Food fads come and go. One minute everyone’s singing the praises of kale, and the next they’re salivating over purple cauliflower.
Eventually, today’s hip or “exotic” dishes or ingredients show up on the menu of your neighborhood Applebee’s, long after the world’s foodies have moved on to something else. But before that happens, those foods are hard to avoid, as they overwhelm your Instagram feed and clutter restaurant menus. They’re this year’s cronut, Sriracha, or bacon-on-everything.
So which trendy foods are in danger of wearing out their welcome in 2017? We have some ideas. Although not every food fad on this list is straight-up bad (though some definitely are), all are guilty of being overhyped and overdone.
Read on for the 15 food trends that people are totally sick of.
1. Unicorn food
Unicorns may be mythical, impossible-to-catch creatures, but the food trend they inspired is inescapable. Sparkly, rainbow-colored foods have been blowing up the internet for a while, but the trend might have peaked in April, when Starbucks unveiled its limited-edition Unicorn Frappucino, a “color-changing spectacle” of a beverage topped with “fairy powders.” The sugary drink was eye-catching, but it tasted “like sour birthday cake and shame,” according to one review.
These and other rainbow concoctions, such as mermaid toast and galaxy doughnuts, raise the ire of anyone who believes food is made to be eaten, not looked at. Unfortunately, we might have to put up with them for a while longer. “Lisa Frankenfoods” are the trend that “refuses to die,” noted Eater earlier this year.
2. Avocado toast
Americans are spending nearly $1 million every month on avocado toast, according to Time. The ultra-trendy brunch dish might be tasty, but when your basic breakfast meal costs at much as $11 per serving, you can bet you’re going to be the target of some mockery, if not outright criticism.
Earlier this year, an Australian real estate developer singled out pricey avocado toast as the reason millennials can’t afford to buy houses. The idea that young people would be able to buy their own homes if they only tamed their appetite for avocados is silly. However, perhaps the debate that ensued after his pronouncement is a sign its time to put this food trend to rest.
3. Halo Top Ice Cream
Halo Top Ice Cream recently became America’s best-selling ice cream, beating out perennial favorites, such as Haagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s. The low-calorie, high-protein, low-sugar treat is “healthy,” at least according to its manufacturers, and that’s helped it win over consumers. But some people want to put this trend on ice.
Nutritionists aren’t buying the healthy claim and say the company’s suggestion that you eat the entire pint is irresponsible. Plus, not everyone thinks it tastes good, with some comparing it to “eating cold Styrofoam.”
4. Charcoal foods
And you thought charcoal was just for grilling. One of this year’s biggest food trends involves adding activated charcoal to your food, which results in photo-op worthy lattes, ice cream, and smoothies. The resulting black foods look cool, but they’re not good to eat. Consuming activated charcoal could leech nutrients out of your body and might even interfere with medications you’re taking, warned Self. (There’s a reason doctors use it to treat people who’ve been poisoned.) This is one food trend we hope is short-lived.
5. Kobe beef sliders
You can always count on Anthony Bourdain to share his unvarnished opinion about food. He didn’t hold back when commenting on Kobe beef sliders.
“There is no food crime worse. In fact, the very epicenter of douchedom is the Kobe slider,” he said in April. Unless you want to surrounded by hedge fund types who think they’re impressing people by ordering fake Kobe beef, stay away, warned Bourdain. (For the record, only a dozen or so restaurants in the U.S. serve real Kobe beef, and they’re definitely not turning it into sliders.)
6. Truffle oil
Truffle oil’s been trendy for a while, but chefs are definitely sick of it. Bourdain described it as “horrible” and “about as edible as Astroglide.” Giada De Laurentiis wasn’t as harsh but recently told Bravo she was also sick of “truffles in everything: truffle oil, truffle butter … It doesn’t make you more of a gourmet cook to use truffle in everything. It’s very overpowering.”
7. Sushi burritos and other food mashups
Blame the cronut. At some point, people decided weird food mashups were cool. Ever since, we’ve been inundated with an endless array of sushi burritos, bagel doughnuts, taco doughnuts, spaghetti doughnuts, ramen burgers and worse. Many of these foods seem like their sole purpose is getting social media likes, not for actual eating. It’s a trend that’s seriously played out.
