Grubhub Releases Annual “Year in Food” Report Detailing the Top Trends of 2020

12/03/2020

During a year of change, diners turn to comfort foods, caffeine, and an array of other beverages while staying in

As the nation looks forward to 2021, Grubhub is taking time to look back at how Americans ate their way through a turbulent year. Grubhub, a leading online and mobile food-ordering and delivery marketplace, today released findings from its annual "Year in Food" report, analyzing orders from over 30 million diners to see what rose in popularity throughout an unpredictable year, while also highlighting the generosity of Grubhub diners and how they gave back to communities and restaurants in need. In addition, diners will receive their personalized "Taste of 2020" recap to get a glimpse of their favorite cuisines, menu items, and order habits throughout the year.

TOP ORDERS OF 2020

While past years have seen a growth in vegan and vegetarian options, 2020 was a year where comfort foods and caffeine took a majority of the top spots. The famous spicy chicken sandwich trend continued throughout the year with a more than 300% increase in popularity!

  1. Spicy chicken sandwich: 318% more popular
  2. Chicken burrito bowl: 299% more popular
  3. Chicken wings: 287% more popular
  4. Waffle fries: 221% more popular
  5. Cold brew coffee: 206% more popular
  6. Steak quesadilla: 164% more popular
  7. Iced latte: 157% more popular
  8. Fish and chips: 146% more popular
  9. Strawberry shake: 131% more popular
  10. Roast beef sandwich: 126% more popular

Fun fact: Someone in 2020 really dove in head first with the chicken sandwich trend with a single order of 135 chicken sandwiches!

Breakfast: A healthy start to the day, acai bowls continued to rise in popularity (the peanut butter version made its claim to fame in 2018).

  1. Acai bowl: 353% more popular
  2. Frozen mocha: 336% more popular
  3. Chorizo burrito: 304% more popular
  4. Potato pancake: 264% more popular
  5. Strawberry banana smoothie: 216% more popular

Late Night: While more of our comfort favorites made the list, there was a nice showing from some sugary classics.

  1. Strawberry cheesecake: 303% more popular
  2. Jalapeno popper: 277% more popular
  3. Pizza puff: 232% more popular
  4. Buffalo chicken pizza: 226% more popular
  5. Cinnamon rolls: 210% more popular

Side Dishes: A mix of go-to options and a twist on some "trendier" dishes.

  1. French fries: 629% more popular
  2. Onion rings: 566% more popular
  3. Gluten-free tater tots: 544% more popular
  4. Thai chili brussel sprouts: 389% more popular
  5. Elote: 375% more popular

Dessert: A true variety of comfort, nostalgia, and some regional classics.

  1. Apple pie: 330% more popular
  2. Hot fudge sundae: 273% more popular
  3. Caramel creme brulee : 137% more popular
  4. Italian ice: 129% more popular
  5. Chocolate chip cannoli: 109% more popular

BEVERAGES ON THE RISE

There's no doubt our daily routines were thrown for a loop, which led the country to order in more than usual. And this wasn't just food–coffee orders and alcoholic beverages made a mark in the trends we saw throughout the year.

Caffeine Buzz: Morning regimens changed for plenty of Americans in 2020 and the popularity of ready-to-drink coffee orders rose by 30%.

  1. Pumpkin spiced latte: 487%
  2. Vanilla latte: 249%
  3. Flat white: 131%
  4. Cold brew: 123%
  5. Nitro coffee: 32%

Happy Hour @ Home: With a lift on restrictions in various cities across the country, diners in more places were able to complete their meals with a range of alcoholic beverages available for delivery. And boy did they–cocktails, beer and wine rose nearly 300%.

  1. Mangonada: 278% more popular
  2. Pina colada: 223% more popular
  3. Hard seltzer: 196% more popular
  4. Mexican beer: 161% more popular
  5. Rosé: 150% more popular

A LOOK AT 2020 OVER TIME

Sourdough starters. Whipped coffee. Pancake cereal. While at home, many took to their own devices to try some of the year's food trends–whether they succeeded or not. But for those who left it up to the restaurants, Grubhub took a look at the top trends month-by-month to see how America shifted as the months progressed.

  • MARCH: As stay-at-home orders took place across the country, Americans started out on a healthier foot when kick-starting their day as yogurt parfait rose 356% in popularity.
  • APRIL: Keeping up the daily routine, diners leaned on catching a caffeine buzz with vanilla chai tea lattes increasing 212% in popularity.
  • MAY: Most jumped on the bread baking trend, sharing their proud moments far and wide. However, it's clear some may have taken the "fake it 'till you make it" route as Grubhub saw orders of sourdough bread loaves increase 192% in popularity.
  • JUNE: Blueberries are in season, so why not put them to work. June saw blueberry cream cheese pizza rise 290% in popularity.
  • JULY: As summer brought outdoor activities, Americans turned to watermelon mojitos to quench their thirst, rising 382% in popularity.
  • AUGUST: It seems everyone was craving a little festivity a bit early in 2020, as August saw a 265% increase in popularity of pumpkin iced coffee.
  • SEPTEMBER: Soup season came in full force as the weather started to cool, with veggie squash soup rising 168% in popularity.
  • OCTOBER: Football season and Halloween gave folks opportunities to celebrate with American-style pale lagers rising 362% in popularity.
  • NOVEMBER: Americans substituted meat with plant-based ingredients to enjoy their hearty meals as Impossible cheeseburgers increased by 222%.

