During the past decade, food trends have inspired a rollercoaster of aesthetic dishes, health crazes, and new twists on old favorites. Some foods were legitimately awesome, while others were only popular because everyone seemed to be posting them on Instagram. It’s only fitting that during the decade of the social media explosion, food trends spread faster than you could sprint to Popeye’s for a chicken sandwich. Whether you love or hate them, there’s no denying that these 10 foods dominated the 2010s.
Avocado tops the list of food trends from the 2010s. It’s a food that practically defines a generation, as boomers are infamous for claiming millennials waste too much money on things like avocado toast (that’s why they can’t afford to buy houses, right?).
This trend went way beyond everyone's basic favorites like toast and guacamole though. Avocados have popped up in virtually every trendy recipe, from vegan mac and cheese to boujee salads, and everything in between. Avocados were even trending in artworks like photo prints and tattoos. Basically, you name it and there’s an avocado version of it. Thank goodness avocados are filled with healthy fat, so you can feel good about bringing them into 2020.
- Rainbow-Colored Everything
Rainbow bagels, tie-dye frappucinos, rainbow grilled cheeses, oh my! It felt like this trend would never end, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’s finally over in 2020. Why? It looks straight up unnatural. I know what you’re thinking, I consume artificial ingredients and dyes daily (I’m drinking a coffee loaded with mocha and peppermint syrup as I write this). But there’s something about seeing neon colors in a bagel or otherwise “normal” food that makes my stomach scream. I wouldn’t touch the purple and green ketchup from the 2000s with a 10-foot pole, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to jump on the rainbow train either.
I can’t deny that everyone loved posting these visually striking foods on Instagram, which is why it’s definitely one of the most memorable trends from the decade.
If you love the way plain kale tastes, you’re either a liar or you have no taste in food. If you like the way it makes you feel, I can respect that. It’s packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin C and loads of other nutrients that’ll totally cancel out the beer, burgers and ice cream you wolfed down over the weekend.
Perhaps kale was so popular over the last 10 years because it’s easy to put into smoothies, salads and stir-fry, and you can even make “chips” with it. It seems that kale’s mainstream popularity is winding down, but it’ll probably be a staple for health nuts in decades to come.
- Pumpkin Spice
You can thank the rise of the PSL for this iconic flavor trend. In the mid-2010s, sorority girls from all over the country battled their hangovers, slapped on Ugg boots and ventured out for pumpkin spice lattes so they wouldn’t “literally die.” The flavor trend spread like wildfire into pumpkin beer, almond milk, yogurt, pancakes, butter, Jell-O and pretty much anything else under the sun. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made pumpkin-flavored dog food at this point.
Pumpkin spice will always remain a holiday staple in our hearts, but it’ll never be quite the same as its peak in 2014.
- Craft Beer
I was never a beer person up until a few years ago when I tried my first local craft beer. It might have a pretentious, hipster reputation but I strongly believe this one is worth the hype. In case you’re not familiar, craft beers are typically made from small breweries that put serious time and energy into enhancing the quality and flavor of the beer. So instead of feeling like you’re drinking liquid bread, you can enjoy fruity, floral or citrusy notes.
Craft beer has been around for quite some time, but its popularity understandably skyrocketed over the last decade. Cheers to many more years of flavorful beer.
Tacos have always been well-loved, but the rise of taco-inspired apparel, Taco Tuesday and National Taco Day solidify its place on this list. I grew up eating basic at-home taco kits with ground beef in the early 2000s, and loved every second of it. But now, I associate tacos with a creative empire that offers a little something for everyone. You can’t walk a few blocks in a major city without finding a gourmet taco in any variety you want. Between carne asada, carnitas, pollo, fish, shrimp and veggie, there’s something for everyone.
To top it off, restaurants even started offering tacos as appetizers and desserts (thanks, Klondike). I am here for the rise of the taco, and hope it doesn’t leave anytime soon.
I have to be completely honest, I’ve never tried kombucha before but I haven’t heard great things about the taste. Kombucha is a kind of fermented tea drink that’s made with bacteria and yeast. Some people claim the drink has a significant range of health benefits for the digestive system. According to the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of kombucha haven't been scientifically proven and drinkers sometimes report negative side effects like an upset stomach. Another fun fact about kombucha is that it has an extremely low alcohol content (not enough for any fun, sorry). It’ll be interesting to see if this peculiar drink trend dies out or makes its way into the 2020s.
- Food Bowls
Is there anything that doesn’t come in a bowl form these days? Between salad bowls, burrito bowls, grain bowls, smoothie and poke bowls, the list is endless. This food craze rose in popularity through its emphasis on wellness and convenience. Food bowls tend to feature healthy ingredients and offer a nutritious alternative to fast food. Even if they’re not technically healthy (I love a burrito bowl filled with pork, chipotle crema and cheese), they’re easy to eat on the go.
According to BBC, food bowls were served at the royal wedding in 2018 so guests could stand up and eat while mingling. So yeah, they were (and still are) a pretty big deal.
- Juice Bars
I remember working at a pizza shop in the summer of 2013 and feeling intrigued by the fancy new juice bar that opened up across the street. When I went to check it out, the cashier convinced me to spend two hours of my hard-earned pizza money on a wheatgrass shot and green smoothie that would allegedly make me the healthiest person alive. I left the juice bar feeling like a green goddess and then proceeded to eat pizza for lunch every day throughout the rest of the summer. Would I overpay for a wheatgrass shot again? Probably not. But they must have done something right because juice bars popped up all over the nation for the rest of the decade.
- Hard Seltzers
I’m officially declaring hard seltzer the drink of the decade. It’s refreshing, popular with Gen-Z’ers and millennials, low on calories and usually gluten-free. Nothing says trendy like a gluten-free alcoholic drink, am I right?
I couldn’t open my Instagram feed over the past few summers without seeing multiple friends laying on the beach drinking silly seltzers. White Claw enthusiasts proudly declared “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws” all over Instagram in 2019. This trend seems like it’s here to stay for years to come, but it will always have its roots from the past decade.
There you have it, the biggest foods of the decade! If you're feeling nostalgic, don't worry, you can definitely still buy all of these foods for years to come. Except for rainbow bagels...if you want one of those I would jump on it before the end of 2019. Seriously, how long can those things stick around?