Google released their 2016 Food Trends Report, in which the team compiled top searches relating to food and looked at their monthly volume from January 2014 to February 2016 in order to “compile a list of accurate trends within the food industry.” The team removed any seasonal effects from the data and then measured year-over-year growth, velocity, and acceleration for each search query in order to classify the searches into trend patters, according to the report.
Top trends were categorized into one of six categories based on behavior. These are sustained risers, sustained decliners, seasonal risers, seasonal decliners, rising stars, and falling stars.
Sustained risers are described as “Steady growth over the past years, these trends are safe bets.” These include ramen, rigatoni, bibimbap, and linguine. Seasonal risers are “Seasonal trends that are likely to come back even stronger.” Some seasonal risers are phở, overnight oats, bitter melon, and cheese curds. Rising stars have “Sudden growth within the past months, these trends might not last.” Examples include turmeric, jackfruit, cauliflower rice, and sourdough bread.
Sustained decliners have experienced a steady decline over the past years, and are trends that are fading out. These include gluten-free cupcakes, evaporated cane juice, wheat-free bread, and bacon cupcakes. Seasonal decliners are “Seasonal trends that are likely to decrease in demand every year.” Quinoa, wedding cakes, kale chips, and red velvet cake are seasonal decliners, according to the report. Lastly, falling stars are “Fads that have reached their peak and have already started to decline rapidly.” Some examples are rainbow bagel, vanilla bean paste, Dutch baby pancakes, and Mulligan stew.
Top trending themes in food are "food with a function," "traveling through taste," "experimenting with pork," "bite-sized snacks," and "the pasta comeback."
Turmeric is the top trending food with a function, with search volume growing by 56 percent from November to January of this year. This trend suggests that Americans are looking for foods to fulfill needs beyond hunger and cravings, and that they want to be educated on the impact of each ingredient on their body.
Phở came out as the top trending food in traveling through taste. This trending theme shows that Americans are turning to food as a way of experiencing new cultures.
In experimenting with pork, pork shoulder was the top search term. This trend is about Americans experimenting with a familiar meat and mastering a new skill; taking traditional dishes and giving them a new spin.
For bite-sized snacks, mug cakes came out on top. Analysis of the trend suggests that consumers are looking for snacks that fit into their healthy, convenient lifestyles. Consumers are also looking for snacks that cater to their personal tastes as well as dietary restrictions and health needs.
Lastly, rigatoni was the top searched term in the pasta comeback. Pasta is back, and consumers are experimenting with new recipes and sauces. There is also interest in understanding differences between types of pasta and sauces.
Check out our predictions for healthy eating trends in 2016.