Food trends will always be a thing. Sometimes they are dictated by economic circumstance or ethical considerations, and sometimes they are shaped by emerging nutrition science that redefine how we think about what we eat.
In this shapeshifting market, we can track with per capita consumption and sales data just what’s happening to our three meals a day—and occasional snacks. Some food items are going through boom times. This is the case with avocados, beets, chicken, and many other items. But many others are falling out of popularity. Here are a handful of the latter group, collected and charted from breakfast through post-dinner dessert.
If you walked into the vast majority of US households, you’d still find at least one box of cereal. But sales have dropped off as people have abandoned sit-down breakfasts for on-the-go cereal bars and yogurt.
For the most part, lunch remains the same. Deli meats are still popular and sliced bread hasn’t experienced any major disruption. But there are a few notable changes: For example, tuna salad and tuna sandwiches are less and less popular. Actually, almost all canned fish has been in decline in the US since the mid-1980s. And cottage cheese—which people have long turned to for an easy source of protein—appears to have fallen out of favor, as well.
Americans are also—slowly—walking away from the habit of washing down their meals with soda. In 2015, bottled water became a more popular option for people for the first time in decades. That can be attributed, in large part, to growing public concern about sugar consumption, as the US obesity epidemic continues to wreak havoc on the health system.
Need a break from work? Chances are you probably won’t be munching on nuts, unless they are almonds, which have caught a wave of popularity in recent years, thanks in part to the rise of almond milk.
At the end of the day, most Americans are increasingly likely to avoid lima beans and brussels sprouts. Frozen meals experienced a brief uptick around the turn of the 2010s, but people are starting to walk away from them again. And red meat has tumbled considerably, but appears to be on the rebound.
Finally, a chilling look at one of the dairy industry’s favorite products. Ice cream, resplendent in its many colors, sprinkles, and flavors, is slowly falling out of favor with the American public. Between 1975 and 2016, government data show per capita consumption fell by more than 28%.