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How we ate this decade: The food trends that ruled 2010-2019

You’ve been guilty of these. You’ve been proud of these. And sometimes, you’ve been the silent (and perhaps amused) spectator for these. Food trends came and went as often as day and night between 2010 to 2019. From the good to the bizarre, here are our top food trends of the decade that cooked up a storm.


How can this not top the list? From a hippie vibe to being made fun of, to now so mainstream that restaurants across the world carry vegan options, if not exclusive vegan menus—it’s one the biggest dietary shifts of our generation. Veganism is ‘a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose’. Around since 1944, it has only picked up pace now, and those who’ve practiced it can’t stop raving about the positive change in their health. If being vegan is a part of your new year resolution, here’s the starter guide: no dairy, no meats, not even honey or any such animal-derived products.

top food trends of the decade
Image: Courtesy Tijara Organic Farm

Local. Seasonal. Fresh. You would’ve noticed these terms describing menus at every other restaurant now. That’s because the global food industry is finally waking up to the excess waste, as well as the importance of quality of produce. Year-round availability of ingredients from all across the world, which requires a sufficient amount of artificial additions to keep it safe and edible, the focus has shifted to in-season ingredients from the region you’re in, as it’s nature’s best you can consume at any given moment. Also, movements like Root to Fruit ensure that the kitchens and bars ustilise all components of an ingredient, minimising waste and maximising innovation. Celebrating the land you’re in and helping out the environment?

Time to go artisanal
top food trends of the decade
The Adivasis plucking coffee cherries at Araku Valley. Image: Courtesy Surbhi Kaushik/Araku Coffee

If you don’t have at least one artisanal product in the pantry already, are you even eating right? There’s been an influx of artisanal in all segments of F&B, stemming for people’s want of moving away from processed, mass-produced foods to more keenly created goods. Whether it’s tea, coffee, meats, cocktails, vegetables, preserves or chips. What’s to love? Brands that follow through, quality, small-batch products, and personalisations too. The fact that it’s helped thrive small food businesses help as well.

Indian ingredients
top food trends of the decade

There’s been a lot of eye-rolling going on amongst Indians. All the optical exercise is thanks to the West discovering age old Indian ingredients and labelling these as ‘new discoveries’. While ghee makes us beam, chai latte make us cringe. Either way, it’s nice to know that the world is exploring the goodness sitting in everyone’s pantry. The big ones have been golden milk (haldi doodh), ghee, ashwagandha, and chai.

Instagram food
top food trends of the decade
Acai bowl

A cult in itself, Instagram food is now legit. With dishes and menus created specially to fit your Insta-aesthetic, the app has certainly won over the food world. Perfect flat lays of the table, attractively frosted cupcakes, steaming ramen, colour coordinated acai bowls—love it or hate it, you can’t ignore it (neither will your feed algorithm).

top food trends of the decade
Avocado dessert

The humble fruit deserves extra brownie points. While guacamole can be had on toast, with eggs, on its own, in soups and salads, in sushi, in desserts – you get the drift – the versatile avocado can be consumed any which way. Said to be around since 15,000 BC, it’s finally got recognition—and perhaps all of it in one go. Despite it not being inexpensive, you’ll find it on almost every menu worth its salt. With its universally loved texture, taste, and health benefits – there’s no hyping down the avocado anytime soon.

Kombucha with ginger and lime.
Kombucha with ginger and lime

You may have noticed by now that health is a recurring factor in this decade’s food trends. Yet another one pandering to this theme is kombucha. The fermented tea with a minimal amount of alcohol is known for its high probiotics and antioxidants factor. Definitely in it for the long haul, this trend has changed how we view beverages—with brands and businesses coming up solely around kombucha. With the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Lady Gaga, Madonna, and Orlando Bloom swearing by this fermented tea, its fate as the go-to cool drink is sealed.

Juniper Delhi
A gin cocktail

The explosion that gin as seen in the alcohol world has not been witnessed in decades. It managed to disrupt the popularity vote enjoyed by vodka and tequila. Its versatility to incorporate layers of flavours has made it one of the best spirits to experiment with. And specifically for Indians, the infusions with many spices and herbs means its closer to our palate. Exclusive gin cocktails are commonplace now, alluding to this trend. If you haven’t hopped aboard this one, there’s no better time than now. With bars and mixologists putting their all into gin, you’ll get the best drinks.

Straight from the lip

top food trends of the decade

The no-straw movement has gained more momentum than anyone could’ve predicted. Sparked in 2011 by Milo Cress, then a 9-year-old boy in the US who started the ‘Be Straw Free’ campaign, after discovering that Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day. Since then, the campaign has picked up like wildfire, with photos of animals choked on plastic flooding the internet in order to increase awareness. While there are two schools of thought, one in complete support and the other contending that straws are a minor aspect of a much larger issue and this microscopic focus isn’t enough for change, there’s no denying the global impact #NoStraws is here to stay.

We were here too!

Here we have other food trends that had the world hooked and left an imprint: Matcha was the food of Gods for the longest time, appearing in desserts, drinks, and everything in between. Cauliflower underwent a makeover. Freak shakes had us drooling (at least on social media). Unicorn and raindrop cakes too had the world drooling. The Japanese cheesecake and fluffy pancakes put the cute in food. Truffle took over as the topping of choice, regardless of the dish you’re eating. Poke, ramen, and acai bowls ruled the roost for one-pot meals that taste and look equally good. The cronut became a legit thing, while the coffee in a cone whizzed by. And kale, quinoa, and celery became the holy trinity of healthy snacking.
Innovation, globalisation, and consciousness have been major themes in the food industry for this decade.

Megha Uppal
Senior Associate Editor
An innate love for travel and food has translated into many a trips since childhood for Megha; it also fed her curiosity to know about local cultures. When not writing, she is on the lookout for three things: A great dark chocolate dessert, a beautiful pool where she can practice her backstroke, and art that she can save up for.
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