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Most Popular Dining Trends Of 2018

GrubHub has released findings from its annual “Year in Food” report. To find out what food trends shaped the year (or didn’t), GrubHub analyzed millions of orders placed by more than 16 million diners on its platform and surveyed consumers across the country on their ordering tastes and eating habits. Key takeaways include:

Bean burritos took the top spot as the food surging the most in popularity in 2018, rising 276% as compared to 2017. And if you’ve been hearing more about cauliflower this year, you’re not alone: cauliflower rice bowls (155% increase) and buffalo cauliflower (124%) also made the list. One food not in the top 10? Red meat. Overall, the top 10 foods in 2018 are:

  1. Bean burrito (276% more popular)
  2. Poke (205% more popular)
  3. Chicken slider (189% more popular)
  4. Baby back pork rib (165% more popular)
  5. Chicken burrito (164% more popular)
  6. Chicken sandwich (160% more popular)
  7. Cauliflower rice bowl (155% more popular)
  8. Chicken and waffle slider (145% more popular)
  9. Parmesan chicken (139% more popular)
  10. Buffalo cauliflower (124% more popular)

A few other fun facts:

  • Avocado toast is no longer all the rage – the dish responsible for emptying millennials bank accounts didn’t even make the top foods of 2018.
  • While poke bowls are still hot, they’ve fallen to the No. 2 spot of this year, seeing “only” a 205% increase in popularity, compared to a 643% rise in popularity in 2017.
  • America can’t get enough chicken, with chicken-based dishes making up half of the top 10 list.

Top Breakfast Items:

  1. Peanut butter acai bowl (350% more popular)
  2. Detox juice (193% more popular)
  3. Bacon, egg and cheese sandwich (190% more popular)
  4. Breakfast burrito (141% more popular)
  5. French toast (106% more popular)

Top Late-Night Items:

  1. Stuffed jalapeno (169% more popular)
  2. Spicy miso ramen (167% more popular)
  3. Slider (148% more popular)
  4. French toast (119% more popular)
  5. Lamb shawarma (70% more popular)

Top Dessert Items:

  1. Brownie (413% more popular)
  2. Oreo cookie cupcake (316% more popular)
  3. Baklava (261% more popular)
  4. Salted caramel cookie (243% more popular)
  5. Cobbler (238% more popular)

Bonus: Coming in at the number six spot were vegan brownies (211% more popular), showing America loves brownies in all forms!

Ordering In:

  • Fast-casual reigns supreme with survey respondents – 40% ordered most from these types of restaurants, followed by quick service (32%) and casual dining at (24%.)
  • The majority (80%) of survey respondents order food to their home. Other locations include work (35%), with friends (32%), on vacation (18%), and traveling for work (14%).
  • The top five reasons on why survey respondents order in include:
  1. Didn’t feel like cooking (43%)
  2. Satisfy a craving (30%)
  3. Saving time from cooking/cleaning (28%)
  4. At home game night/movie night (25%)
  5. Family night dinner (24%)

Fun fact: Nearly 1 in 5 survey respondents order for pickup or delivery after having a new baby!

Gender Differences

More men ordered pickup or delivery in 2018 (59% ordered at least once a week) compared to women (36%).

  • 41% of men prefer quick service restaurants for pickup or delivery (compared to 25% of women) and 44% of women prefer fast-casual restaurants (compared to 36% of men). Diving into specific foods – pizza is about the only thing men (39%) and women (38%) agree on as a top choice. Burgers and Chinese are also loved, but to different degrees:
  • Top Foods Among Men: Burgers (31%) / BBQ (24%) / Chinese (23%)
  • Top Foods Among Women: Women: Chinese (32%) / Mexican (27%) / Burgers (25%)
  • More than two-thirds of women surveyed (69%) tend to be spontaneous when it comes to ordering, compared to just over half of men (54%). And when they’ve had a long day, 48% of men will splurge on something more expensive compared to 34% of women.
  • Those surveyed in relationships, slightly more men (38%) than women (31%) feel ordering pickup or delivery is a great way to spend time together. Singles also have different visions for date night when ordering for pickup or delivery, especially when it comes to cuisine:
  • 41% of women prefer pizza on a date, compared to 29% of men
  • 25% of men prefer BBQ, compared to only 11% of women
  • 20% of women prefer sushi, compared to 12% of men
  • The majority of men and women surveyed order food for pickup or delivery at work (69% and 63%, respectively), though more than half of men (51%) order twice a week or more compared to only 31% of women. Astoundingly, 10% of men surveyed said they order five times or more a week!
  • Almost all surveyed in a relationship (90%) said they prefer if their significant others have the same food preferences as they do, and nearly half (42%) consider it a potential relationship breaker if they don’t. Overall, men like more than women, with 54% saying “of course” food preferences matter, while only 31% of women said the same.
  • Nearly three-quarters of respondents surveyed (71%) said they’ve argued with their significant other about what to order, with 23% saying they “frequently” argued about it in the past year.
  • Men feel it more, with 35% “frequently” arguing about what to order compared to only 13% of women.
  • Same could be said for those in urban areas, with 35% also “frequently” arguing about the topic when only 11% of those in the suburbs say the same.
  • Millennials tend to be a little more lax, with 20% stating they “frequently” argue, compared to 28% of GenXers.
  • 95% of those surveyed in relationships know their significant other’s order by heart.
  • Of single respondents, more than a quarter (26%) said they judge dates on what they order (this increases to 30% among men, compared to 22% of women).

Food & Work

  • Eating at the office is a common occurrence among employees. Of those surveyed who have ordered at work, 43% do it more than twice a week, and 35% order 2-4 times per week.
  • Lunch (81%) is the most popular meal for pickup or delivery, but 44% have also ordered dinner to their place of work. And while 24% ordered breakfast, it seems those in urban areas are more prone to ordering at the office in the morning (32% of urban workers, compared to 13% in suburban areas).
  • More than half (60%) are getting away from their desk to eat. In fact, over a third (35%) are opting for the office’s common areas and 13% are getting out of the office to enjoy their meal! Men get away more (66%) as opposed to only, 52% of women eating elsewhere.
  • Microwaving leftover fish in the communal kitchen? That’s one way to make an impression among your work buddies. Among other workplace annoyances cited by survey respondents:
    • Eating someone else’s food (47%)
    • Leaving a messy kitchen (44%)
    • Dirty microwave (38%)
    • Microwaving pungent food (34%)
    • Eating something messy/pungent at the desk (30%)
    • Forgetting about leftover pick-up food in the fridge (29%)