How a Culinary Trend Goes Viral

Ever wonder how a food trend goes viral? We break down the process of how a typical US culinary trend trickles down from white-table cloth origin to its final pit stop on a fast food menu.


After a culinary trend builds momentum and compelling frequency across influential restaurants, it typically trickles down the market over the span of 8 months - 3 years in this order:


The Evolution of a Culinary Trend


1. Independent Cutting-Edge, Influential Restaurants

Examples: Rogue chefs, Michelin-starred joints


2. Specialty Food Channels, Respected Restaurants, Social Media Influencers, and Serious Home Cooks

Examples: Bon Appetit, famous how-to Instagram chefs, foodie YouTube® channels, local fine-dining

Photo Credit:  Bon Appetit

Photo Credit: Bon Appetit


3. Mainstream Food Channels, Premium Chain Restaurants, and Recreational Cooks

Examples: Panera, Food + Wine, True Food Kitchen, Dig Inn

Photo Credit:  True Food Kitchen

Photo Credit: True Food Kitchen


4. Family Oriented Media Channels, Premium Grocery Stores

Examples: Family-Circle magazine, Whole Foods, Erewhon Market, Trader Joe’s


5. QSR Menus and Mainstream Grocery Store Shelves

Examples: Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Aldi’s, Sprout’s Market


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Theresa Cantafio