Trend Overview: What people Google about food and how restaurants are responding to it?
How do Millenials and Gen Xers find their food? They search. They seek recommendations from friends, family and even strangers. And they trust Google!
Every year, Google releases its year-in-review, The Year In Search, their old Google digest, which sums up the most searched for keyword phrases over the year. Experts call it "The Trend Map", as it helps us to know what people around the world are searching for and planning for.
When it comes to food, the 2018 version of Google Trends felt Polyana in comparison to the previous decade. For one, cooking at home has become a rare event. And there might be a different meal requirement for each member of the family. While the mother of the house enjoys her Keto Pancakes for breakfast, the Father and the Son love to watch their games with a hearty platter of steak and hams. For fitness enthusiasts, gluten-free and superfoods have become popular themes for health improvement.
As for what 2019, so far, search terms like plant-based/meatless meals, fermented foods and milk alternatives have become bog-standard. And we’ve got to be honest; we’re here for it.
Such mindfulness is apparent when you see the latest Google Search Trends under Food Category. Through an analysis of the available search data, it won’t be wrong to say that the current generation is much more interested in staying healthy and eating healthy.
Best Food For...
You're what you eat - seems like millennials take this age-old adage quite seriously. In 2018 Google food trends report, the search for "best foods for" grew 10X since 2005, often followed by terms like "gym workout", "brain development", "healthy gut" and “acid reflux”.
Perhaps the growing obsession with health, food, and fitness has led to people spending a considerable amount of time on their gadgets, searching online for foods that are best for their mind and body.
Katie, a 30-year-old finance analyst in a multinational company only eats things, very specifically, that are: organic, GMO-free, preferably local, and unprocessed. She says she is very mindful of what goes into her body and after a lot of study - mainly Google search and health books, she now understands the importance of choosing the right kind of food ( what she calls, "real food") to support her health and ensure longevity.
Like Katie, many people, who have uninterrupted access to the internet, rely on Google to increase their food IQ. Of course, it’s different for different people, but then there are a few food items that made a big buzz in the food industry in 2018 and are doing pretty well in 2019 too.
Keto Diet: Given the pervasiveness of a salubrious lifestyle, it shouldn't come as a surprise the Keto Diet secured the top spot in the search results. The ketogenic dishes involve eliminating carbohydrates and refined sugars from the diet and adding about 65-70% good fat.
Non-alcoholic Infusion Drinks: This food trend is not just becoming popular amongst fitness enthusiast, but are also being adopted by restaurants and bars to attract health freaks.
With a huge number of people quitting alcohol or making it just an occasional affair, most Bars in the United States have considered introducing non-alcoholic, infusion drinks to maintain the momentum.
Think Functional Foods: Some foods have health-enhancing properties and millions of people were eager to know about this food category in 2018. Functional foods like turmeric, apple cider vinegar, avocado oil, bitter melon, and kefir, promote better health in addition to providing nutrition.
In fact, the searches for Turmeric, spice with powerful medicinal properties, have grown 300% over the last five years.
Pegan Diet: Another trending eating plan amongst Americans is the Pegan Diet. Coined in 2015 by Dr. Mark Hyman, the search for this meat-heavy Paleo diet combined with meat-shunning veganism, jumped 337% in 2018 and continuing to climb.
Farm to table foods near me: Essentially, it's a movement that broadly refers to food made from locally-sourced ingredients, often organic. People are looking for fresh, organic, locally grown and ecologically sound dishes to order for a meal. The concept has gained tremendous momentum over the last few years, evidently reflecting in menu trends from all over the country.
Restaurants are "healthifying" their offerings!
In response to food trends, restaurants are trying to add "healthy" dishes to their menu. Current menu trends from all over the country show ingredients like quinoa, chia, flax, turmeric, and probiotics being added to the dishes to make them sound healthy and simple.
For instance, National chain restaurants like Applebee’s now offer special lighter-fare menus (600 calories or less) for their more health-conscious and trend-aware customers. And if there's someone looking for a healthy pizza, California Pizza Kitchen has just the right pick for them: Half a Roasted-Artichoke-and-Spinach Thin Crust Pizza With Chicken. This one packs a lot of vegetables with added chicken to amp up the protein.
Beyond "healthifying" the menu, brands are sourcing locally, allowing them to add variety to the restaurant menu, changing it with the seasons. As more and more people become interested in knowing their food source, brands are responding in innovative ways. Chefs across the country are zeroing in on deceptively healthy, globally-inspired and sustainably grown seasonal food but in a way that reflects their own vibe and creates authenticity.
It all comes back to the drive for simplicity, health and conscious-eating. Consumers know what to eat, they just want to know if there's anyone catering to their needs. They're quick at pulling out their smartphones to find information on healthy foods available in their town and how to get it. They seek out authentic meals, search for organic ingredients, and learn about the places our ingredients come from.
If your restaurant serves healthy food (preferably, high-protein and low carb), and has an online ordering and delivery facility, then you are on the right track. Millenials are looking for you and with the right marketing tactics, you can attract them to your business. Read our exclusive guide on attracting millennials to your restaurant.
Remember, for five of the top 10 trending foods, over 50% of the searches are on mobile. In fact, according to a recent study of people who searched for food mobile, 35% ended up placing the order on the same device within 40-45 minutes. And that’s the point, of course.