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THE WORLD ON A PLATE

How people across the world searched for food experiences in lockdown and beyond

For most of us, travelling since last year has been a lot less about jading jet-lags, pool-side proseccos or must-do museums and a lot more about travelling with our tastebuds. 
 
After a full year of lockdown, we’ve explored the world – quite literally - via word of mouth, following our palate rather than our hunger for new travel adventures. The result? We’ve seen new food trends and experiences emerge, that will likely shape how we explore the world in the future. In short, lockdown has made us hungry for food travel, and we can’t wait to see where your bellies will lead you on your next holiday.

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QUARANTINE FOOD TRENDS AROUND THE WORLD

Curious to discover what food experiences the world searched for last year? Simply click on the icon to virtually travel through the globe's most popular dishes and cuisines.


With so many of us embracing the stay-at-home message, even the most novice of cooks attempted baking, proofing or cultivating their own yeast starters. Ever wondered why your local supermarket’s flour and yeast stocks were always depleted? Now you know: pizza. With a 26% increase in pizza searches worldwide, many of us attempted (and perhaps just a few succeeded) to make one of Italy’s mostpopular food dishes. 

When it came down to food trends however, the world looked to Latin America for inspiration. The proof? Searches for Mexican enchiladas and Latin American street food, like churros, were both up by 42%.

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FOOD EXPERIENCES

When we weren’t kneading dough or looking for food travel inspiration, we also gave our best shot at recreating our favourite take-away dishes. One of the most popular cuisines in the world is Chinese food, and last year proved that not even a pandemic could stop our global desire for dim sum, chop suey or chow mien.
   
Yet while we all love a good Chinese takeaway, in 2020 we also looked to new exciting food experiences and explored previously overlooked foods of the world, too. Our interest in new flavours inspired one of the biggest food trends of the year: Eastern European food. And with searches for Belarussian local restaurants up by 1,600% and interest in Romanian food tours up by 85%, we're predicting that food travel to Eastern European countries will boom. 

Keen to try the delights of Eastern European food for yourself? On our Highlights of Eastern Europe food tour, you can look forward to sampling the best of Vienna, Budapest, Prague and more.

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FOODIE NATIONS

Lockdown might have changed our habits, but it definitely hasn't changed our love for food experiences, or our desire to explore the world through our taste buds. These were the most popular dishes from some of our favourite foodie nations:
 
Sweet and sour chicken move over, it's all about the dim sum! These small but delectable dumplings topped the list of most popular Chinese dishes followed by the ever-popular chop suey and chow mein. 
 
Whether you’ve made your Italian mamma proud by cooking your own lasagne or discovered a new talent for making homemade pizza, over lockdown we couldn’t get enough of masterning the Italian culinary experience from home.
 
Did someone say taco Tuesday? We might not have been able to take up this tradition at a restaurant (or better yet, on the Yucatan's sandy beaches), but we definitely loved recreating the Mexican at home food experience.
 
Those little rolled up bundles of gastronomic delight commonly known as sushi rolls have been all-time favourites for a while now. But any foodie will tell you there's way more to Japanese national cuisine than sushi, so we've rightfully been getting stuck into ramen and takoyaki, too.
 
If you can't get enough of a good biryani, you're not alone - biryani is one of the most popular dishes in the world. But there was also a global appetite for butter chicken and naan, too. 
 
And as for new food trends that made their way onto the trendy food list? Well, while travelling to paradisiac Pacific places was off-limits, that didn't stop us from searching about exotic cuisines like Tuvalu and French Polynesian food.

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Whilst we all know and love pizza, how familiar are you with Andorran cuisine? This small landlocked microstate perched amidst the high peaks of the Pyrenees was the talk of the world this year. With 80% more searches about Andorra’s national cuisine than the previous year, we predict there will be a global appetite for exploring the 16th smallest country in the world once food travel resumes!

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FOOD TOURS

In 2020 we roamed the world from our kitchen tables, but what were we searching for? Well, warth and spice evidently, based on the fact that food tours to the Caribbean island of Jamaica grew by 1,451%. But it wasn't just warmth we were after, as the next most searched destination was chilly Nepal, with many of you keen to explore its national cuisine.

Found yourself craving warming flavours and exotic spices, and ready to explore beyond the kitchen table? Why not follow the trend by embarking on a Morocco food tour? Sample the country's national flavours like mint tea, tajine and couscous while exploring on our Best of Morocco tour. As well as diving into Morocco's colourful history and way of life, you'll be immersed in the nation's famous foodie scene through rich cultural experiences like our exclusive 'Be My Guest' dinner experience, hosted in a traditional Riad in Fes.

