The 8 Worst Food Trends We Should Leave in 2022

The 8 Worst Food Trends We Should Leave in 2022

These are the snacks, drinks, and advancements we could do without.

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Hot cocoa bombs
Photo: MariaKa (Shutterstock)

One very long, very short year ago, The Takeout staff submitted its predictions for the biggest culinary trends of 2022. Many of those projections turned out to be right: the dining scene saw an uptick in plant-based fare, non-alcoholic beverages, and even robotic restaurant assistants, just as we assumed it would. But not all trends that took off this year were equally thrilling—indeed, some were downright baffling, even irritating. And there’s no rule saying we have to keep them going in 2023. Here are the 2022 food trends we hope to keep in 2022. Please, please let this be the final year of the hot cocoa bomb.

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Butter boards

Butter boards

Adult and child's hands dipping apples into sweet butter board
Photo: eugenehill (Shutterstock)

Let’s start off with an obvious one: the butter board. In September 2022, blogger Justine Doiron shared chef Joshua McFadden’s recipe for a “butter board” from his 2017 book, Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables. It quickly went viral across every social media platform, due in part to its simplicity and infinite customization: You spread quality butter directly onto the surface of a cutting board, then add flourishes like edible flowers, figs and honey, garlic confit, tomatoes, basil, pecans—the list goes on.

But butter boards, for all their cuteness, just don’t seem all that practical. It’s almost impossible to get a tidy smear of the stuff as you dip the end of crusty, crumbly bread into a communal spread, and in order to get all the good stuff on one crostini, you practically have to take a road trip around the board with your toast point. We have nothing but appreciation for good butter and hope everyone continues to enjoy it in 2023. Just leave the boards out of the equation.

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Cultural ignorance

Cultural ignorance

cup of esquites
Photo: brenda valenzuela (Shutterstock)

With the proliferation of TikTok influencers comes a wave of people desperate to go viral for works of culinary genius that they pass off as their own—that is, neglecting to credit the cultures and communities that actually created them. This year, we saw a “hack” go viral for making “healthy lentil wraps” out of blended lentils and water—aka dosa, an ancient South Asian staple. We also saw a recipe for “spa water” that’s actually just agua fresca, but marketed as a “wellness drink” rather than the Latin American creation that it is. And the less we say about the term “street corn,” the better.

In 2023, let’s hold creators accountable and challenge them to better understand the culinary traditions from which they’re profiting. Everyone can cook whatever they want, but they don’t get to claim undue glory for it.

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Espresso martinis

Espresso martinis

Espresso martini made at bar
Photo: Maksym Fesenko (Shutterstock)

The resurgence of the incredibly 1990s espresso martini wasn’t on anyone’s 2022 bingo card, but perhaps it should have been—it’s a pure nostalgia play, just like so many other culinary trends from across the year. The drink was so popular that it has helped raise the profile (and bottom line) of Kahlua, the coffee liqueur from which it’s made.

There’s nothing outright wrong with this cocktail—don’t let naysayers tell you about how it’s “unhealthy”—but it’s not exactly an evergreen beverage. Its assertively sweet flavor profile makes this a once-every-two-decades kind of sipper, and we’re fine retiring it in 2023. The Negroni Sbagliato with Prosecco, however, can stay.

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Novelty Coca-Cola flavors

Novelty Coca-Cola flavors

Coke Starlight
Image: Coca-Cola

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s how we feel about Coca-Cola’s 136-year reign as America’s leading soda, and yet capitalism demands that the brand find new ways to differentiate itself in the competitive beverage market, hence the 2022 release of Coca-Cola Starlight, Marshmello Coca-Cola, and Coca-Cola Dreamworld. These high-concept flavor releases are meant to evoke feelings in the consumer, rather than just imitate a particular type of fruit. Dreamworld, according to the brand, “explores the realms of the surreal, the imaginary, and the otherworldly.”

As we noted earlier this year, it all just tastes like a marketing ploy. The fact is, no one really needs anything new from Coca-Cola—we like it just the way it is. In 2023, let’s hope Coke realizes that too. (Leave the innovation to MTN DEW.)

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Hot cocoa bombs

Hot cocoa bombs

hot cocoa bombs
Photo: MariaKa (Shutterstock)

The hot cocoa bomb craze began in 2020, but has only intensified in the two years since. We know how its popularity began—pandemic boredom!—and we know why its popularity has sustained—photogenic desserts!—but still, these treats don’t deserve all this fanfare in 2023 and beyond.

The fact is, these melting cocoa novelty items just never seem to work. They don’t just fail at becoming hot chocolate in any meaningful sense, they also fail at melting all the way, becoming half-formed blobs of passable milk chocolate bobbing in a sea of rapidly cooling milk. They look their best in the box, which is what makes them great gifts. Unfortunately, they’re a lot more fun to give than to receive.

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“Functional” beverages

“Functional” beverages

Image for article titled The 8 Worst Food Trends We Should Leave in 2022
Photo: Cegli (Shutterstock)

In a way, we all drink some form of so-called functional beverage every day, whether it’s coffee or energy drinks to wake us up, chamomile tea to relax us, or, in some particular corners of the wellness community, “Bulletproof” coffee full of butter to promote [checks notes] ketogenic excellence. The category has grown to encompass all kinds of scientifish terminology: probiotics, prebiotics, adaptogens, raw juice, collagen, and what have you. As you can imagine, the added cost reflects the supposed benefits.

It’s not that any one product within the growing functional beverage market is bad for us, it’s just that the whole thing reeks of biohacking, aka treating one’s diet like a set of inputs designed specifically to optimize various aspects of performance. Even for people who want to pay extra attention to their daily diet, this approach sure feels like a joyless way to spend extra money.

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Anti-theft grocery carts

Anti-theft grocery carts

Image for article titled The 8 Worst Food Trends We Should Leave in 2022
Photo: Nataly Tatarinova (Shutterstock)

In 2022, the practice of treating shoppers like presumed shoplifters has become more commonplace, as grocery and convenience stores attempt new forms of loss prevention. You might recall seeing TikTok videos decrying fenced-off steaks and wedges of cheese under glass, accessible only by store associates. It sucks, but one anti-theft measure sucks more than all the rest: the locking grocery cart.

Stores have long since deployed carts that lock at the edge of a parking lot to prevent customers from walking off with them. But now, more stores are experimenting with carts that lock before you can leave the store. To unlock them, you have to pass through a checkout lane, even if you haven’t decided to buy (or steal) anything at all. Because the system depends on corralling customers through unnecessary bottlenecks—and often malfunctions at the exit, requiring the assistants of associates with remote unlocking wands—this cart technology will only prove to be a nuisance if it’s allowed to proliferate. Leave the pilot programs in 2022.

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Dirty Shirleys

Dirty Shirleys

Image for article titled The 8 Worst Food Trends We Should Leave in 2022
Photo: Brent Hofacker (Shutterstock)

If you have to ask why we would want the Dirty Shirley—a drink made of Sprite, grenadine, maraschino cherries, and vodka—to remain in 2022 and not persist as a trend in 2023, then we envy you. You’ve clearly never suffered the horrific fallout from a night of Dirty Shirley debauchery. It’s a hangover that resides, if you’ll excuse the pun, entirely in the Temples.

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