Italian Food Has Finally Been Overtaken As America's Favorite Takeout

While that Lady and Tramp moment might have some people yearning for the romantic pasta dinner, it appears that diners are swooning over another type of cuisine. Even though lasagna, meatballs, or that pasta carbonara might be satisfying comfort food, Axios reports that consumers are heading south of the border with Mexican food orders to satisfy their cravings. Sunday dinner might no longer feature grandma's gravy; instead it might be a plate of birria tacos served with a spicy salsa.

Looking at recent restaurant trend reports, it seems that Millennials and Gen Z gravitate towards Mexican food over Italian cuisine. While no one is saying that pasta or pizza will disappear completely, restaurants need to be aware of diners' flavor preferences, which are gravitating towards bold flavors, global influences, and a new definition of comfort food. The National Restaurant Association predicted that flavor tourism created an uptick in sophisticated flavors. From spicy to sweet, people are looking to cross dishes off their culinary bucket list. Restaurants are responding to consumers' cravings with various takes on the taco, burrito, or even a combination of cuisines. The idea of a breakfast burrito with a Mexican style protein combined with a hollandaise sauce has a greater appeal than just another eggs benedict.

While no one is saying that grandma's lasagna has lost its flavor, restaurant menus are satisfying guests with the Mexican food that they are craving. But, it might be only a matter of time till that burrito bowl might be replaced with something else, like ramen.

Are food trends real or just manufactured hype?

As one year ends and other one begins, food pundits get people hungry for what they assume with be the next must have dish, flavor, or ingredient. Although unforeseen situations like egg shortages, supply chain issues, or food costs can cause a prediction to never come to fruition, the reality is that consumers have to buy into the concept. Just because one person thinks that Sleepy Chicken makes for great dinner does not mean that everyone should put the dish on weekly rotation.

From US News World Report to Yelp to a myriad of other food sources, the 2023 food trends had some similar concepts that have been part of the conversation over the past several years. From conscious food consumption that not only supports personal health but also seeks to protect the planet to balancing global flavors with a craving for nostalgia, the common themes never seem to leave the table. Even if Italian food might be taking a back seat to Mexican or even Asian flavors, it does not mean that a plate of pasta is banished from the table forever. Just like that 15 minutes of fame for the Pink Sauce or thinking that watermelon and mustard was the perfect pairing, food trends are subjective. Some people will always order that lasagna when they have had a bad day, no matter what the food trend reports might lead people to believe.