The Year in Food According to Grubhub

Plant-based foods have staying power. That's just one of the findings in Grubhub's annual "Year in Food" report. To find out what food trends shaped the year (or didn't), Grubhub analyzed tens of millions of orders placed by more than 21 million diners on its platform to uncover the flavors and tastes rising up the ranks among today's diners. 

Key takeaways include:

Top Orders

One thing is clear: plant-based foods are here to stay, with a majority of 2019's top foods comprising of vegetarian- or vegan-friendly options. Cauliflower pizza claimed the top spot, rising 650% in popularity throughout the year.

Cauliflower pizza rose 650 percent in popularity throughout the year.

  1. Cauliflower pizza: 650 percent
  2. Spicy brussel sprouts: 622 percent
  3. Portobello empanada: 601 percent
  4. Black bean & sweet potato taco: 513 percent
  5. Miso pork ramen: 413 percent
  6. Chicken burger: 318 percent
  7. Bone broth: 298 percent 
  8. Brown sugar milk [bubble] tea: 281 percent
  9. Vegan pad thai: 280 percent
  10. Impossible burger: 203 percent
  • While cauliflower dishes took home the #7 and #10 spots in 2018, this year cauliflower leads the charge.
  • Vegetarian- and vegan-friendly dishes took over seven of the top 10 as opposed to only three of the top spots in 2018.
Breakfast: bacon, egg & cheese is a staple combo across breakfast that's risen to the #1 spot from last year
  1. BEC (bacon, egg & cheese) biscuit: 442 percent more popular
  2. Mixed berry acai bowl: 209 percent more popular
  3. Chicken & waffles: 167 percent more popular
  4. Strawberry banana french toast: 155 percent more popular
  5. Dutch pancake: 149 percent more popular
Desserts: a balanced mix of fan favorites, a few classics with a trendy spin, and a vegan dessert in the top five
  1. Butter cake: 641 percent more popular
  2. Chocolate shake: 530 percent more popular
  3. Fruit crepe : 223 percent more popular
  4. Caramel churro : 206 percent more popular
  5. vegan carrot cake : 144 percent more popular
Late-night: carbs come in handy for those snacking on late-night treats with yet another appearance from the vegan family
  1. Buffalo chicken empanada : 277 percent more popular
  2. Brisket quesadilla: 200 percent more popular
  3. Truffle parmesan fries: 157 percent more popular
  4. Garlic & parmesan bread sticks: 132 percent more popular
  5. Vegan burger: 128 percent more popular

The Rise of Plant-Based Options

Vegan and vegetarian trends are still growing, with vegan orders rising 27 percent in popularity overall in 2019 as compared to 2018. Specifically, the Impossible Burger saw a more than 200 percent rise in popularity this year.

The top meat-alternative options of 2019 (in ranking order):
  1. Impossible Burger       

  2. Black bean burger 
  3. Tofu               
  4. Mushroom burger   
  5. Jackfruit   

Top Spots for Vegans: If among the growing number of fans surrounding the vegan diet, Grubhub shed some light on the best (and not-so-great) states for people.

Most Vegan-Friendly States (in ranking order): 
  1. New York 
  2. California 
  3. Nevada 
  4. Oregon 
  5. Pennsylvania 
Least Vegan-Friendly States (in ranking order):
  1. Indiana 
  2. Iowa 
  3. North Carolina 
  4. Missouri 
  5. Idaho

Trends and More

The state you should visit if you relate to the following:
  • The Night Owl (rise of late night orders): Washington DC
  • The Health Nut (rise of healthy foods): California
  • The Most Energized (rise of caffeinated drinks): Oregon
  • The Sweetest State (rise of desserts): Texas
Placed on GH in 2019:
  • Biggest single-item splurge: osetra black caviar for $285 (30g)
  • Largest order (non-catering): more than 300 tacos for a Halloween party
  • Smallest order: a single hot sauce packet (must've been a real emergency!)

Burgers, pizza, and tacos will always be a delivery go-to; however, if there's one thing we know it's that trends come and go. Whether it's cauliflower-everything or 2017's top food of poke bowls, with more than 450,000 orders per day on average, it's safe to say Grubhub has its finger on the pulse of what's hot (and what's not). 

Trends on the Rise: it's all about detox and milk alternatives this year
  1. Celery juice 
  2. Oat milk 
  3. Street corn 
Middle of the road: not rising the ranks in popularity, but these remain a trusty go-to dish among diners
  1. Poke 
  2. Avocado toast 
  3. Kale

Trends on the Decline: forget fermentation and hydration, these two are on the out

  • Kombucha 
  • Coconut water

Fun fact: celery juice and oat milk saw a claim to fame in 2019, seeing a 302 percent and 285 percent rise in popularity (respectively).

Best of Grubhub

While 2019 was a year for new trends, Grubhub also took a look at some of the top delivery go-to dishes and the restaurants that took home the title – "Best of Grubhub" – for each dish.

  • Burgers: Calibur in San Francisco is a local favorite known for their classic burger and homemade Calibur sauce (and don't miss the Tallow Fries).
  • Pizza: a New York City staple, Joe's Pizza (Greenwich Village Institution) takes it home for this delivery favorite.
  • Chicken wings: KyoChon in Los Angeles has been said to "more than compensate in addictive flavor" with a top dish being the restaurant's honey wings.
  • Tacos: E Bar Tex Mex in Dallas is known for their tacos, especially "Jorge's Tacos" featuring a set of four (diner's choice!)
  • Poke: a dish known for its customization, SeaSweets Poke in Portland (Oregon) is the top spot for poke with the Ahi Shoyu Poke Bowl being a favorite.
  • Pad Thai: Circles Thai in Philadelphia comes in as the number one spot for this delivery essential.
  • Meatballs: diners love the Homemade Meatballs from DiPasquale's Italian Marketplace in Baltimore, with the restaurant's menu warning diners to "be prepared" for how large the meatball sub is!

Since launching its "Donate the Change" feature in October, Grubhub diners have given back to those in need. In 2019 alone, diners rounded up and donated a whopping more than $10 million to support organizations (Jan-Oct) including Grubhub's core partner, No Kid Hungry. Other organizations supported throughout the year include the James Beard Foundation's Women's Leadership Programs as part of the company's RestaurantHER program and NYC Kids RISE, giving back to local public school students' college and career futures to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Seamless, Grubhub's New York-specific brand.