Summer menu trends 2020

Our biannual dive into product forecasting returns, this time reflecting the flavours the UK wants to order, collect, or have delivered.

This list reflects lockdown diets and paints a picture of home comforts; diners seek flavours they know and trust, with reduced nuances. This post also points to a sample audience now skewed with people who had previously rarely cooked from scratch (squid and octopus are nowhere to be seen). It does, however, mean that there is a greater marketplace, both for spending and selling into.

As before, we’ve mined twelve months of Google Trends, so you don’t have to. This combines the breakouts and top rising queries from the lists; recipes, ingredients, dishes, meals, menu, cuisine in the category Food & Drink.

With the caveats in place, let’s see what the demand data means for caterers and hospitality businesses!

Home Cooks

With apple crisps, prawn crackers and halloumi fries in winter 2019’s top five, we were anticipating the trend of lookalike starters and side dishes to continue. Whilst social media is the biggest clue, the data is evidence that the first week of March started the rush toward comfort food, and recipes to keep families entertained. How to make’s rising stars, for the first six months of 2020:

Chocolate cake
Fondant icing

Breakout queries highlight the food shortages and panic-buying too, with ‘missing’ ingredients appearing for the first time:

cake without eggs
pizza dough without yeast
bread without bread flour
cookies without eggs

Shopping data since March 2020 showed a 50% increase in people researching woks and a giant 100% leap in searches for bread maker machines.

Summer 2020’s Trending Ingredients

For hospitality operators who’ve turned to the takeaway model, this trends data gives a wider picture than the generalised cuisines that make up the delivery app top tens. These are the specific ingredients and flavours most sought after, again using 12 months of data. The results arguably mirror the lockdown.

Chilli marinated chicken
Napa cabbage
Flank steak beef (+80%)
Pickled cucumber
Pork belly
Italian sausage


We’ve also carefully separated the ingredients of banana loaf, another breakout search through Coronavirus times. These were cinnamon, buttermilk, and maple syrup. Jackfruit has entirely disappeared from the results, and takeaway Sunday roasts do not reach the top ten.

Farm shops saw a 3,750% rise in searches, perhaps good news for the food businesses that chose the retail route (including the rise in village pubs selling basics).

2020’s Trending Dishes

Top cuisine searches:

1. Chinese
2. Indian
3. Italian

What are the dishes guests are willing to pay to be chef produced?

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
Toad in the hole
Nettle Soup
Garlic Soup

2020’s Summer Drinks Trends

Takeaway beer rules changed for lockdown, but for pubs and restaurants wishing to extend their offer, this is the list you need to see. With people making cocktails for Zoom parties and FaceTime pub quizzes, now is the time to consider stocking takeaway RTDs (ready-to-drinks).

Pina Colada (rum)
Cosmopolitan (rum)
Mojito (rum)
Margarita (tequila)
Aperol (gentian bitters and rhubarb)

‘How to make cider’ and ‘simple syrup’ also made the top drinks searches.

Food businesses save time and money with Caternet software. Learn more about our tools for forecasting demand, or read about costing a fixed price menu.

James Waldron is Marketing Manager at Zupa

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