Which Cooking Styles Have Been Driving Food Trends in the United States?

Light up your fondue pot, open a Snapple, put on some sizzling bacon and let's get started. It was almost impossible to attend a dinner party in the 1970s without coming face to face with this delicious French dish. Some people attribute its sudden and widespread recognition to Julia Child, while others point to the 1975 edition of The Joy of Cooking, which featured quiche recipes prominently. This Swiss dish caused a sensation for the first time in the US when it was served at the 1964 World's Fair in New York.

Visitors flocked to the event's Alpine restaurant for the opportunity to cut pieces of bread with extra long forks and then dip them into vats of melted cheese, wine and condiments. Fondue (and fondue parties) gained traction over the next decade, and while cheese fondue has been eaten in Switzerland since the 18th century, chocolate fondue is a purely American invention. This restaurant staple only dates back to 1952, when chef Peng Chang-kuei, a native of the Chinese province of Hunan who had fled to Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War, created it for an American admiral after serving him everything that was on his regular menu. The name was a spur-of-the-moment idea. Peng came up with General Tso's chicken only when the admiral asked him what the dish was called, but it stuck.

In 1972, when The Rolling Stones were doing a massive tour to promote Exile on Main Street, they stopped at the Trident bar in Sausalito, California, where Mick Jagger tried his first Tequila Sunrise, an ombré mix of orange juice, tequila and grenadine designed by waiter Bobby Lozoff. The band liked the drink so much that Keith Richards dubbed the Sunrise tour with cocaine and tequila in his autobiography, Life, the following months. A year later, the Eagles immortalized the cocktail with their song Tequila Sunrise, and soon this three-ingredient drink (four if you garnish it with a cherry) was available in almost every bar in the United States. With effective marketing and an appealing taste, trends can become well-known among other food options. As awareness of the benefits of maintaining a healthy gut grows, it is expected that foods based on a gut-friendly mentality (pickled, fermented, prebiotics and probiotics) will become increasingly popular with customers, as well as plant-based foods.

One in ten occasions when adults eat food within an hour of purchase; more than half of these foods come from a supermarket (Hartman, 2011). It is important to note that adding certain new and modern foods can cause food costs to increase, making those dishes unprofitable. Success lies in being able to identify specific foods, flavors and ingredients from ethnic cuisine that will best be integrated into and emulate Americans' favorite foods and forms. Chains such as Panera Bread, Shake Shack and Chipotle have helped introduce the so-called fast casual restaurant concept which is based on freshly prepared food with quality ingredients that cost only nominally more than fast food in terms of money and time. When customers browse a restaurant's menu they expect to see meals that reflect current food trends.

That's why we'll also look at three essential questions you should ask yourself to determine if it's worth adding a current food trend. Nearly all members of Generation X are familiar with the Food Pyramid - a graphic produced by the government designed to show the type and proportions of foods that Americans should eat to stay healthy. In addition to social media there were other gastronomic trends, such as vegan options available at Taco Bell. Food fads are similar to trends in that they still go viral in one way or another but they eventually fade away. Nowadays people - especially younger generations - are more aware of their health which is what is behind many existing dietary trends. As rapid population growth tests natural resources and food supplies, wasting food is no longer an option.

The unprecedented changes in lifestyles and eating patterns; increased demand for healthier foods and more ethical choices; and consumers' desire to know more about what they eat will cause dramatic changes in how the food industry does business in years to come.

Joanne Wohlfahrt
Joanne Wohlfahrt

Wannabe bacon junkie. Wannabe writer. Coffee enthusiast. Total zombie practitioner. Infuriatingly humble social media scholar.