When we look back at the beginning of the year and the food trends so many publications were predicting, there's one that jumps out that has picked up speed over the course of the year.
Of course, when many of the 2020 food predictions were written, we lived in a different world. Restaurants were in the midst of a golden era. Today, many have pivoted to takeout and delivery. We had diversity in menus and goals. Over the course of 2020, many have turned to comfort foods. And as in all years past, this year's predicted trends were rooted in what happened the year before.
So where were we in foodservice before we entered 2020?
One popular trend that stands out and was predicted to continue this year is the rise of friedchicken. Whether it be the infamous chicken sandwich wars or the growing popularity of Nashville hot, there's no doubting the popularity of chicken is continuing to expand, especially when it's battered and deep fried. This year, as the nation turned to more comfort-driven foods as the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic were felt, the stature of fried chicken was elevated even more.
Consider an article from Foodservice Director talking about many of this year's food trends. The article summarizes different trends that took place in the first half of the year, a period of time that began under one set of guidelines and finished under rules from a whole new world.
As they recapped a survey from DoorDash, most respondents said they were cooking at home now more than ever, and the dish people are most tired of cooking is chicken. At the same time, the most popular food people order out for pickup or delivery is a fried chicken sandwich and French fries. The clear takeaway is people love chicken. They just either hate cooking it, cannot cook it as well as their favorite restaurants, or a combination of both.
In addition to fried chicken was a vegetarian fried chicken option of cauliflower. Boneless wings are a fried chicken favorite and now there is a rise of cauliflower "boneless wing" options that can be drenched in all the same sauce options as their poultry counterparts.
As we conclude 2020, it's clear fried chicken was the hottest trend in not just fried foods, but in all food trends. And we look forward to seeing how operators will continue pushing the popularity of fried chicken in new and creative ways.
As you prepare your meals in the New Year and start your own set of trends, don't forget your friends at Pitco are here to help.