Top 10 Cuisines During Lockdown 1 to 5

The conversation around trending cuisines has shifted and changed during the current health crisis. At the beginning of lockdown in particular, as restaurants shuttered and panic ensued, many people shopped for food with necessity and cost (rather than cravings!) in mind. And with their favourite restaurant options off the table, people couldn't rely on their favourite noodles, curries, kebabs etc as takeaway options - they had to cook all three meals, every day.

With their favourite restaurant options off the table, people couldn't rely on their favourite noodles, curries, kebabs etc as takeaway options - they had to cook all three meals, every day.

At first, 24/7 home cooking (and a glut of panic purchases!) meant lots of dried pasta, baked beans and ready meals all round - but as time went on, home cooks got creative in an effort to recreate their favourite global dishes. And then, joy of joys, restaurants and takeaway options started to reappear.

So, it seems that global cuisines are still a firm favourite on dinner tables, particularly where trusty old favourites - e.g. Italian, Indian, Chinese - are concerned. And though the 'pause' button may have been hit on the growth of some of the emerging cuisines, enterprising chefs have been working hard to keep them in conversation - and their efforts seem to be paying off.

Recent data from the Future Food panel - a collaboration between thefoodpeople and Good Sense Research - displays that consumer appetites for global flavours and formats endures. The research shows that whilst familiar cuisines (e.g. British) are still the most tried, interest is high in trying emerging cuisines; broadly speaking, any dip in the numbers during March/April has levelled out to pre-lockdown levels. (If you'd like to know more about this exciting collaboration and read the data in more detail, subscribe online using this link.)

As we come out of lockdown, it is undoubtedly going to take some time for restaurants to recover - so home cooking and deliveries will continue to be a much bigger part of our lives. We take a look here at 1 - 5 of the Top 10 cuisines that consumers have turned to on both these fronts during lockdown.

If you'd like to watch the supporting video, click here.

1. Italian

Italian cuisine is famed for dishes that use just a few simple-but-quality ingredients, with stunning results... carbonara, margherita pizza, lasagna and so on. It's also a cuisine steeped in tradition, with recipes and techniques that are passed down through the generations and celebrated for uber regional dishes.

What have we observed during lockdown?

Faced with unprecedented stress, a lot of us turned to bread, pizza and pasta. Shop bought but also homemade; many learned to make doughs from scratch for the first time (including insta-famous sourdough varieties). Homemade focaccia was adorned with edible artistry. And in the 'everything old is new again' mantra; slow cookers came out of the cupboards for a slew of recipes including slow cooker Lasagna!

A few growth potentials and thought starters:

Hybriding of Italian formats and ingredients e.g. 'Chicken Parm' burger or breakfast pizza

Increase home baking/Italian delivery kits ingredients, sauces, pasta and sauces

Re-engagement with classic Italian formats such as cacio e pepe – just 4 ingredients

Update classic sweet formats – think tiramisu, cannoli, panna cotta

The continued wave of Italian bread and bakery into bake-art

2. Americana

On a global level, American cuisine is often synonymous with a handful of dishes - burgers, hot dogs, deep pan pizza and apple pie amongst these. However, there is growing appreciation for the breadth and variety of cuisines on offer across the states. Indeed, even pizza differs significantly depending on where you look - deep pan in Detroit, 'apizza' in New Haven, grilled pizza in Rhode Island etc.

Some of our observations during lockdown:

With everyone breakfast-ing at home some creative cooks went viral by mashing up dishes e.g. pancakes and cereal - aka pancake cereal. And that wasn't the only thing going 'mini' - chocolate chip cookies also got the mini/cereal treatment. Home-made fried chicken and burgers were also everywhere, as everyone tried to recreate their favourites - including 'fakeaway' Zinger Towers, Whoppers and Big Macs. Many also turned their hand to the intricacies of authentic low and slow barbecue experimenting with different woods for smoking, brines, global flavours and alternative meat cuts.

A few growth potentials and thought starters:

The all in box either through retail, food service collaboration or DTC kits

Semi prepared barbecue in retail

Broader plant-based offerings beyond the obvious hot dogs, burgers, ribs and wings

Carby comfort beyond mac n' cheese and fries - spicy cornbread, loaded tater tots, Frito pie

Go regional with Americana cuisines e.g. Louisiana po'boys, New England clam chowder, Carolina BBQ, Grandma Pizza

3. British

For many, British food is synonymous with hearty dishes (pork pie, beef wellington, scotch eggs, sausage rolls, fish & chips!), lots of condiments and sauces (gravy, mint sauce, Gentleman's relish, horseradish, etc) and of course - Sunday roast. And let's not forget our strong emphasis on pastry, both sweet and savoury.