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Fast-forward to 2021 and despite the travel restrictions, our appetite for globalfood travelis just as ravenous as ever. In fact, demand for food tours globally increased by 24% in the first 3 months of 2021 alone. So where do we have our sights set on? Trendy food destinations include Vietnam, where searches for Hue food tours have boomed by an incredible 253%. In a country famed for crispy spring rolls, steaming bowls of pho and fresh salt and pepper squid, it's not so hard to see the foodie appeal. Discover it for yourself on our Vietnam and Cambodia Uncovered vacation. 

Regional food tours have also proved popular so far this year, with 86% more searches for US food tours, making it one of the most trendy food destinations. Travel to New Orleans has been particularly trendy, with searches for the 'big easy's' food tours up by 123%. 

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Do you believe that food and travel go hand in hand? Our Be My Guest dining experiences are exclusive to Trafalgar and designed to connect you with locals in the places you visit. These experiences will see you breaking bread and sharing stories with fascinating individuals from all across the world as families welcome you into their home to share recipes passed down from generation to generation. Whether sampling rich bodied Chianti in a Tuscan vineyard, tasting Japanese delicacies in a traditional ryokan or enjoying the farm to table dining experience at an organic farm in Hawaii, Be My Guest is the ultimate celebration of food travel.
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TRENDY FOODS

Curious to discover last years top quarantine food trends? Our number one trendiest food was the newly launched Mexican mango tajin popsicle with a 7,923% increase in searches. But Mexican food was also trending on social media with dishes like birrieria and quesabirria tacos featuring in all our favourite foodie's blogs.

If Mexico's national cuisine was on everyone's lips in 2020, fast-forward to 2021 and it's all about Bangladeshi food with searches for bhorta increasing by 511% making it one of our favourite trendy foods of the year. More finger-licking trends we'll sure hear more about in 2021 are Basque burnt cheesecake (174%) and juicy birria from Mexico (173%).

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UK FOOD TRENDS

What were the UK's most popular foods and top trendy dishes? Based on 2020's hottest food cravings, we're sure travel to the following foodie destinations will be a hit amongst Brits looking to book their 2022 holidays.

Brits definitely agree on one thing: pizza. This much-loved Italian food was the most popular dish across the UK. Have you booked your Italian foodie getaway yet?

Also topping the list of top 5 most popular foods is a British national cuisine staple: fish & chips. With so many stellar gastropubs scattered around the UK, staycations definitely got a lot tastier.

In terms of food trends, this year was all about American pickles with searches for this pickled veg through the roof! Get your fix by visiting the US in 2022!

- Brits also really loved baking this year, with searches for upside down pineapple cake topping the list of trendy food recipes.

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UK FOOD TRENDS

What food experiences were Brits craving this year? Your most popular cuisines were Chinese, Italian and Indian but there was an interesting shift away from ordering your favourite foods as a takeaways in favour of preparing them yourself! This home-cooking food trend got us testing out a lot of new cuisines, with Middle Eastern and Italian recipes topping our list of most popular foods. Want to cook like a native Italian? We've spoken to some of the best local cooks across Italy to inspire you with delicious authentic recipes.

So, whilst lockdown made it impossible for us to enjoy our favourite foods of the world at the restaurant or abroad, we became a lot more creative with our cooking, exploring dishes from previously overlooked countries like Nicaragua and Turkmenistan.

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Travelling to exotic places may have been off limits for most Brits, but that didn't stop us from craving all things hot and spicy. Mexican cuisine searches were up 44% from the previous year and searches for food experiences from the Pacific paradise of Tuvalu were up by 136%.

The top UK food trends this year took us on a world food tour around the globe with dishes like tasty Greek souvlaki and Chinese dumplings featuring on this year's trendy foods list. But we also got a lot of cooking inspiration from our beloved British national cuisine, especially from GBBO's own Paul Hollywood and his delicious pineapple upside down cake!

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BRITISH TREATS, MOST LOVED ABROAD

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Curious to know what British national cuisine dishes made their mark abroad? Unsurprisingly, the much-loved and quintessentially British fish & chips topped the list of most popular dishes abroad!

