Trend Watch: What does the bowl trend mean for the end of our lunch break?

March 22, 2019

By: Rafael Tonon

– New food companies such as Daily Harvest deliver healthy foods in cups and bowls that can satisfy the hunger at any time: from lunch to any break in the office.

– When exchanging the dish for the bowl, the new generations are looking for healthier meals that are not determined by time.

-From açaí bowl to poke, a container you can gently grab with the hand conveys a sense of comforting nourishment and encourages us to feel fine about our food.

– The NPD Group points out that visits to restaurants during “snack occasions” rose 3 percent last year, while at lunch they fell 2 percent.

– The one-bowl trend has become important not only for what it serves but for the way it does it: something that will transform our eating habits.

In an advertisement on the NYC subway, Daily Harvest, a startup that prepares and sends frozen, pre-portioned foods, claims they help you arrange any meal in one minute on average. The ad does not specify which meal, exactly: it only features the ingredients (“chef-crafted”, “nutrient-rich”, “organic” beets, avocados, cauliflower, etc.) – which could be an excellent choice for a hearty breakfast, a well-balanced lunch, a healthy dinner, or any meal in the meantime.

The company started offering subscription-based smoothies, but it has also evolved to soups and bowls as it has received million-dollar investments. Each meal (delivered in a “cup” or a “bowl”) provides, according to the company, access to healthy, delicious, balanced meals that you don’t even have to prepare: convenience without compromise.

Bowl is the new plate

Replacing the plate for a bowl – or a cup – where all the ingredients (from avocado slices to organic greens, from whole grains to fruits and nuts) can be mixed does not only mean seeking greater convenience but abdicating what a plate of food has always meant so far for our actual society’s relationship with food.

With the fall of the Industrial Age, it makes less sense for us to need specific times to have our meals and to split them in breakfast or lunch, for example. Today, in the age of the creative economy, bowls seem to meet our current demands more. They better fit how we usually eat today: between a meeting and another, on the way to a work commitment at the train, or only when hunger shows up.

From the British royal wedding menu to any board in any corner in Williamsburg neighborhood, bowl food became a significant trend – even if some people want to refuse it. But more than anything else, the bowl food is a massive movement that represents a change in our eating habits: most of the time alone, “snacking” more than adequately eating, in front of a screen, and everything else in between.  

To keep an eye on:

If the rise of bowl-eating was noticed circa 2017 and propelled by a new focus on healthy dishes, it has settled and now indicates a new behavior in our society: with more people working as freelancers and without the strict hours to punch in and out of work, our mealtime has changed. The meal, as we know, tends to disappear as it will make less sense to the new generations to sit down for dinner – leaving all the screens behind. The advent of snacking throughout the day will become much more massive, changing the restaurant scene and even the dishware industry. And the best way to do it is with a bowl in hand.

Trend Watch is a new service from Foodlosofia that seeks to raise trends on eating habits and all food-related behaviors. We also offer customized reports for companies and projects. Do you want to know more about it? Write to us:


Rafael Tonon

+ posts by Rafael

Rafael Tonon is a journalist and food writer. He writes about food, drinks and trends in gastronomy. He contributes to many media outlets, such as Eater, Vice, Slate and more. He maintains the trend food blog What the Fork.

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