8. Stunt foods
Stunt foods are a close cousin of the food mashup, but they usually come to you from fast food joints and big corporations instead of food trucks and Instagram stars. Again, these creations are all about generating buzz.
Just in the past few months, we’ve seen PB&J Oreos, the Crotilla (the croissant and tortilla mashup from Walmart that no one asked for), and Taco Bell’s short-lived Naked Chicken Chalupa, which featured a shell made of a disc of fried chicken. That last trend has been around for a while — KFC introduced the notorious Double Down in 2010 — but we’d be glad to see it go.
Zoodles sound fun. Plus, you can use a cool tool called a spiralizer to make them. But at the end of the day, zoodles, or zucchini noodles, are just plain-old vegetables pretending to be pasta. This low-carb answer to spaghetti might be a good solution for those parents who are trying to get their kids to eat veggies or people who legitimately can’t eat grain-filled pasta. But the rest of us should think twice about getting super excited about a food that sounds like a toy. As Bon Appetit put it, “We are grown-ups, not children who need their vegetables disguised. Let’s eat like adults, OK?”
10. Detox teas
Celebrities, such as Kourtney Kardashian, hawk detox teas that they claim will make your tummy flatter or reduce cellulite. But you should take those over-the-top promises with a grain of salt. According to Teen Vogue, the “cleansing” effect of many of these beverages is due to laxative ingredients in the tea, which can be harmful if used too frequently. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s better to do so the old-fashioned way — by exercising and eating smart — according to Shape.
At some point, millennials fell in love with rosé. Perhaps that’s because it’s the perfect cheap summer drink, or maybe it’s just because it matched their iPhones. Now, this pink alcohol is everywhere, and some are wondering whether the trendy wine is on the verge of become passé. Now that you can buy rosé-flavored jelly, gummy bears, ice pops, and even gin, maybe the #roséallday era is finally about to come to an end?
12. Poke bowls
According to GrubHub, poke bowls are 2017’s trendiest delivery dish, but not everyone is happy about the suddenly ubiquitous Hawaiian-inspired meal. Mainlanders are “ruining” poke, The Washington Post recently reported. In their zeal to hop on a trend, restaurants are creating bastardized versions of the dish with ingredients, such as zucchini noodles and corn.
These creative concoctions have little resemblance to the poke you’d find in Hawaii, which is traditionally a simple mix of raw fish (often ahi tuna), soy sauce, and other seasonings served over rice. Plus, our appetite for poke could be contributing to over-fishing. Perhaps its time to put the brakes on this trend?
13. Clean eating
Clean eating sounds harmless and even healthy. After all, avoiding processed foods in favor of more nutritious, natural options is right in line with the advice we’ve been hearing for years. But some people take the clean eating obsession too far, according to doctors who have linked a highly restrictive approach to clean eating to eating disorders. Taking the clean eating concept to an extreme might even lead to an increase in broken bones later in life, claimed the U.K.’s National Osteoporosis Society. While trying to eat healthy is good, we need to retire this vague and divisive term, which separates everything we eat into “clean” and “dirty” categories.
14. Meal kits
Meal kit delivery services, such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, promise to make dinnertime a breeze, allowing even the most harried among us to turn out perfectly plated home-cooked meals. The kits are only growing in popularity. Amazon is rolling out its own version, and Blue Apron had a high-profile IPO this summer.
But not everyone loves these dinners in a box. Many have derided them as a “waste of money.” Some worry about the environmental consequences of all that packaging and the freezer packs that keep everything cold. And others say the kits are “cheating, not cooking.” Maybe it’s time for a return to traditional cooking?
At some point, LaCroix Sparkling Water went from beverage aisle afterthought to one of the most popular fizzy drinks in America. It’s easy to understand its popularity. The cans are retro-cool, and it’s free of sweeteners and other nasty stuff. Plus, it comes in more than a dozen flavors, from coconut to pamplemousse (the French word for grapefruit).
However, some people just want it to go away. “LaCroix Sparkling Water is made from garbage and caters to philistines” and is only popular because Instagram influencers made it so, according to this guy on Mic. Still, it’s better than Diet Coke.