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Cauliflower crust pizza at Joe's Pizza.

Vegan and vegetarian orders balloon in 2019, Grubhub report says

Cauliflower pizza orders increase 650%, delivery company finds. Yelp trends note 156.2% increase in Japanese souffle pancake reviews.

Year-end trend lists from third-party delivery company Grubhub and online review platform Yelp indicate vegan and vegetarian options continue to grow in popularity.

Both companies on Wednesday released lists of culinary trends noted in 2019.

Chicago-based Grubhub’s “Year in Food” report, which analyzed “tens of millions of orders placed by more than 21 million diners on its platform,” found cauliflower pizza claimed the top spot, rising 650% in popularity throughout the year.

In 2018, cauliflower dishes had claimed the No. 7 and No. 10 spots in the Grubhub data. And vegan- and vegetarian-focused dishes claimed seven of the Top 10 spots, compared to three in 2018. Vegan orders rose 27% in popularity overall in 2019 as compared to 2018.

The remainder of the Top 10 ordering trends and the percentage increases included:

  • Spicy brussels sprouts: 622%
  • Portobello empanada: 601%
  • Black bean & sweet potato taco: 513%
  • Miso pork ramen: 413%
  • Chicken burger: 318%
  • Bone broth: 298%
  • Brown sugar milk [bubble] tea: 281%
  • Vegan pad thai: 280%
  • Impossible burger: 203%

Meanwhile, Yelp, the San Francisco-based review platform, issued its first trends forecast.

Yelp also found increased popularity for cauliflower, calling it a “healthy-swap comfort food.”

“If 2019 was the year of zucchini noodles, 2020 is the year of cauliflower,” Yelp said on its blog. “People are increasingly searching for healthy-swaps for their favorite comfort foods — cauliflower mashed potatoes and cauliflower pizza are just two of the creative dishes we’re seeing added to menus and searches.”


Japanese souffle pancakes

Yelp created its list by reviewing data to find a list of words and phrases that were rising the fastest and most significantly between 2018 and 2019. Using three years of data mentions, the company forecast what trends were on the upswing.

Other Yelp trends included:

Souffle pancakes: The Japanese culinary trend was first mentioned on Yelp in the U.S. in September and mentions of the dish have been skyrocketed since.

Mocktails, non-alcoholic happy hours.

Floral-Infused drinks and dishes: Chrysanthemum and butterfly pea tea were two of the extracts popping up in cocktails and dishes.

Nashville hot chicken: You don’t have to head to Nashville for this spicy chicken anymore. Recently added to the Ruby Tuesday’s menu, we expect to see this fried chicken dish everywhere in 2020. Mentions of Nashville Hot Chicken popped up everywhere from Louisville, KY to Birmingham, AL to Champaign-Urbana, IL.

Ube as the new matcha: Ube, a purple yam that hails from the Philippines, has been a rising ice cream flavor and continues to take over the dessert scene.

Boozy kombucha: “Boozy, bubbly and somewhat healthy, hard kombucha has been spotted on bar menus along the coasts and at sports stadiums this year,” Yelp said. Review mentions were up 377% in the past 12 months.

Pineapple bun: The sweet Cantonese pastries were often served as a dim sum snack, breakfast bun or dessert pastry.

Korean cuisine: Yelp expects Korean cuisine and Korean BBQ to be a top cuisine of 2020.

Next-level desserts: “Stretchy” ice cream will make headway in 2020, Yelp said, as well as Taiyaki ice cream, a Japanese treat served in fish-shaped waffle cones, and brick toast (popular in Taiwanese eateries and bubble-tea cafes).


Best. Day. Ever. #NationalIceCreamDay : @amelialiana

A post shared by Candie’s Brand (@candiesbrand) on

Dessert trends in Grubhub’s 2019 list and percentage of increased orders included:

  • Butter cake: 641%
  • Chocolate shake: 530%
  • Fruit crepe: 223%
  • Caramel churro: 206%
  • Vegan carrot cake: 144%

Grubhub works with more than 140,000 restaurant partners in more than 2,700 U.S. cities and London.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

TAGS: Food Trends
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