As the nation looks forward to 2021, Grubhub is looking back at how Americans ate their way through 2020.
The online and mobile food-ordering and delivery marketplace released findings from its annual "Year in Food" report, analyzing orders from over 30 million diners to see what rose in popularity while also highlighting the generosity of Grubhub diners and how they gave back to communities and restaurants in need.
According to Grubhub, comfort foods and caffeine took a majority of the top spots this year.
The famous spicy chicken sandwich trend continued throughout the year with a more than 300% increase in popularity, Grubhub said. This year, one individual even placed a single order of 135 chicken sandwiches.
- Spicy chicken sandwich: 318% more popular
- Chicken burrito bowl: 299% more popular
- Chicken wings: 287% more popular
- Waffle fries: 221% more popular
- Cold brew coffee: 206% more popular
- Steak quesadilla: 164% more popular
- Iced latte: 157% more popular
- Fish and chips: 146% more popular
- Strawberry shake: 131% more popular
- Roast beef sandwich: 126% more popular
In the breakfast food category, acai bowls continued to rise in popularity, Grubhub said.
- Acai bowl: 353% more popular
- Frozen mocha: 336% more popular
- Chorizo burrito: 304% more popular
- Potato pancake: 264% more popular
- Strawberry banana smoothie: 216% more popular
Grubhub said comfort favorites made the list of late night food options, but there was a nice showing from some sugary classics as well.
- Strawberry cheesecake: 303% more popular
- Jalapeno popper: 277% more popular
- Pizza puff: 232% more popular
- Buffalo chicken pizza: 226% more popular
- Cinnamon rolls: 210% more popular
The side dishes category featured a mix of go-to options and a twist on some "trendier" dishes, Grubhub said.
- French fries: 629% more popular
- Onion rings: 566% more popular
- Gluten-free tater tots: 544% more popular
- Thai chili brussel sprouts: 389% more popular
- Elote: 375% more popular
Grubhub said the dessert category featured a variety of comfort, nostalgia, and regional classics.
- Apple pie: 330% more popular
- Hot fudge sundae: 273% more popular
- Caramel creme brulee : 137% more popular
- Italian ice: 129% more popular
- Chocolate chip cannoli: 109% more popular
According to Grubhub, 2020 saw an increase in beverage orders as well as food, with coffee orders and alcoholic beverages making a mark in the trends seen throughout the year. The popularity of ready-to-drink coffee orders rose by 30%, Grubhub said.
- Pumpkin spiced latte: 487%
- Vanilla latte: 249%
- Flat white: 131%
- Cold brew: 123%
- Nitro coffee: 32%
With a lift on restrictions in various cities across the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic, diners were able to order a range of alcoholic beverages for delivery. Cocktails, beer and wine rose nearly 300%, Grubhub said.
- Mangonada: 278% more popular
- Pina colada: 223% more popular
- Hard seltzer: 196% more popular
- Mexican beer: 161% more popular
- Rosé: 150% more popular
A LOOK AT 2020 OVER TIME
Grubhub also took a look at the top trends over time. Many Americans participated in this year's cooking trends like sourdough starters, whipped coffee, and pancake cereal. For those who left it up to the restaurants, Grubhub analyzed 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"
Grubhub took a look at some 2020 delivery staples and the restaurants across the country that took home the "Best of Grubhub" title 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.
- Wings: DCity 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.
News from around the state of Texas.
Largest Order: 300 bean burritos (someone missed the memo that bean burritos were so 2018, Grubhub said)
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)
According to Grubhub, vegan and vegetarian trends slowed down in 2020 as popularity for vegan-friendly products only grew by 13%, compared to a 27% increase in 2019. Though Americans turned to comfort foods in 2020, the popularity of meat alternatives soared by 463%, Grubhub said.
Most Vegan-Friendly States (in ranking order):
- New York
Most Popular Vegan Orders
- Tofu spring rolls: 263% more popular this year than last
- Plant based burger: 251% more popular
- Black bean taco: 242% more popular
- Vegan chocolate cake: 211% more popular
- Vegan ramen: 183% more popular
Most Popular Vegetarian Orders
- Apple pancakes: 297% more popular this year than last
- Acai smoothie: 288% more popular this year than last
- Arugula and parmesan salad: 270% more popular this year than last
- Grilled artichoke: 252% more popular this year than last
- Macaroni and cheese: 222% more popular this year than last
Grubhub said the "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, Grubhub said.
According to Grubhub, the online and mobile food-ordering and delivery marketplace 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, Grubhub said.
The Grubhub Community Relief Fund helped the Boys & Girls Clubs of America open 45 Clubs across the country.
Grubhub and its diners also helped to provide nearly 1 million meals to organizations dedicated to feeding those in need like the NYC Food Bank, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, and MEANS, and they 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.