While it can often seem as though time has slowed to a crawl due to the coronavirus and the challenges it has placed on every American, we’re somehow already through the first half of 2020. We can now look back at the first part of the year and examine how trends have shaped the food industry.

On Thursday, July 9, Grubhub launched its latest “State of the Plate” report looking at trends across the more than half a million orders placed on the leading online and mobile food delivery marketplace each day. The mid-year report checks in on the popular food and beverage trends to date and what quarantined Americans ordered through contact-free delivery, and predicts what we can expect to see more of in the second half of the year.

Ever since Popeye’s introduced its Spicy Chicken Sandwich last year, the product has been on the mind of consumers. The spicy chicken sandwich has experienced a nearly 300% rise in popularity this year on Grubhub, making it the hottest (literally and figuratively) food. Here are the rest of the top foods and beverages of 2020 to date:

  1. Spicy chicken sandwich: 299% more popular
  2. Plant-based burger: 291% more popular
  3. Vanilla shake: 273% more popular
  4. Iced latte: 261% more popular
  5. Chili: 228% more popular
  6. Cinnamon roll: 205% more popular
  7. Chimichanga: 195% more popular
  8. Beef burrito: 181% more popular
  9. Potato taco: 169% more popular
  10. Taro milk tea: 168% more popular

Seasonal trends tend to impact eating habits. In the winter, comfort foods tend to be popular. That trend extended into the spring due to the pandemic. In the latter half of 2020, summer is seeing lighter fare while the fall heats up with a little spice.

Top Trends: Winter

  1. Chicken sandwich: 238% more popular
  2. New England clam chowder bowl: 195% more popular
  3. Barbecue burger: 132% more popular
  4. Sausage egg cheese sandwich: 101% more popular
  5. Tan tan ramen: 96% more popular

Top Trends: Spring

  1. Donuts: 214% more popular
  2. Bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit: 169% more popular
  3. Sausage burrito: 163% more popular
  4. Chicken sandwich: 153% more popular
  5. Plant-based sausage breakfast sandwich: 150% more popular

Forecasts: Summer (in ranking order)

  1. Vegetable biryani
  2. Spinach and artichoke wonton
  3. Mexican shrimp cocktail
  4. Black bean and quinoa bowl
  5. Balsamic chicken salad

Forecasts: Fall (in ranking order)

  1. Miso tofu bowl
  2. Quinoa taco salad
  3. Mushroom burger
  4. Cajun wing
  5. Buffalo chicken empanada

Every meal time has its own unique flavors and formats. Here are top food trends across each meal time:


  1. Acai bowl: 359% more popular
  2. Chorizo burrito: 270% more popular
  3. Potato pancakes: 259% more popular
  4. Shrimp and grits: 179% more popular
  5. Vegetable wrap: 112% more popular


  1. Thai chicken salad: 399% more popular
  2. Tuna salad sandwich: 262% more popular
  3. Chicken avocado melt: 188% more popular
  4. Kale caesar salad: 165% more popular
  5. Avocado toast: 164% more popular


  1. Rigatoni bolognese: 292% more popular
  2. Lamb vindaloo: 283% more popular
  3. Vegetable korma: 267% more popular
  4. Moo shu pork: 266% more popular
  5. Salmon avocado roll: 244% more popular

Late night

  1. Cheesy breadsticks: 412% more popular
  2. Strawberry cheesecake: 247% more popular
  3. Cheese sliders: 220% more popular
  4. Jalapeno poppers: 216% more popular
  5. Pizza puffs: 182% more popular

Since mid-March, our lifestyles have completely changed. As Americans stayed home due to shelter-in-place orders and social distancing, they ordered more food using features like contact-free delivery to safely enjoy their favorite meals from local restaurants.

Over the last several months, Grubhub has observed customers turning to comfort foods, ordering alcoholic beverages, and showing more interest in do-it-yourself kits. The most popular alcohol orders include pinot grigio, hot sake, rosé, light beer and IPA beers, while the most meal kit orders include DIY burgers, DIY lobster rolls, DIY salads, DIY pizza and DIY gyros.