Trend Perspectives by Cynthia Maxwell

It's no surprise that the interest in road trips has risen as the result of 2020 events. Whether it was by car, van, or RV, road trips were THE travel trend this summer. Now that the travel bucket list is focused on domestic destinations and often on four wheels, fun food and drink have become essential and could even be the motivation behind the trip.

Road Trips with Food in Mind

If you search for anything relating to "food road trips," you will get many suggestions. Some fun ones that pop up are "Where to find the best food trucks" and "Barbecue Food Trails."

Consumers are particularly interested in regional barbecue, which makes for a food-themed road trip must! Travelers can find famous barbeque from the Carolinas to California, and there are maps and suggestions for the best barbeque joints to try.

As the interest in bourbon tasting rooms and craft breweries continues to grow and alcohol sales increase, bourbon, beer, and wine trails have become even more sought after. Denver, Colorado, has over 2,700 craft breweries and has the Denver Beer Trail to start the quest of visiting some. South of Denver is the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Over 95% of the world's bourbon is created in Kentucky, making it the obvious place to plan a bourbon themed trip.

This year's uncertainty has consumers craving comfort foods, like fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and pie. These are perfect foods for the whole family to experience on a road trip, and the south is the area to find them. Alabama has a culinary map detailing out the best places to find fried catfish, barbeque, southern tomato pie, and new trendy versions of old favorites supporting the farm to table concept.

RELATED: The Impact of COVID-19 on Game Day Snacking

Vegan & Vegetarian

Via Google, the word ‘vegan’ was searched at an increase of 500% in the last five years. Over a quarter of 25 to 34-year-olds are reported to be vegan, according to The Economist. Whether it is because of the global impact or health reasons or both, vegan and vegetarianism can no longer be an afterthought. Sir Richard Branson is taking vegans and vegetarians seriously with the debut of Virgin Voyages Cruise Line, which will feature a restaurant that caters specifically to these dietary choices.

Fortunately, there are many options for vegan road trip snacks, and Vegancuts drops them right at your front door pre-trip. Vegancuts is a 100% vegan food subscription that delivers 10+ cruelty-free snacks a month-makes the road trip planning and packing just a little easier.

Sweet Treats

Pastry and sweets are desirable to almost everyone. When traveling south to Austin, many road trippers stop at the Czech bakeries for kolaches and other yummy baked goods. Known as The Texas Kolache Trail, you can find over a dozen Czech bakeries in south Texas. The Nutella kolache is my favorite!

Donuts are an easy road trip stop, and donut shops are always re-inventing. There are donut sandwiches, themed donuts (think Cookie Monster), and also collaborations! Angry Orchard Hard Cider and New York City's The Doughnut Project created The Angry Crisp Donut.

I have been reporting on food boards all year long, and camping trips are a prime venue for these 2020 gems. Of course, there is the s'mores board, and now the December trending hot chocolate board!

Snacks are Number One!

According to Mintel trend research, 62% of over 2,000 surveyed said they would like to try new flavors in a snack format followed closely by appetizers and desserts. Snacks have been an all-star food item in 2020, and trying new ones adds to road trip fun.

Nacho Vibes organic chickpea snacks by Hippeas, Vegan Robs Cauliflower Puffs, Blue Diamond Sweet Thai Chili almonds, and Korean barbeque jerky are making the road trip bloggers list. These new flavored snacks pair well with fresh veggies and those old-school wax paper wrapped sandwiches while enjoying a scenic view!

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