Just like the fashion trends change from decade to decade, so do the food fads.
The 1950’s is marked as the age of convenience and consumerism. This meant prepackaged foods and fast food joints were all the rage. The 1950’s was the decade that America started running on Dunkin’, Ronald McDonald made his big debut and products like Pillsbury cookie dough and Hagan-Daz ice cream were brought to the shelves of every major grocery store in the country.
Despite the obsession with consumerism and convenience during this time, home cooking was also very popular in the 50’s. Casseroles were especially popular.
The emergence of the Cold War also had a large impact on the food industry of the 50’s. Many families packed their pantries and bomb shelters with canned foods that wouldn’t spoil in the case of a bombing or food shortage. This brought things like canned soups and beans to become household staples.
The 60’s was all about fast and fake when it came to food. This decade became known for the emergence of instant and imitation foods. Food markets became saturated with NASA-inspired products, mostly of the “just-add-water” genre. Freeze dried coffee, powdered cheese and instant mashed potatoes were just some of the products flying off the shelves in the 60’s.
Easy cheese, Bac-O’s bacon bits and cool whip also had their big debuts during this time.
When it came to home cooking, 60’s cuisine was influenced heavily by French cooking. Julia Child and Jackie Kennedy were the leaders of this craze. People also gained an interest in other ethnic cuisines and vegetarian cooking as well. The 60’s also brought popularity to one of America’s favorite activities, the suburban barbecue.
The foodies of the 1970’s remember the creation of fondue quite fondly. There was a lot of hype around melted cheese and it became a pretty hip concept in the 70’s. Keeping it in the dairy family, quiche had officially replaced casseroles as a family favorite, thanks to the still prominent, Julia Child.
The creation of microwaves and crockpots made cooking even easier and more convenient for Americans. With more and more women entering the workforce in the 70’s, these inventions were a godsend for them and their families, who previously relied on a stay at home mother for meals.
The 80’s was about more than side-ponies and killer music; we can thank the 80’s for a lot of our favorite foods. For starters, the birth of microwavable meals, like Stouffer’s and Lean Cuisine meals, were on the rise–a blessing for busy Americans everywhere.
Lunch boxes got a whole lot more exciting in the 80’s once Capri Suns, Gushers and Fruit Roll-Ups hit the shelves. College students were finally able to eat dinner AND afford text books once Ramen Noodles came out and wine coolers were making getting together a lot more fun. All in all, the 80’s was a pretty important time in the world of edible consumerism.
The 90’s is known for the rise of the health-conscious consumer. This is when fat-free foods and other diet snacks came about and just about everyone developed a phobia and hatred for any type of fat or high-calorie food. SlimFast shakes also became pretty popular during this time
Dieting and healthy eating still lingered after its explosion in the 90’s. Low-carb diets like the Atkins diet and the South Beach diet were very popular among the early two-thousanders. People also started to care a lot about where their food came from, bringing rise to the organic market.
Just like in the 90’s, the non-dieters had some pretty great options too. After Carrie Bradshaw made cupcakes cool on Sex and the City, everyone was following suit. Food trucks also made their debut in the early 2000’s and bacon reemerged as a trendy food.