Every era has its food trends — just this year we saw a huge spike in the consumption of meat and milk alternatives, fermented foods and international dishes. From rainbow bagels to cauliflower pizza, the 2010s were no different. The rise of #foodporn dramatically influenced the foods people ordered at restaurants and made at home because who could possibly eat something that wasn’t grammable?! As a result, the 2010s were rife with photo-friendly foods (and the influencers to popularize them). There were also a notable amount of health food trends that caused a spike in the number of alternative food products that were made available to consumers.
No doubt you’ve tried all of the foods below, but the decade is almost over and we’re feeling nostalgic. Let’s take a look back at the trends that influenced what we ate and how we ate it.
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Celiac disease only affects one percent of the US population, but gluten-free diets spread into a much bigger proportion of the population this decade. Although there’s no scientific reason to avoid gluten if you’re not diagnosed as allergic or intolerant, those who are can now enjoy a full range of gluten-free alternatives for bread, cookies, cakes, and everything else you could think of.
I’m not sure who the first person was to say, “let’s use smashed avocado as a toast spread!” Maybe they ran out of nut butter and just weren’t sure what else to use? No matter, avocado toast is now a staple on Instagram, at lunch and brunch spots, and in our own homes.
The spiked seltzer craze started with the aptly named SpikedSeltzer brand in 2012, but it really took off when brands like White Claw and Truly jumped on board later in the decade. Spiked seltzer is a great beer alternative for the beach or pool, and now it’s also widely available at bars, and sometimes even restaurants.
When cauliflower rice hit the scene, the food world was shook. But it wasn’t until people started making pizza crusts with cauliflower that things really got crazy. Now, you can buy cauliflower pizza in the freezer aisle, pre-riced cauliflower in the produce section, and even cauliflower “gnocchi” at Trader Joe’s. People are transforming cauliflower into everything from Buffalo wings to steak.
Instagram has done a lot to popularize colorful, photogenic foods, but açai and other smoothie bowls have gotten particularly popular. Drinking a smoothie is so 2000s—in the 2010s, we made extra-thick smoothies, poured them into bowls, and topped them with all manner of fruits, grains, nuts, and seeds.
It started with chef Dominique Ansel’s cronut, a hybrid croissant-donut that he sold out of his NYC bakery. Since then, bakeries across the country have followed suit. Now, there are also cruffins, sushi burritos, ramen burgers, pizza cones, charcoal ice cream and bacon weave tacos.
Who says milk needs to come from a cow? Soy milk has been around forever, but it wasn’t until the 2010s that the alternative milk market really took off. First, there was almond milk. Now, oat milk is dominating the scene with its foam-friendly consistency that’s perfect for lattes. Cashew milk, hazelnut milk and even hemp milk are now readily available in most grocery stores.
Hawaiians have been eating poke forever, but the idea of raw fish and veggies served over rice only took off in the mainland a few years ago. Now, you can get poke for lunch in any major city and it’s become as common as grabbing a salad.
Green tea is great, but powdered matcha is more vibrant, more bitter, and definitely more popular this decade. There are entire teahouses dedicated to the ritual of matcha, and more people than every own matcha whisks for at-home matcha making. Not to mention, you can get all kinds of matcha-flavored baked goods, from cookies to cakes to muffins.
The plant-based “meat” market has already exploded and is predicted to grow from $10 billion in 2018 to a whopping $38 billion in 2030. Speaking of whopping, Burger King was the first major chain to jump on board, using the Impossible Burger for their Impossible Whopper. Now that two brands, Impossible and Beyond Meat, have made such meat-like veggie burgers, there’s no telling how far the trend will go.
If you didn’t ‘gram it, did it even exist? The massive popularity of food blogs and food-themed Instagram accounts have spawned a whole generation of made-for-Instagram foods, from over-the-top milkshakes to charcoal ice cream to fish cones.
Probably our favorite food trend is the grain bowl. Quinoa has overtaken rice as the staple grain this decade (although technically it’s a seed), and grain bowls are totally the new sandwich. Start with a bed of your favorite grains, top it with meat, veggies, and whatever else you want, and be sure to snap a pic for the ‘gram.
No matter what you think of the rainbow bagel, there’s no denying that it started a whole trend of rainbow and unicorn-themed foods. If you haven’t tried one, get one ASAP. We’re guessing this trend won’t carry over into the 2020s.