Home Uncategorized The 30 biggest food trends of the last decade

The 30 biggest food trends of the last decade

The 30 biggest food trends of the last decade

  • Like most markets, the food industry is subject to the shifting tides of consumer preference, especially in today’s viral world. 
  • Over the last ten years, there have been countless trends and fads, including avocado toast, sustainable cooking, and gluten-free products.  
  • From matcha teas and coffees to elaborate, over-the-top desserts, here are 33 food trends that dominated the last decade. 
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rainbow bagels and pastries changed the way we eat dessert.

rainbow bagel

The rainbow bagel with cream cheese and rainbow sprinkles.
Max Bartick/SpoonUniversity

Instagram and other social-media platforms have opened the doors for more and more photogenic foods — and nothing is more photogenic than a rainbow-colored bagel.

Avocado toast has become synonymous with the 2010s and millennials.

Avocado toast.

Avocado toast.

Avocado toast is exactly what it sounds like — simply smashed avocado spread on toast. It often comes with eggs and spices. 

Milk alternatives such as oat milk, soy milk, and various nut milk have spiked in popularity.

Milk Tasting Oatly

A carton of oat milk from Oatly.
Hollis Johnson/INSIDER

Whether it’s more conscious consumers worried about the environmental impact of the dairy industry or those who choose to stay away from dairy for health or ethical reasons, one thing is clear — milk alternatives are here to stay.

Activated charcoal turned everything from ice cream to cocktails black.

charcoal ice cream

Ice cream dyed black with activated charcoal.

At one point in the 2010s, foods made with activated charcoal began to replace those popular rainbow items. Everything from ice cream to cocktails was being made with the ingredient, and it was even the center of the “50 Shades of Charcoal” festival in the summer of 2018.

It has since been banned as a food additive in New York City. 

Matcha, a specific kind of green tea, is known for its health benefits and vivid green color.

matcha green tea

A matcha latte.

Matcha has been around for centuries, but the fad food began taking over menus and Instagram feeds around 2016. The flavor was soon incorporated into everything from candy to baked goods. 

Poke bowls usually feature raw fish, rice, and various vegetables.

poke bowl

A poke bowl with red onion, cucumber, salmon, masago, edamame, and sesame seeds.

The dish was everywhere in the summer of 2016, with Hawaiian restaurants popping up all over New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, and several other cities. 

Elaborate cocktail creations also hit the scene across the country, including smoked cocktails.

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A smoked cocktail at a bar in Portland, Maine.
Portland Press Herald / Contributor

Many mixologists choose to impart a smoky flavor into their cocktails by burning different herbs and wood chips in or around the glass. 

Meat alternatives, such as the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Meat burger, have turned the fast-food industry on its head.

impossible burger

The Impossible Burger “bleeds” like real beef.
Impossible Foods

Burger King’s Impossible Whopper and Dunkin’s Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich are two examples of fast-food companies shifting to plant-based meat alternatives due to increasing consumer demand. 

Wild, over-the-top desserts also made a splash.

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Milkshakes from Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer.
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer

Massive milkshakes, giant sundaes, and elaborate waffle creations all made waves in the 2010s. 

Latte art made a splash as coffee culture intensified.

Latte Art

A latte with a stylized “Ta Da!” written in foam.

Latte art, or art made using espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk to make images in foam, took over social media for a spell in the mid-2010s. 

The fast-casual explosion hit its stride with chains such as Sweetgreen and Shake Shack.


A worker holding a bowl at Sweetgreen.

Fast-casual restaurants lie somewhere between fast-food and full-service, meaning they usually don’t offer table service with a waitstaff but are generally regarded as having higher quality food than the average fast-food restaurant. 

Soylent and other meal replacement shakes got a face-lift in the late 2010s.

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Soylent bottles in a refrigerator.
Melia Robinson

With its modern, minimalist branding and marketing, Soylent caters towards a younger crowd that’s looking for quick, on-the-go meals. 

Though they’ve been around for hundreds of years, macarons saw an uptick in popularity in the states in the 2010s.

macarons french

An assortment of macarons.
Michal Osmenda/Wikimedia Commons

The French cookies are made using whisked egg whites and sugar to make meringue, the main ingredient in macarons. 

Food trucks have become hotbeds for chefs who might not have the resources to open a brick-and-mortar kitchen.

food truck

Food trucks in Washington DC.
stupid systemus/Flickr

The mobility of a truck allows entrepreneurs to reach a large audience and announce their location on various social-media platforms. 

Natural Wine has both divided the wine community and spurred a new wave of young enthusiasts.

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A few bottles of natural wine from Primal Wine.
Primal Wine

Natural wine, a broad term for wines that are produced with minimal intervention from the winemaker, has become a popular drink option in recent years. 

Cold brew coffee is everywhere these days, as iced coffee lovers flock to the highly-caffeinated coffee beverage.

nitro cold brew 01

A cup of cold brew from Starbucks.

Cold brew is made by steeping ground coffee with cold water for hours, creating a coffee “concentrate” that often has more caffeine than your average cup of joe. 

Negronis made a comeback, as cocktail lovers have embraced the bitterness of various Italian liqueurs.


A Negroni in a rocks glass garnished with an orange peel.
Jonathan Wong/South China Morning Post via Getty

The Negroni is made with gin, vermouth, and the bitter Italian liqueur Campari. It’s also the staple cocktail of the world’s best bar of 2019. 

Though smoked and cured meats never go out of style, charcuterie boards dominated the 2010s.

jamón ibérico and charcuterie platter

A charcuterie board.

Charcuterie boards often feature a selection of smoked or cured meats, various cheeses, and a sweet component — whether it be dried or fresh fruit, honey, or sweet vegetables. 

Mocktails and nonalcoholic beers, such as Heineken’s 0.0, also made a sober splash in the 2010s, as more consumers become “sober-curious,” or give up booze altogether.

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Heineken’s 0.0 beer, which contains no alcohol.

Mocktail bars are also opening all over the country to cater to customers looking for a way to socialize at the bar without drinking alcohol. 

Fermenting foods made a huge impact on small and large restaurants.

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A bowl of kimchi, or spicy fermented cabbage, is a longstanding staple in Korean cuisine.
REDA&CO / Contributor

Fermenting food, or allowing bacteria and yeast to break down carbs in order to preserve food, became a huge trend in the 2010s, as fine-dining establishments and mom-and-pops alike got into the practice.

The Noma Guide to Fermentation, a guide to fermenting pretty much everything, was also released by the team at Noma. 



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