TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — What? You have yet to hear of zhoug? Maybe you need more trendy people in your Facebook and Instagram accounts. Social media comments for the condiment increased by 129% year over year, according to Tastewise, an A.I.-powered food intelligence start-up based in Tel Aviv.
Other items mentioned in a consumer food trends report from Tastewise included a purple yam, bone marrow, and a combination of spam, rice and seaweed.
Zhoug also is known as schug.
“Slated to be the next sriracha, zhoug experienced an increase in mentions on social media and on menus throughout the U.S. from 2017-18,” Tastewise said. “The growing trend of Middle Eastern cuisine in the U.S. has led to a deeper specialization of food from countries in the region, including Yemen, where zhoug originates. Perfect for the keto and clean-eating diet, zhoug is a sugar-free, gluten-free condiment made from 100% natural ingredients that can easily be prepared at home.”
Social media mentions for ube increased by 94%.
“Also known as a purple yam, ube’s gorgeous color makes it a natural fit for the Instagram and #foodporn generation,” Tastewise said. “With a smooth texture and a mild and sweet flavor that is often compared to white chocolate or a cross between vanilla and pistachio, ube can satisfy a sweet tooth and the U.S.’s growing demand for more healthy food.”
Truffles saw a 66% increase in social media mentions.
“Popular in Italian cuisine, truffles are vegan ingredients that are known for being expensive,” Tastewise said. “Now, they’re seeing an increase in American cuisine, too, making their way into fries, burgers, and macaroni and cheese.”
People in Hawaii are more likely to know that spam musubi is a combination of spam, a block of sushi rice and a strip of nori (edible seaweed). Social media mentions were up 59%.
“A Hawaiian snack, spam musubi satisfies the U.S.’s increased snacking, along with the rising popularity of Hawaiian cuisine that the poke bowl craze introduced,” Tastewise said. “Combining a basic ingredient (spam) from World War II and a Hawaiian mainstay, spam musubi also taps into a growing hunger for cross-generational fusions.”
Tastewise noticed bone marrow for increasing 19% in social media mentions.
“Most popular when roasted, bone marrow is known for being high in fat and jam-packed with nutrients, making it a great option for the keto and paleo diets,” Tastewise said.
The Tastewise platform analyzes billions of food and beverage touchpoints to find people’s interactions with food, including over 1 billion food photos shared every month, 153,000 restaurant menus across the United States and over 1 million online recipes.
The consumer food trends report also focused on a $9.18 billion demand for healthy food that is not being met across the United States. Tastewise calculated the demand by identifying the gap between the share of discussion about healthy food at home versus the conversations about healthy food offered at restaurants. Healthy food, according to Tastewise, refers to the following types of food: vegan, vegetarian, clean eating, keto, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, superfoods, hand-crafted, organic, protein, probiotics, fitness-related, weight loss-related, healthy and sustainable.
“Restaurant-hopping” is another trend, according to the report.
“With more restaurants specializing in one renowned dish, consumers are choosing to restaurant hop and eat each part of their meal at a different restaurant,” the report said. “This ensures the best culinary experience and more `Instagrammable’ food moments. From 2017 to 2018, restaurant-hopping increased by 160%.”