Foodservice trends — Produce in tacos

Foodservice trends — Produce in tacos

This article appears in the July/August issue of PMG magazine. Check out the full digital edition here.

What other foods can rival the status of avocados and pineapples in current pop culture? You can probably guess the answer: tacos. They’re all the rage, from food trucks to fine dining.

The latest Fresh insights for Foodservice report from the United Fresh Produce Association puts it this way: “Tacos are more than just a dish for many people: they’re a way of life. People wear shirts with the taco emoji, show off their tacos on social media with the #TacoTuesday hashtag, and they are one of the most popular foods to mention on dating apps.

"In fact, 82% of consumers love or like tacos, and they rank in the 99th and 100th percentiles for Gen Z and Millennials, respectively," United wrote.

The definition of a taco is fluid, with plant-based alternatives gaining steam, fusion options multiplying, and new combinations constantly pushing the envelope. (See the “Not Not Tacos” restaurant in San Diego’s Little Italy Food Hall as one example.)

“Street tacos, often simply topped with options like fresh diced onion and tomato plus a squeeze of lime juice, have become a category in their own right, while mashups like Korean tacos topped with red cabbage and quick-pickled cucumbers have moved from food trucks to the mainstream,” United wrote in its report. “Taco fillings are also becoming more produce-driven, mirroring the demand for plant-forward options overall, whether it's a plant-based meat taco topped with fresh veggies, or a taco where options like pulled jackfruit, charred cauliflower, sweet potato hash or fried avocado are the star of the show.

"As demand for food delivery continues to increase, expect to see tacos, which travel well and are easily shared, continue to grow," United wrote.

Per the organization's report, here’s a look at the top produce items for tacos currently and the produce ingredients seeing the most growth in tacos.

Produce in tacos
Graphic by Alison Fulton