How the pandemic has changed food trends and the way we eat

The last two plus years have drastically changed just about every aspect of the way we eat. From 2020’s great bean shortage to the meteoric rise of feta pasta on TikTok, here’s a look at the biggest home cooking trends, news, and oddities since the pandemic began.

March 2020

Panic at the grocery store! Mile-long queues are forming outside Costco as flour, canned soup and frozen vegetables disappear from the shelves.

The explosion of grocery delivery apps is starting in earnest. By the end of 2020, Instacart sales will have increased by 229%.

Recipes using staples such as canned beans and dried pasta are experiencing a sudden resurgence in popularity. Related: People who normally eat every meal are inundated with advice on exactly how to stock their pantry.

To no one’s surprise, comfort food is all the rage. Sales of Campbell’s soup soared 59% this month, and Goldfish crackers also rose 23%.

The waiting list to join the exclusive Rancho Gordo Bean Club is estimated at 10 months.

Sourdough is declared the best thing since sliced ​​bread.

The photogenic Dalgona coffee — whipped instant coffee with sugar and water, poured over milk — is ready for its close-up on TikTok.

April 2020

Food banks are overwhelmed with millions of people asking for help; the National Guard is called in in some states to maintain order at distribution centers.

People find they can’t eat all the bananas they’ve hoarded, start making banana bread en masse.

Supply chain woes force most Americans to realize there is a supply chain.

Perhaps marked by grocery shortages, millions of people are trying to grow their own food in home gardens.

-See also: green onions in the garden.

-Related: The first focaccia gardens are planted.

Renowned restaurant chains such as California Pizza Kitchen, Shake Shack and Abuelo’s are launching easy-to-use meal kits for cooking at home

Pancake Cereal – tiny pancakes served in a bowl – is hitting the TikTok airwaves.

The one-bowl, pantry-friendly Depression Cake, or, as it’s euphemistically renowned, “Wacky Cake,” is taking its turn in the social media spotlight.

May 2020

Community fridges stocked with free groceries to combat food insecurity are starting to pop up across the country.

Alison Roman, self-proclaimed prom queen and go-to pantry maven, is being called off after making critical comments about Chrissy Teigen and Marie Kondo in an interview.

July 2020

Meal delivery kits such as Blue Apron are seeing subscription numbers skyrocket. HelloFresh is facing such demand that it is forced to shut down subscriptions for a month as it hires 3,000 more workers.

August 2020

Another TikTok trend is taking off: the fluffy, meringue Cloud Bread.

October 2020

Home fermentation is becoming so popular that we are completely running out of mason jars.

Everyone’s green onions are starting to die.

November 2020

Chefs such as Naomi Pomeroy and Joanne Chang are drawing up plans for digital cooking classes with at-home ingredient kits in a bid to make up for lost restaurant revenue.

Air fryers, already growing in popularity, see a surge in sales of over two million; Author Susan Orlean tweets to her millions of followers that she too has jumped on the bandwagon.

December 2020

New York Magazine launches investigation into the great bucatini shortage of 2020.

January 2021

TikTokers invent new and bizarre ways to wrap burritos, the #tortillawraphack was born.

February 2021

Grocery store and Instacart employees are speaking out against workplace abuse and behavior that incites customer rage. A series of workers’ strikes are planned.

Feta + tomatoes + pasta = viral success.

June 2021

Young people are getting drunk on espresso martinis because it’s still the 90s.

October 2021

Dalgona Candy, an offshoot of the aforementioned Dalgona Coffee, is exploding, helped in part by the Netflix show squid game.

Kellogg workers go on strike, affecting all of the brand’s cereal factories (it ends in December).

TikTokker Emily Mariko Reheats Leftover Salmon and Rice, 45 Million People Cheer Her On Lizzo makes a copycat dish.

November 2021

The great American craze for baked goods continues, with a 42% increase in sales of bakery-related cookbooks.

January 2022

Grocery store shelves continue to be empty between the supply chain snafus, the surge of Omicron and the severe winter storms.

February 2022

Supply chain issues continue to wreak havoc on the lucrative avocado toast industry as the U.S. temporarily halts avocado imports from Mexico.

April 2022

Inflation concerns: According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2022 food price report, “all food prices are now expected to rise between 6.5 and 7.5 percent.” Russia’s war in Ukraine and the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike are cited as causes.

May 2022

More than two years after it began, the pandemic is still causing supply chain issues that are wreaking havoc on grocery stores. The most serious shortage is in infant formula; across the country, 40 percent of the formula is out of stock.

June 2022

USDA Announces Details of “Framework to Transform the Food System”; one that builds on lessons learned from the pandemic and food supply chain disruptions caused by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Building a more resilient supply chain, creating a more equitable food system, expanding access to nutritious food, and “focusing on equity” for rural and underserved communities are among the plan’s stated goals.

Jamie Feldmar is a Los Angeles-based cookbook writer, editor, and author.
Bri is an Oakland-based writer and illustrator.

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