Foods aren’t like artists, putting out new content every few years. Steak and eggs won’t be going on a blockbuster worldwide tour. Mashed potatoes didn’t just land a comeback role in the new Tarantino film. That’s why trying to nail down the top 10 foods of the decade is a tricky proposition.
But a market research firm, the NPD Group, decided to tackle the question anyway, surveying consumers about their eating habits between February 2004 and February 2014, for its 29th annual Eating Patterns in America Report. The firm’s take: “The real foods and beverages of the decade are those that have increased the most in American diet,” NPD vice president Harry Balzer told Nation’s Restaurant News.
That criterion seems as valid as any other. So without further ado, here’s the top 10:
8. Frozen sandwiches
6. Fresh fruit
5. Mexican food
4. Poultry sandwiches
2. Bottled water
Strictly speaking, each item was ranked by the increase in the percentage of Americans that reported consuming the product at least once in a two-week period over the past 10 years. As reference points, pancake consumption grew 5.3 percent, whereas yogurt saw a 12.5 percent growth.
Granted, the survey doesn’t take into account the volume of consumption, meaning if you ate 57 tacos, but did it only once a month it won’t move Mexican food further up the list. And items that had low consumption to begin with have more room for growth. (I’m looking at you, frozen sandwiches!)
Still, even if the methodology isn’t necessarily definitive, the list gives an interesting take on American’s recent eating habits. The NPD Group believes it shows a push toward more portable foods that can be easily eaten at home.
The numbers leave me wondering though, with nearly 10 percent growth since 2004, just how much more pizza can Americans eat?