Table of Trends 1990 to 2020: A lot has changed in the food world since the end of the 1990’s. The last 20 years are reflected upon by the following Millennium Timeline

Diet Obsession FatCarbs
Key Curiosity Cholesterol LevelsOur Microbiomes
“It Foods Salmon, Broccoli, Dark Chocolate, Salsa Cauliflower, Chickpeas, Meatless meats, Quinoa
BuzzwordsMediterranean, Heart-healthySustainability, Plant-based, Food Waste, Organic
“It” GadgetsBread Maker, Food processorsAir Fryer, Insta-Pots
Signature DishesChicken Caesar Salad, Chocolate Lava Cakes, BBQ Chicken Pizza Avocado Toast, Grain Bowls, Smoothies
Drinks of choiceWhite Wine Spritzer, Diet Coke Kombucha, Micro-breweries, Diet Coke
SuperfoodsFat-free Everything, Olestra, Snack-Well CookiesKale, Avocados, Leafy Greens, Probiotics
Weight Loss Slim Fast, Atkins, Weight Watchers Keto, Paleo

Decades of Food Milestones 2000 – 2020 : Eating Well Magazine, October, 2020

2002 Low carb guru Robert Atkins, MD, releases Doctor Atkins New Diet Revolution, reawakening the “bread basket shame” people felt 30 years earlier, when his first diet revolution was published. In other news, organic labels finally have teeth. The USDA national organic programs, Certified Organic Labeling, rules, some 12 years in the making, go into effect.

2003 “Fermentation fetish” Sandor Katz publishes Wild Fermentation , inspiring millions of sauerkraut, Kimchi,  kombucha, and sourdough and health enthusiasts. Fermented foods are rich in probiotic bacteria so by consuming fermented foods you are adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your overall intestinal flora, increasing the health of your gut microbiome and digestive system and enhancing the immune system.

2004 Facebook arrives, and enabling you to share what you had for breakfast with 1000 of your closest friends.

2006 in April, Michael Pollan releases the Omnivore’s Dilemma, making terms like food system, high fructose corn syrup an Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) dreaded household words.

2007 The Human Microbiome Project (HMP) was a United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) research initiative to improve understanding of the microbial flora involved in human health and disease. Launched in 2007, the first phase (HMP1) focused on identifying and characterizing human microbial flora. The second phase, known as the Integrative Human Microbiome Project (iHMP) launched in 2014 with the aim of generating resources to characterize the microbiome and elucidating the roles of microbes in health and disease states. Source: Wikipedia

2008 Chobani launches and the cult of Greek yogurt begins. Now we no longer have to strain regular yogurt through a coffee filter to make it. And in a recession driven effort to cut costs, Los Angeles chef Roy Choi rolls out his Kogi barbecue truck. The food truck era is born.

2009 The White House kitchen garden is planted in March , interest in vegetables and sustainable eating skyrockets. Gluten free foods become a thing with $1.56 billion dollars in US sales, and projections of continuing breakneck growth.

2010 Welcome, instant pot! Now we can cook slow, fast or steam vegetables, make rice.

2011 in June, the USDA replaces the Pyramid guide with My Plate, where vegetables and fruits fill half the dish and nudge grains to a smaller portion. First lady Michelle Obama announces it. Instagram arrives.

2012 Blue apron and other meal kit delivery services kickoff, making home cooking as easy as opening a box.

2013 Jay-Z announces he’s doing a 22 day vegan challenge. Veganism officially becomes cool.

2016 Restaurant delivery services go mainstream: 50% of Americans report using apps like Grubhub and DoorDash to purchase meals from casual dining outlets, with 26% ordering at least once weekly.

2017 The Regenerative Organic Alliance releases its Regenerative Organ Certification Program, which incorporates soil health, animal welfare, and social justice in its eligibility criteria.

2018 Plant based milk sales have exploded, growing 61% in the last five years. The dairy industry is disturbed.

2019 The Eat Lancet Commission releases its food in the Anthropocene report in January, linking our red meat and sugar heavy diets to climate change, and recommending we slash our consumption and eat more plant- based foods.

And now ,  Googling “nutrition” today gets over 1 billion hits but alas, 72% of Americans are overweight or obese based on Body Mass Indexes. Obesity becomes a risk factor for infectious disease, primarily COVID-19.  It has been estimated that by 2050, there will be 4 billion people globally that are either overweight or obese if current trends continue.

2020 (The Year Everyone Wants to Forget) – Covid- 19 sweeps the world. Many Americans line up for miles at food distribution sites. Restaurants shutter, or take out models, and small businesses teeter. Yet perseverance is everywhere, chefs, nonprofits, entire communities find ways to offer hope, and nourishing food.


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