As 2019 comes to a close, we're reflecting on the biggest food trends of the 2010s—Instant Pots, avocado toast, charcuterie, and cauliflower in just about everything—these are the trends that impacted our meals.

By Karla Walsh
December 20, 2019
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From popular appliances such as Instant Pots and air fryers to menus that range from full-fat to full of mock meats, the 2010s were a diverse decade of food trends. Because so much has changed in the supermarket and our kitchens since 10 years ago, we’ve compiled our picks for the top 20 2010s trends that offer a good recap of what’s new—and what might be next. Then keep reading for a bonus honorable mention category of food trends that may or may not make a splash in the 2020s. 

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The Top 20 Food Trends of the 2010s

From the brains of our editors and with help from Google search trend investigation, this is our ranking of the top 20 food trends we devoured this decade.

20. Seltzer (Spiked and Spirit-Free)

Bubbling up as one of the largest food trends in the latter half of the decade, fizzy waters like LaCroix and spiked seltzers including White Claw are now refrigerator mainstays for many Americans. When you have time to DIY, try one of these sparkling drink recipes from our Test Kitchen.

19. Mock Meat

As a way of eating less meat, some folks are going faux with products like Impossible and Beyond Burgers. Nearly every fast food restaurant now offers mock meat items that look and taste a lot like the real thing (some even “bleed” like rare beef), and you can also find burger and ground beef replacements in the butcher case at many supermarkets. Seeking a more natural swap? Consider jackfruit, which reminds us a lot of pulled pork.

Carson Downing

18. Turmeric

Add a pinch to lattes or curries. Stir into a meat marinade. Sprinkle it into ice cream custard—trust us! This adaptable, peppery root (often sold as a dried spice) has been delicious since first discovered in 600 B.C., but only recently has it been lauded for its potent disease-preventing anti-inflammatory qualities.

17. Quinoa

Rice is so 2008. This whole grain, complete-protein swap can be found starring in Buddha bowls, oatmeal-inspired breakfasts, soup recipes, and even rice pudding remixes. One quinoa recipe we’ll be taking with us into the 2020s? This unique Toasted Quinoa-Harissa Yogurt Bowl.

16. Ramen

Speaking of noodles, over the past 10 years, this noodle soup upgraded a lot from the 10-cent supermarket packet you remember from college. Now the theme of popular restaurants, the big bowls of slurpable ramen are a mainstream option. We’re so in love with the pasta pick that we’ve created fresh recipes that involve wrapping them around cod, using dried noodle bits as a replacement for salad croutons, and stuffing them inside an Asian-inspired meat loaf.

15. Avocado Toast

A fact we knew to be true from the 1990s: Guac is good. A fact we now know thanks to this 2010s food trend: Avocado is great for so much more! Sliced or smashed, stacking this buttery fruit atop a slice of bread ranks as one of the biggest brunch movements in recent memory. Bonus points for showy garnishes on your avocado toast such as crispy prosciutto, a fried egg, Everything Bagel Seasoning, or apples and blue cheese. 

Related: The Safest Way to Cut an Avocado

14. The Paleo Diet

Eating old school—we're talking hunter and gatherer old—was big news in the 2010s. Eliminate dairy, grains, legumes, and processed foods and sugars, and you’ll shed weight because you’re filling up on fiber, fat, and protein, say Paleo diet devotees. If you’re considering taking on the caveman challenge, check out a sample daily menu and these Paleo recipes for every meal of the day.

13. Zoodles and Spiralized Veggies

Zucchini was just the beginning. Now, as a result of this growing food trend of the 2010s, we’re spiralizing a veritable alphabet of produce, including apples, beets, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, turnips, and of course, zucchini. If you’ve yet to expand your spiralizer horizons beyond zoodles, might we recommend these customizable latkes or these rainbow-hued beet noodle and steak bowls for your next dinner party?

Related: How to Use a Spiralizer

12. Mason Jar Meals

This canning staple can now be found as the vessel for breakfast parfaits, make-and-take salads, beautifully layered berry desserts, shake-and-heat omelets, and dozens of brilliant food gifts. Quite possibly our favorite twist on this 2010s food trend of all, though, is the Mason Jar Lid Pie.

Buy It: Ball 12-Pack Regular Mouth Glass Canning Jars, $11.99, Bed Bath & Beyond

11. Everything With Bacon

Bacon! The prevalence of this pork product seems to be only rivaled by cauliflower as the single most popular edible item of the decade, confirming that bacon is no longer just for breakfast. Now, we’re using strips as a swizzle stick in rye cocktails, dunking them chocolate, battering and deep-frying them, and crumbling crispy bits on cake balls.

