off, like those hideous rainbow bagels that were recently plastered all over social media.
Foodies are a fickle lot and as a Brooklynite, I’ve been privy to the lifecycle of so many culinary trends. One by one, I’ve seen the frozen yogurt shops close, only to be replaced by juice joints that offer up green smoothies and hopes of cleaner, slimmer bodies. It’s likely that by this time next year the store fronts will have changed hands again and will be offering up cups of cheese curds with various toppings.
We want healthy and exotic
In addition to the risers and losers, Google also took a look at emerging food themes. I’m particularly thrilled to see that people are hungry for food with a function. As a nutritionist, these ingredients are right in my wheelhouse and I’ve covered many of them (turmeric, kefir, coconut milk, avocado oil, cardamom, and ground ginger) here at TODAY Food. It’s encouraging to see that healthy food is becoming hot, though that also means that it will cool off at some point.
Another overarching theme is traveling through taste. This means we’re typing in terms like pho, ramen, Mexican candy, taquitos, mochi, wonton, chamoy, pickled herring and japchae into our search bars. It’s much cheaper to try these international delicacies at home or in a restaurant than to actually book a trip to Mexico or Japan.
People seem tired of trying to make chicken exciting and since beef (especially organic, grass-fed) has become so expensive, we’re now open to experimenting with pork, even pig’s feet. And just when you thought you might donate your pasta pot, we seem to be on the verge of the pasta comeback because we’re searching for it in all its iterations. Pasta sales in North America have been on the decline since 2009 and were predicted to continue on that path until at least 2019. But perhaps dietary whims and economic forces are combining to bring it back, just like acid wash jeans. Hey, if Google says it’s true, it must be.
Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, is a nutrition expert, writer and best-selling author. Her books include Feed the Belly, The CarbLovers Diet and Eating in Color. Follow her @FrancesLRothRD