Also in the top list of most loved British dishes abroad is one of Scotland's most popular dishes: haggis. It seems like this traditional Burn's night favourite has definitely conquered hearts abroad. But there's more to Scottish food than haggis, get some food travel inspiration with our guide to the best of Scotland's national cuisine in anticipation for when tasting neeps and tatties by the country's lochs resumes.

When it came down to top grossing British most popular foods, there was a global appetite for British beef dishes, with searches up by 838%. But another British national cuisine classic topped the list too, the traditional bangers and mash, with searches up by 550%!

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UK FOOD TOURS

Travelling abroad might have been off the cards in 2020, but it certainly helped us rediscover and fall in love with our delicious national cuisines and breathtaking landscapes once again.

The result? In 2020 we searched for British food tours 38% more times than the year before. But moving forward we think this newfound love for all things Brit is here to stay! As restrictions ease and normal travel resumes we're sure staycations and interest in locally sourced British produce will be a 2022 trend.

If you have set your mind on a British staycation but are unsure which part of the country to explore first, take a look at our top reasons for why you should explore Britain, it might inspire you to venture out of the big cities and into Wales' green countryside or Norfolk's quaint fishing towns.

If you're charmed by scenic sea views and sprawling green landscapes then you will love our Best of Devon & Cornwall food tour. This 6-day tour of England's south west coast will take you from London's bustling food scene to St Ives' picturesque cobbled streets where you can enjoy some of the freshest fish and chips in the country.

Many of our Be My Guest experiences touch upon these popular foodie destinations. Whether it's a idllyic dinner in the Welsh countryside or tapping your toes at a ceilidh on a 15th-century farm in Scotland, you can dig into the hearty meals at the centre of British communities.

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Where to Sample the Best Seasonal British Cuisine

Widely considered one of the world’s most exciting culinary destinations, Britain is turning heads with its explosion of gourmet restaurants championing seasonal British cuisine.
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Where to find the best cup of tea in the UK

It’s no secret that Brits love a cup of tea and lucky for us, they’ve got tea-making down to a fine art. The United Kingdom is filled with tea shops and spots where you can sip a freshly brewed cup of the good stuff.
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Celebrating the Great British Bake Off with Afternoon Tea in London

We take a look at the best places to celebrate the quintessential British tradition of Afternoon Tea in London.
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FOODIES IN THE CITY

2020 was all about delicious home-cooked food experiences. But what cuisine did we look up to when fussing over our next foodie fix? Well, searches for all things pasta, pizza or risotto were on the rise making Italian food the most popular cuisine across the UK.

Glaswegians seemed eager for travel to the Italian shores to resume with searches for Sicilian food experiences trending. Thinking of booking your next holiday to Italy soon? Take a look at Best of Italy & Sicily food tour, and keep your taste buds happy in the meantime by following our authentic Italian recipe for pesto pasta.

When Italy wasn't the talk of the town, Londoners were keen to add some sunshine and spice to their lockdown by searching for Jamaican food tours 840% more times than in 2019. If Londoners felt hungry for new experiences, they also indulged in some local Cape Verdian national cuisine by looking up local restaurants.

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FOODIES IN THE CITY

Do you know what the most popular dishes in the UK cities were this year? Well, everyone seems to agree on pizza, making it the most popular food across the UK!

Londoners also had a soft spot for sushi, although when it comes down to the trendy food list, the Korean Parasite-inspired ram don noodles took first place with searches up a massive 6,700%!

Brummies preferred to keep it local, their second most popular dish being traditional British fish & chips. But the main food trend in Birmingham this year were punjabi vegetables with searches up 486%.

Glaswegians also liked to stick to traditional British national cuisine, haggis is their second most searched popular food. Although they clearly couldn't get enough of American Pickles, with searches up 838%.

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HOW WE GOT OUR FINDINGS

Methodology

• We have created a database with 50,000+ English language keywords related to cuisines, local food specialities, food travel and national restaurants/takeaways.

• We have focused on new food trends and cravings users got during 2020 – the year of lockdowns. We have used Google Trends and Google News to correlate the top trending terms/cuisines to social and cultural events. • We have explored the industry reports to find out the emerging food trends of 2021.

• We used the data from Google Keyword Planner to identify the most popular and most quickly growing trends globally, based on search demand from January 2019 to March 2021.

• Most popular options are based on the highest 2020 search volumes, most trending – on the biggest demand growth rates, compared to the previous year.

• We also pulled country-level and city-level search volumes for the same period.

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