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Hungry? Yelp Looks Back at the Biggest Food Trends of the Last Decade

As we close out the decade, and think about the foods we can’t wait to try in 2020, we asked the Yelp data science team “what were the biggest food moments of the last 10 years?” Was it just last summer that we couldn’t get enough of the aperol spritz? Are people still crazy for poke? To determine the biggest food trends of the last ten years, our data science team dove into the data, looking at how many times a dish appeared in reviews compared to the prior year.

2019

For the biggest food trend in 2019, an increase in the number of quotations on menus? You can rest assured that seeing “beef” on the menu may no longer be a warning that you’re being served a heap of mystery meat, but instead such labels may indicate the plant-based proteins offered by companies such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. These umami-packed “meats” are nearly indistinguishable from the real deal, and finally have meat-lovers and meat-forgoers equally excited about the same thing—and because we know exactly what they consist of, you can enjoy your meal without having to raise your eyebrows. 

Top Left: Umami Burger. Photo by Annie L. via Yelp

Top Right: Fieldwork Brewing Co. Photo by Sandra N. via Yelp

Bottom Left: Two Fat Cats. Photo by Lisa S. via Yelp

Bottom Right: Marufuku Ramen SF. Photo by Jeff R. via Yelp

2018

They say “the camera eats first”, and how could it not when the earthy tones and seasonal splendors of charcuterie boards compliment anyone’s social media aesthetic. Layers of cheese, cured meats, fruit, nuts and other seasonal specialties thoughtfully arranged and piled high define this head turning trend. Step aside Lunchables, charcuterie boards take the top spot for 2018’s top food trend.

2017

In 2017, we noticed most of our favorite foods were now under the “toppings” section at most restaurants with access to a deep fryer and potato sack. And that’s because loaded fries were one of the biggest trends of the year, where you could find foodie favorites like bulgogi, buffalo wings, and chicken gyros all catching z’s on a hot bed of crispy fries. 

2016

2016 had us eating ice cream out of our bare hands, minus the sticky fingers and dirty dishes. Mochi ice cream was 2016’s top food trend, with buzzed about flavors like matcha, mango and chocolate in a starchy layer of sweet rice dough. The bite-sized portions spared us (well maybe not everyone) from devouring the whole package in one go.

2015

Burrito bowls were a big hit in 2015—grabbing a quick bite no longer meant you had to settle for the typical soup, salad or sandwich. Riding the waves of the bowl craze, burrito bowls delivered convenience, consistently, and endless customizability that catered to every food preference. Redefining fast food, it’s a no-brainer how burrito bowls became 2015’s top food trend. 

2014

It was only a matter of time before this college essential and Japanese staple would garner mainstream foodie attention. Ramen noodles became an instant comfort classic with savory broth variations and infinite topping combinations, making it the perfect *secret recipe* food that has us hankering to try every new ramen spot in town. Regardless of where the top ramen is, ramen IS the top food trend of 2014.

2013

You know the leaves are turning when the rich aroma of caramel apples wafts through the air. This sometimes nutty, sometimes chocolatey, but always sugary dessert is a fair and festival essential that signals the arrival of the fall season. Not to be confused with candy apples, caramel apples are glazed in a gooey layer of caramel coating that has our mouth watering at the very thought of sinking our teeth in. Caramel apples are 2013’s top food trend.

2012

Characterized by wiet-y beer names, distinctive flavors and a laid-back environment, microbrews popularized a new drinking experience that helped us justify a midday pick-me-up.. Microbrews brought us closer to the origin of our drinks—many times within the same room they were actually produced—and placed an emphasis on technique you could actually see. Microbrews serve as a beacon of independence and creativity in casual drinking culture, and without them we’d be living in a world plagued by the same few beer taps. Now that’s a scary thought.

2011

Whether you call them cakes, pies, cookies, or sandwiches, one thing we can all agree on is that whoopie pies had us jumping for joy in 2011. Variations with pumpkin or peppermint bases make the whimsical dessert a seasonal staple, while other variations, like ice cream whoopie pies, make them fitting for every taste bud.

2010

Dip or spread, Hummus is the perfect partner for all of our favorite fruits and veggies, and takes the top spot for 2010’s top food trend. This versatile and vegan-friendly concoction had us devouring pita chips and baby carrots like never before, while it’s shareability and portability make it the ideal +1 in big group settings. 

Was there a food trend you couldn’t get enough of? Tag @ Yelp on social media and tell us what foods you loved.