Summer is a time for shorts, suntans, beaches, and barbeques. As the temperatures soared, we enjoyed grilling steaks, ribs, sausages, kebabs, shrimp, and chicken. Interestingly, some of the following unconventional trends also took center stage for us in the summer:
#1 We Turned to Veganism
With high animal-fat-based diets proving detrimental to health, more consumers began adopting vegan diets this summer. Nothing exemplified this more than the increasing popularity of Beyond Meat, Inc.
Based out of Los Angeles, this producer of protein-based meat substitute products saw its stock skyrocket to more than 700 percent since its IPO. Beyond Meat burgers were sold out at various fast-food chains such as A&W within weeks. This resulted in even more franchises teaming up with the brand. Just recently, KFC’s plant-based chicken was sold out in Atlanta in less than five hours.
This is good news for the planet. The massive demand for animal protein has played a significant role in rising temperatures. Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 18% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions globally.
The devastating fires in the Amazon rainforest may also be linked to cattle farming. The farmers are believed to have started many of them to clear the ground for livestock. Brazil happens to be one of the world’s biggest exporters of beef.
However, experts caution that while there are legitimate environmental and ethical reasons for consuming Beyond Meat burgers, the food may not be particularly healthy. Dietitians argue that Beyond Meat burgers are ultra-processed, calorie-rich, and high in fat and sodium. Michael Rogers, a food scientist at the University of Guelph, urges consumers not to blindly purchase foods that they think are healthy just because they’re plant-based.
#2 We Consumed More Fruits and Vegetables This Summer
The popularity of alternative dietary lifestyles saw the demand for fruits and vegetables rise this summer. People cooled down with refreshing fruits such as watermelon, papaya, mango, strawberries, grapes, pineapple, plums, and kiwi.
Likewise, vegetarians increased their fiber and vitamin intake with summer vegetables such as eggplant, okra, corn, green beans, radishes, bell pepper, and more. Vegetables such as zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, green onions, and cremini mushrooms were a favorite for the grill. With a hint of oil, vinegar, parsley, basil, lemon, salt, and pepper, these charred greens proved to be a delicious natural alternative to animal protein.
Unfortunately, there was also a dark side to veganism this summer. The toddlers of some vegan parents were left dangerously malnourished after they were put on a vegan diet. Dieticians have strongly urged such parents to introduce some animal products to the diet of a growing child.
#3 We Wanted Convenience
People worked longer hours in the summer as costs of living grew. And with the mercury rising to record highs, more people demanded convenience. Instead of cooking their meals from scratch after a tiring day of work many turned to meal kits. Bundled with nutritious pre-cut ingredients and easy recipes – meal kits certainly proved to be a hot product this summer.
Other consumers who demanded even more convenience, turned to food delivery services such as Skip the Dishes, Uber Eats, and Grubhub. Interestingly, the popularity of these services changed the business model for many restaurants. As demand for takeout grew, eateries closed tables and invested more in kitchens. This was to the annoyance of many restaurant-goers, who complained of slower service as their favorite establishment prioritized food delivery.
These were three of the biggest food trends this summer. We wanted to eat healthier, but we also wanted more convenience. While we ate more plant-based products to lower our environmental footprint, paradoxically, we burned more fossil fuels by ordering in. Let’s see what food trends dominate the news next year.