This Controversial Food Became 689 Percent More Popular This Year

Grubhub revealed the top takeout and delivery trends of 2020.

December 03, 2020


Photo by: Bombaert/Getty


Not a moment too soon, 2020 is finally coming to a close. It has definitely been a year to remember, or maybe it’s one you’d rather forget, but either way, Grubhub is offering us all a chance to look back on the “Year in Food.”

With 2021 rising fast on the horizon, the online and mobile food-ordering and delivery service has analyzed order data from more than 30 million diners to release its annual report on the top trends of 2020, revealing what we ate, ordered and obsessed over during an unusual, if not downright tumultuous, year.

Some key takeaways from the report:


Photo by: Image courtesy of Grubhub

Image courtesy of Grubhub

While in recent past years, vegan and vegetarian food choices trended upward, 2020 was a year we shifted toward comfort food, caffeine and cocktails more than before — as if we all didn’t know that through personal experience! Those foods ranked super high in popularity across categories on Grubhub’s list.

The spicy chicken sandwich trend, which arguably hit peak pop-culture visibility in 2019, did not let up in terms of menu-item popularity. In fact, the spicy chicken sandwich was 318 percent more popular in 2020 than in 2019, making it the “top trending dish of 2020,” according to Grubhub. The delivery service notes that one diner, in 2020, “really dove in headfirst [to] the chicken sandwich trend with a single order of 135 chicken sandwiches,” which is definitely nothing to cluck at.

Actually, chicken seems to be a thing we’ve craved in various forms this year. The chicken burrito bowl and chicken wings took the second and third slots on Grubhub’s list of items that increased the most in popularity in 2020, with a 299 percent and 287 percent increase, respectively.

Fried foods were also among our go-to order items, with waffle fries (221 percent more popular) and fish and chips (146 percent more popular) appearing on this year’s top 10 trending items list. Underscoring that trend, French fries and onion rings ranked number one and number two on the list of top side dishes, surging 629 percent and 566 percent, respectively, in popularity.

When it came to desserts, comfort and nostalgia were king this year. With apple pie (330 percent more popular) and hot fudge sundaes (273 more popular) emerging as the top two desserts of 2020.

No surprise — we Americans drank a lot of coffee this year; ready-to-drink coffee orders rose 30 percent overall. Pumpkin spice lattes still reigned supreme, landing atop Grubhub’s coffee order ranking with a 487 percent increase in popularity; vanilla latte (249 percent), flat white (131 percent), cold brew (123 percent) and nitro coffee (32 percent) rounded out the top five.

Amidst a lift, in some places, on restrictions on alcohol delivery, our thirst for cocktails, beer and wine shot up almost 300 percent. What were we drinking more than ever? Mangonadas, mostly, which saw a 278 percent popularity rise — here’s our take — but so did pina coladas (223 percent more popular), hard seltzer (196 percent), Mexican beer (161 percent) and rosé (150 percent more).

One random finding from the Grubhub report: The top trending pizza for 2020 was … Hawaiian. The controversial pineapple-and-ham-topped pizza rose 689 percent in popularity in 2020. We won’t say on which side of this divide we come down. But whichever side of the Hawaiian pizza debate you’re on, we sincerely wish you and yours a healthy, happy 2021, filled with your favorite foods.

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