The hot dog could be our newest trendy food. Calling the hot dog the “it” restaurant order of the summer, the Wall Street Journal elevated the lowly frank. However, more than the dog, the reason appears to be the toppings.
Not quite visible below, this hot dog from a filipino-American eatery is buried under curry mayo, pork-belly sisig, a pickled carrot, green-papaya salad, and fried shallots:
Trendy Food History
Looking back at the 1970s, we would see that quiche was actually trendy. At the same time, your in-the-know foodie hosts might have served the molten cheese dip we called fondue. Next, for the 1980s (and 20% of all U.S. wine sales), the “it” was the citrus juice, seltzer, and wine that we called wine coolers. Remaining with drinks, the 1990s brought us chilled flavored coffee. One of the first, from Dunkin’ in 1994, was Coffee Coolatta. After that, it took only a year for Starbucks to figure out the Frappuccino. And, to accompany our flavored coffee with even more sugar, soon after, cupcakes (and cupcake chains), were memorialized in Sex and the City.
It didn’t take long though, for us to become healthy. Between 2007 and 2013, kale sales surged by 60%. Then, knowing that something new always accompanies the decline, 2013 was the year of avocado toast (and its Gwyneth Paltrow recipe in It’s All Good.)
During 2015, we posted this NY Times trendy food summary:
Our Bottom Line: Demand
With trendy food, and indeed anything that responds to a change in taste, we can graph a change in demand. Called a determinant of demand, utility (or usefulness) shifts our demand curve to the right when a food or a style pop in popularity.
As you can see, when the curve shifts, we typically get an increase in price and quantity:
Showing that a change in demand can elevate price, one upscale NYC eatery offers a $29 hot dog. An 8-inch half pounder, it is made of dry-aged brisket and “griddled” in dry-aged beef fat (ugh).
My sources and more: Thanks to my Hustle newsletter for inspiring today’s post. It was the perfect springboard for looking back at trendy food history and looking forward to some of the hot dogs in this WSJ article. And finally, expanding the time line, The Washington Post listed 2022 food trends.