What have we observed during lockdown?

Home cooking and baking became a national pastime, and childhood favourites became the go-to for budding cooks. The Queen's chef even gave out the recipe for the classic Victoria sponge! Meanwhile as people grew tired of cooking and looked for the odd treat – pubs/ restaurants started offering 'at home' services. And for those in need of a real indulgent treat, or a Mother's Day gift... afternoon tea, delivered to your door. British home cooking became a place of safe escape – certainty in an uncertain world.

A few growth potentials and thought starters:

Increase 'Free From' pastry ranges - vegan sausage rolls were just the start...

Update retro desserts, for example, millionaire's shortbread, pavlova, Eton mess, trifle, sticky toffee

The very best of British – staples, ingredients, meat, fish and vegetables

Sunday / celebration roast all in kits

A new deeper level engagement and empathy with local & domestic supply chains and food hero's

4. Indian

It's been over 200 years since the first curry house was opened in the UK by an Indian migrant; fast forward to today and the cuisine is so well loved, it has become part of the UK culinary thread work. We can't seem to get enough of Indian food, both in traditional form and modern/ fusion iterations.

Some of our observations during lockdown:

Indian food seemed to be everywhere, a go-to for both home cooking and delivery - we aren't just talking local takeaway and curry sauce; even fine dining Indian restaurants like Benares threw their hat in the delivery ring with the launch of 'al-desko' lunchboxes - whilst foodie favourite Dishoom started delivering their cult status bacon naan. Meanwhile Jamie Oliver taught budding home cooks how to make his chicken tikka masala; and plant-based cooks showed us how veg friendly Indian cuisine is.

A few growth potentials and thought starters:

Wraps and rolls using paratha, roti and naan bread

Mash up formats and flavours e.g. chicken tikka tacos

Indian breakfast - bacon-and-egg naan, or masala omelette

Gourmet DIY curry kits for 'fake-away' nights in

5. Chinese

The best Chinese dishes are characterised by balanced flavours of sweet, sour, salty, spicy and bitter. It's a cuisine adored on a global scale, though many of the dishes best known outside of China have been adapted to suit local tastes and ingredients. But consumer knowledge around 'authentic' Chinese food is growing, and so is their appetite for new dishes and flavours.

What have we observed during lockdown?

According to a Google Trends report in April, the 10th most Googled recipe on the internet over that month was 'fried rice' - no surprise, as people stocked up on rice and looked for creative ways to use their leftovers. Many recipes were shared for how to make fried rice using another lockdown obsession - the slow cooker. Meanwhile, TV personality Gok Wan took the mystery out of Chinese 'take-away', cooking some of the nation's favourite recipes on ITV's This Morning. Inspired by Gok Wan and others, many consumers decided to channel their inner cook and had a go at recreating their takeaway favourites - aka 'fake-aways'... Sweet & Sour Chicken, Chow Mein and Peking Duck and so on.

A few growth potentials and thought starters:

Regionalisation of noodle dishes; do you know your Uyghur lagman from your Hunan (hoo-nan) mi fen or Yunnan (gooh-nan) mi xian?

Increase the frozen offerings - frozen dumplings for 'at home' dim sum

Grow the sauces and condiments sector, beyond soy sauce and chilli oil - e.g. roasted sesame paste or spicy mala

Semi prepared chinese

Purpose Fried rice or noodles as all day fare, including breakfast


The global pandemic has temporarily grounded everyone, bringing into sharp focus the value of food and drink, and, indeed, the fragility of our supply chains, so curbing the 'I want what I want, and I want it now' which dominated so many trends before. For the first time in generations, consumers have had to make do with what's available/local - and that means getting creative!

This has only acted to accelerate the era of Conscience Cuisine, something TFP actually hailed at the start of 2019. That is to say, we were already entering an era that would be dictated by environmental concerns and mindful eating. More than ever, we truly understand that 'you are what you eat' - the pandemic didn't create this shift, but it did accelerate it.

This era of conscious consumption will impact the global cuisines framework too. Age old techniques like fire cooking plus bread making are already being revived and coming to the fore. Both environmental & personal health are top of the agenda too, and thus cuisines that lend themselves well to healthy, fresh and plant-based eating are likely to thrive. It seems inevitable that global travel will remain off the cards for many for some time yet; that means that that we will turn to exotic ingredients, flavours and dishes for global food exploration on our plates.

So join our TFP community for the details of the next cuisines article where we'll feature cuisines 6-10, our recent 12 part series and all of the latest free to access food and drink trends foresight. Visit or click here and complete in the footer!

Stay safe, keep well and we'll see you in the next article.