"BEST OF GRUBHUB"

While 2020 was a year for the books, Grubhub took a look at some delivery staples and the restaurants across the country that took home the title - "Best of Grubhub" - for each dish.

  • Pizza: Da Nonna Rosa: a New York City staple known for traditional and authentic Italian cuisine using the finest ingredients. Don't miss out on one of their most popular items: the Nonna Traditional NY style pizza.
  • Bagels: Utopia Bagels is known for its hand-rolled, kettle-boiled bagels, which has made this local eatery a name for itself in Queens, New York.
  • WingsDCity Smokehouse in Washington D.C. is a black-owned business offering wonderful pit smoked wings and other smoked meat classics. And don't miss out on the sides as the fried brussel sprouts and spiced fries are a couple delivery favorites.
  • Tacos: Benny's Tacos and Rotisserie Chicken has been serving Los Angeles with the best tacos the city has to offer (and we know their fish tacos are quite a hit!)..
  • Burgers: The Burger Joint is a favorite in Houston for their iconic thick, plump burgers bursting out of a toasted bun. Add on one of their famous shakes or a side of queso fries and you have a meal for the books.
  • Dumplings: Dim Sum House in Philadelphia brings flavors from the Jiang Nan region of China for locals to enjoy.

2020 SUPERLATIVES

Largest Order: 300 bean burritos (someone missed the memo that bean burritos were so 2018)
Top Pizza: Hawaiian pizza, which rose 689% in popularity
Most Popular Burger: Garlic mushroom burger rose 637% in popularity
Favorite French Fry: Loaded curly fries, which rose 315% more popular
Most Popular Plant-Based Meats: Eggplant burger
Most popular holiday for delivery: Halloween
The Health Nut: New York (most healthy orders)
The Night Owl: Rhode Island (most late-night orders)
Most Energized: New York (most caffeinated beverage orders)
Sweetest State: New Hampshire (most dessert orders)

PLANT-BASED OPTIONS STALL

Vegan and vegetarian trends slowed down in 2020 as popularity for vegan-friendly products only grew by 13% (compared to 27% in 2019). And while Americans turned to comfort foods, they weren't all traditional options as the popularity of meat alternatives soared by 463% in 2020.

Most Vegan-Friendly States (in ranking order):

  • New York
  • California
  • Oregon
  • Massachusetts
  • Illinois

Most Popular Vegan Orders

  1. Tofu spring rolls: 263% more popular this year than last
  2. Plant based burger: 251% more popular
  3. Black bean taco: 242% more popular
  4. Vegan chocolate cake: 211% more popular
  5. Vegan ramen: 183% more popular

Most Popular Vegetarian Orders

  1. Apple pancakes: 297% more popular this year than last
  2. Acai smoothie: 288% more popular this year than last
  3. Arugula and parmesan salad: 270% more popular this year than last
  4. Grilled artichoke: 252% more popular this year than last
  5. Macaroni and cheese: 222% more popular this year than last

MAKING CHANGE IN 2020

When COVID-19 started to impact people across the country earlier in the year, we knew we had to act. That's why we established the Grubhub Community Relief Fund, a donor-advised fund, to support local and national charitable organizations that provide relief for those who have been impacted by the pandemic.

Since March, Grubhub and its diners have donated more than $15 million dollars to support the Grubhub Community Relief Fund, having directly impacted a range of organizations. A few highlights throughout the year include:

  • Helped the Boys & Girls Clubs of America open 45 Clubs across the country, providing a safe environment for parents to bring their children to while they are working on the frontlines.
  • Provided nearly 1 million meals (and counting!) to organizations dedicated to feeding those in need, such as NYC Food Bank, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, and MEANS.
  • Supported the Restaurant Strong Fund with a $2 Million grant to help restaurants through the Restaurant Winterization Grant program, providing selected restaurants with $10,000 grants to help them get through the winter.

For more on the 2020 Year in Food report, go to https://blog.grubhub.com/taste-of.

Grubhub's "Year in Food" report is based on trends gathered from tens of millions of orders on the Grubhub platform. Order trends detail the rise in popularity of food items placed by Grubhub diners from January-November 2020, as compared to the same timeframe in 2019.

About Grubhub
Grubhub is a leading online and mobile food-ordering and delivery marketplace with the largest and most comprehensive network of restaurant partners, as well as nearly 30 million active diners. Dedicated to connecting diners with the food they love from their favorite local restaurants, Grubhub elevates food ordering through innovative restaurant technology, easy-to-use platforms and an improved delivery experience. Grubhub features over 300,000 restaurants and is proud to partner with approximately 245,000 of these restaurants in over 4,000 U.S. cities. The Grubhub portfolio of brands includes Grubhub, Seamless, LevelUp, AllMenus and MenuPages.

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