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Food Trends in the US: What Makes Mediterranean Food So Popular?

Mediterranean cuisine includes food from several regions of the Mediterranean basin. With flavors coming from a wide variety of cultures, like the Egyptians, Ottoman’s, Greeks, Italians, French, Spanish, Levantines, and the Maghrebi, it’s no surprise why the Mediterranean cuisine suits almost every palate. Experts in the industry predicted Mediterranean food is going to be the next big thing in the American food scene, with opportunities spanning from restaurant franchises to multiple food truck locations in the country. But what makes this cuisine so popular? Does it have a secret ingredient other cooking styles don’t?

Why is Mediterranean Food Popular?

pizza with olives and basil Mediterranean food, for some, may be a culinary staple. You may have eaten it for the first time as a child and continue to eat more variations of it as you grew older. Food items, like falafel, pita, kebab, and shawarma may seem familiar to you; these are examples of Mediterranean cuisine that found its way to households as comfort food. Middle Eastern restaurants and gyro stands are staples in the culinary industry, though they’ve never really been a part of mainstream food trends until recently. The cuisine became popular because of the Mediterranean diet, in which people eat only a handful of servings. It usually has olive oil, whole grains, proteins, lean meat, vegetables, and tomatoes; with spices, like sumac, mint, and cardamom. Health experts claim this diet to be the most healthy way to eat. Since then, the food industry has seen the commercial potential for Mediterranean cuisine, and it has continued to thrive and flourish. Food experts also connect this quick and widespread acceptance of the cuisine to changing, more adventurous palates. They think people are more willing to experiment with food and varying flavors now than they were in the past. Experts also say Mediterranean is a next-step type of cuisine. If you like Italian cuisine, then you’re likely to appreciate how the Greeks prepare their food. And if you like Greek food, then you may like the taste of Middle Eastern food. You have an array of meal choices that all fall under an umbrella cuisine. Additionally, the rise of franchises and restaurants that bank on the localization of these exotic cuisines help people get used to its taste. In the same way that American fastfood chains adapt to local tastes by adding items that are familiar to locals, restaurants serving exotic cuisines also need to cater to the American palate. Today, people also have the option to choose fast-casual dining. Fastfood restaurants took popular cuisines and adopted it to their business model. Diners can choose to have traditional shawarma for takeaway or have one with a California twist to it. Diversification of food not only attracts more customers to patronize these products but promotes the original culture as well. Even with numerous shawarma stalls in the country, each making their own localized shawarma, people still recognize its original Mediterranean roots. Mediterranean cuisine is both familiar and exotic to the American diner. It’s distinctive taste as well as positive effects on health contribute to its growing popularity.
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