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What Are the Food Trends We Are Watching?

Yelp's 15th anniversary list of "most popular foods" gives hints

The Lempert Report

For Yelp's 15th anniversary the company put together a list of the foods that have been the most popular in its history.

Back in 2010, it was all about soba noodles, velvet cake and cured meats. Today it's oat milk, cannabidiol (CBD), the Impossible Burger, acai bowls and street corn. Starbucks has remained in the No. 1 position for the most searched food chains, while the other top five, including McDonald’s, In-N-Out Burger, Chick-fil-A, Trader Joe’s and Chipotle have moved up and down the list. Yelp compiled these from almost 200 million reviews.

So what’s 2020 going to look like?  Tastewise’s new Functional Foods Report 2019, Putting Food to Work in the Age of Wellness, uses an AI-powered platform to analyze billions of food data points, including social, menus and home recipes published online to track the “why” behind food trends.

They found that more than a third of consumers are seeking foods that improve their mood, sleep and gut health, as well as fight aging or otherwise provide functional benefits.  

Functional foods, according to the report, are “a category of ingredients, meals and preparations that serve a particular function and purpose beyond mere sustenance”—what used to be called nutraceuticals.

And the produce department may well be affected the most.  

  • For gut health, 119% more people are talking about peppermint, 49% about leafy greens and 26% about watermelon.
  • For memory, 135% said ginger and 125% said sweet potatoes are beneficial.
  • For sleep-inducing properties, 100% more people are talking about asparagus.
  • For weight loss, 63% more people are talking about cranberries.
  • For wellness, 121% more people have identified smoothies.
  • For energy, 48% more people are talking about peaches.
  • For anti-inflammatory properties, 243% more people are talking about pumpkin, 118% about pomegranates, 105% about walnuts and 86% about mangoes.
  • For anti-aging, 179% more people talked about blackberries, and 154% said papaya.
  • For skin care, 204% more people are talking about kiwifruit, and 52% said avocado.
  • To recover from illness, 302% more people said peppermint, 268% said bok choy and 250% said artichokes help you recover.
  • For an immune system boost, 149% said kiwifruit and 136% said beets.
  • Celery was highlighted with its own section in the report, touting benefits from weight loss, depression, sickness treatment and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Two exceptions: Provolone cheese and maple syrup are this year’s new weight-loss contenders.

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