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The Food Trends of Summer 2016, Ranked

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From frosé to Pokemon mania


Labor Day weekend is upon us, and that ostensibly means the end of summer. Okay, 90-degree-plus temperatures will pervade in some areas of the country for weeks or months to come, but, symbolically, summer is over. Frosé will soon be replaced by pumpkin spice lattes, like it or not, and (hopefully) restaurants will stop making burgers in the shape of Pokémon.

Here are 10 of the most pervasive Summer 2016 food trends, ranked in order from "plz don’t go" to "lol bye."

1) Poke

Fast-casual spots specializing in the Hawaiian raw fish dish poke are popping up everywhere, from New York to Dallas, Austin to Portland. Light, fresh, and flavorful, this is an example of a Very Good Summer Trend that seemingly has staying power (even if Angelenos are already maybe sick of it).

2) Frosé

Frozen rosé took the country by storm this summer, as the alcoholic treat rose to prominence in New York, New Orleans, and hot, muggy Washington, DC. Frosé may disappear from most menus once fall comes, but it won’t disappear from our boozy slush-loving hearts.

3) Instagramming ice cream cones in front of walls

Dear @sweetrosecreamery, please come to NYC. [A #HillEatsLA throwback #eater]

A photo posted by Hillary Dixler (@hillarydixler) on

This is perhaps the most ubiquitous Instagram food trend of the summer, and we don’t really even mind.

4) La Croix

The colorful cans of sparkling fruit-flavored water have been around for a few years, but the trend seemingly reached its saturation point this summer. Proof? A Whole Foods bakery in Williamsburg baked an artfully decorated La Croix cake, perfect for your favorite seltzer obsessive’s next birthday.

5) Rolled ice cream

❄️ . #zerodegrees #rolledicecream #banananutella #menloparkmall

A photo posted by Kristin Constantino (@krisconzzz) on

The Thai-style ice cream treat that first began trending last year became ubiquitous this summer, with shops rolling out in Montreal, Philadelphia, Boston, Vegas, and more. Rolled ice cream is the new fro-yo, clearly.

6) The Pokémon restaurant infestation

Pokémon Go hysteria exploded in July, and restaurants capitalized on it by advertising their proximity to Pokéstops, offering players discounts, and creating ridiculous themed foods and coffee drinks. Props for capturing the zeitgeist, but perhaps it's time to let Bulbasaur burgers fade away as we head into fall.

7) Emoji menus

An emoji speaks a thousand words... #emojimenu @adriannamaddalon @georgiestonie

A photo posted by REBECCA • MCKINLAY (@mckinzzz) on

All-emoji menus: so hot right now. But when even Pizza Hut has hopped aboard the bandwagon, it may be time for this trend to die.

8) Raindrop cake

Raindrop cake nabs the prize for "Most Misleading Food of Summer 2016," as it involves neither raindrops nor cake. This bizarre "dessert" first hit New York City’s outdoor food market Smorgasburg back in the spring, and the craze spread to LA over the summer. As Eater NY explains, it’s "made from barely solidified water and served with brown sugar syrup and roasted soy flour." When it comes to desserts, surely we can do better than "barely solidified water."

9) Rainbow foods

Rainbow coffee ❤️ #toomanychiefs #rainbowcoffee #brighton #coffeeaddict

A photo posted by Victoria Maulden (@vlm_xx) on

The rainbow food trend had already reached a fever pitch by late spring and continued to terrorize us all summer long with bagels, coffee, and sushi. All that food coloring makes for effective Instagram bait, and that’s literally the only purpose it serves.

10) Galaxy foods

Like rainbow foods, except worse. Unless you are an actual unicorn, do not partake in this interstellar culinary nightmare.