- TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images
- As 2019 comes to a close, it’s time we looked back on the food and drink items that captured the national spotlight over the last year.
- Hard seltzer isn’t a new product, but it became the unofficial drink of the summer in 2019.
- Insect protein, meat alternatives, and natural wine dominated the food industry in 2019.
- Oat milk was such a popular milk substitute that there were shortages around the country.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Bubble teas had another stellar year, and are dominating the grab-and-go market.
- Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock
Bubble teas, or teas and drinks filled with tapioca balls known as boba, have become the drink of choice for many across the country. Alcoholic New York City boba store Bubbleology even features boba cocktails with fun names including The Majestic Butterfly and The Blushing Duchess.
Kombucha was another popular drink in 2019, with more and more brands hitting shelves across the country.
Though all kombucha technically contains alcohol, most traditional kombucha contains so little that getting drunk off of it is nearly impossible. However, more and more companies have started putting a boozy spin on the drink by releasing kombucha with as much as 7% ABV.
Meat substitute companies including Impossible Foods and Beyond Meats swept the nation, as consumers look for more environmentally friendly protein options.
- Impossible Foods
The meatless meat craze has become so popular among fast-food brands that Burger King is testing three new Impossible burgers at 180 locations across the United States.
Non-alcoholic beer and “mocktails,” or non-alcoholic cocktails, are becoming more popular as many Americans are becoming “sober-curious.”
Mocktail bars such as Getaway are popping up all over the country to quench the thirst of customers looking for a way to socialize at the bar without drinking alcohol. Non-alcoholic beers, such as Heineken’s 0.0, are also making a splash.
The Aperol Spritz was the talk of the town all summer.
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The Aperol Spritz – a cocktail made with Aperol, prosecco, and seltzer – exploded onto the scene this summer due to its easy-drinking feel and slightly bitter taste. It was also divisive – even scoring an article bashing it in The New York Times.
CBD gummies and food infusions were all the rage this year among people in the wellness industry.
- by CHLOE.
While the mellowing, non-psychoactive compound is a hot additive right now, it might not be that way for long. Restaurants such as by CHLOE. and Fresh&Co used to have entire sections of their menus devoted to CBD – at by CHLOE., it was called “Feelz” – but have since removed them due to the CBD ban in New York City.
Oat milk was such a popular milk substitute that there were shortages around the country.
- Hollis Johnson/INSIDER
Shortages of the popular milk alternative rocked coffeehouses around the country, and clever marketing techniques made oat milk the top choice for non-dairy drinkers.
Insects have long been popular in areas such as Mexico and South America, but large companies are now turning to insects as a meat alternative.
- Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Restaurants and supermarkets around the world are already serving up edible insects, making the category increasingly attractive to food industry giants such as Nestle, PepsiCo, and Tyson, according to Business Insider.
Natural wine, a broad term for wines that are produced with minimal intervention from the winemaker, has become a popular drink option.
- Primal Wine
Natural wine is known for often having a “funky,” or “farmhouse” quality – a result of the unique fermentation process the bottles go through.
Spiked seltzers like White Claw and Truly went viral in 2019.
- TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images
Spiked seltzers have been around for a while, but they became the unofficial drink of the summer in 2019.
While brands like White Claw and Truly seem to be the go-to choice, Natural Light, Smirnoff, and Four Loko seltzers also hit store shelves.