MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. — Still have questions about keto, the high-fat, low-carb diet that generated so much buzz last year? Turns out, a lot of people do.
Based on the top Google searches in 2018, Americans want to know how to make keto-friendly versions of their favorite comfort foods. Keto pancakes, keto cheesecake, keto cookies, keto chili and keto brownies all cracked the top 10 food-related queries.
A food safety scare prompted millions of users to search romaine lettuce in November, after an E. coli outbreak sickened dozens and led to a nationwide recall. Related terms most commonly searched included “romaine lettuce update” and “is romaine lettuce safe now.”
Google users also were curious about cannabidiol, pushing “C.B.D. gummies” to No. 3 on the list of top food-related searches. A compound of cannabis, C.B.D. does not cause psychoactive effects and is associated with various health benefits.
Necco wafers, a classic candy, popped up among popular search terms after parent company New England Candy Co. filed for bankruptcy and, after two ownerships changes and some legal drama, was eventually purchased by Spangler Candy Co., the maker of Dum Dums lollipops and candy canes.
Gochujang, a spicy Korean condiment, captured plenty of interest, inspiring Google users to search “gochujang uses” and “what is gochujang.”
Leading Google food searches in 2018 was unicorn cake, suggesting many birthday parties over the past year included a sparkly, sugary centerpiece. The unicorn trend extended into the grocery store, as a number of packaged food and beverage products launched featuring whimsical and vibrant designs.
“The things people search for provide a road map of sorts for marketers, showcasing exactly when, where, and how people want assistance,” said Natalie Zmuda, executive editor, Think with Google. “As we head into 2019, people’s expectations will continue to rise. They’ll ask increasingly detailed questions and expect brands to provide answers that are tailored just for them. Ultimately, it will be the brands that are deemed truly helpful that will rise above the competition.”