10. Brussels Sprouts

The sprouts you remember—and hid from—as a child received a complete reputation makeover, hence this food trend! Instead of steaming and boiling, as your Mom or Grandma may have done, you'll find Brussels sprouts among standard brew pub and fancy restaurant fare in iterations including fried and dusted with Parm, roasted, as the star of shaved sprouts salads, or glazed with soy and chile sauce. Oh yes, and of course, sautéed with bacon!

9. Epic Cheese and Charcuterie Boards

Snackable spreads that are a feast for the eyes and the stomach are now one of the most frequently-Instagrammed food trends of the 2010s. Still haven’t mastered building a board? We’ll walk you through every step of the process. 

Related: 5 of Our Best Snack Boards to Feed a Crowd

8. Food Trucks

No longer just a scene in Austin and Los Angeles, food trucks rolled into cities big and small across the United States. Traditional street food items including tacos, gyros, ice cream, and pizza are now served alongside more common brick-and-mortar meals like pasta, Jewish deli sandwiches, cupcakes, and pho. Quite possibly up next for the on-the-go eating trend: Food boats!

7. Vegan Alternatives

Environmental impact, animal welfare, and general wellness have all been cited as reasons for the boom of this animal product-free eating style. While vegans don’t eat honey, eggs, dairy, or meat products, this decade taught us that there are still plenty of high-protein dinner ideas and delicious desserts on the menu.

6. Air Fryers

These mini countertop convection ovens—rivaling the Instant Pot as a top food trend in the 2019 appliance market—crisp up food via high heat with little to no oil required. Chicken wings, pickle chips, Scotch eggs, and even crunchy-skinned roast turkey can all be faux fried for a lower-calorie and lower-fat feast. 

Buy It: Krups Easy Fry Digital Air Fryer, $119.95, Sur la Table

5. Fermented Foods and Drinks

An interesting lesson we learned from one of the biggest food trends of the 2010s: Bacteria can be good (when we're talking about diversity of them in your gut). We rarely heard about them early in the millennium, but fermented items that are packed with probiotics like kombucha and kimchi are now officially mainstream.

Devon Obrien

4. Cauliflower Everything

Cauliflower-based swaps for carb-rich items like gnocchi, rice, buffalo chicken, hash browns, stuffing, pizza crust, and mashed potatoes have been among the top-selling foods in the last 10 years. The veggie’s versatility doesn’t stop there, though. Cauliflower steaks are one of our favorite nutrition-rich tricks for grilling season.

3. Gluten-Free

Designed for those with celiac disease and followed by others who notice discomfort after eating bread, crackers, and pasta, foods labeled to fit this wheat-free eating plan have been flying off grocery store shelves and popping onto menus everywhere. You’ll notice one of the biggest shifts in the baking aisle: Dozens of alternative flours without gluten are now available, including chickpea, coconut, almond, rice, and oat.

2. Keto Diet

Cut the carbs, not the flavor, this crazy-popular diet claims (think of it like Atkins 2.0). About 60% to 70% of calories are suggested to come from fat, 25% to 35% from protein, and just 5% from carbs. 

1. Instant Pots

Glance at any Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales recap of the last three years, and you’ll have proof this multicooker is one of the biggest trends of the 2010s. Now with many models priced at less than $100, this affordable, versatile kitchen tool can do everything from make yogurt and bake cakes to cook rice and roast meat.

Buy It: Instant Pot Duo Nova 6-Quart Multicooker, $99.95, Williams Sonoma

2010s Food Trend Honorable Mentions

Even though they didn’t make quite as big of waves as the 20 above, these food trends are concepts we expect to still be devouring in the 2020s.

  1. Meals with Less Meat, aka Flexitarianism
  2. Truffle-Flavored Food
  3. Juicing
  4. Bone Broth
  5. Frozen Yogurt
  6. Cake Pops
  7. Matcha Tea
  8. Nitro and Cold Brew Coffee
  9. Meal Kits
  10. Local Sourcing
  11. #PutAnEggOnIt (P.S. Did you know there’s a proper method to crack ‘em?)
  12. Salty-Sweet Flavor Combos
  13. Kale
  14. Macarons
  15. Sriracha
  16. Everything Bagel Seasoning
  17. Online Grocery Shopping
  18. Unicorn/Rainbow Foods
  19. Full-Fat, Low-Sugar Snacks
  20. Non-Dairy Milk

That's the decade in food as we saw it here at BHG.com. We expect many of these trends to continue into the new decade, but are looking forward to what new ingredients and tools await us.

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