Fried Chicken and Pizza Among this Year’s Hottest Food Trends

Prep your palate for ice cream roll ups, faux meat, grilled chicken hearts—and then some.

I’ll admit this line from Condé Nast Traveler hooked me, and I read the entire article about the hottest food trends for 2017. Quinoa and kale are cooling off, but pizza and chicken remain hot.

How ironic that Americans number one New Year’s resolution is “eat healthy,” yet pizza and fried chicken are top food trends for 2017!

“It is rather ironic that pizza and fried chicken are two of the food trends for 2017 despite the popular New Year’s resolutions for eating healthy and/or losing weight,” says Anne Hytrek, MSEd, RD, LD, CDE, Ankeny Prairie Trail Hy-Vee Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. “However, pizza actually can be a healthy entree’ choice depending on the type of crust and toppings used.”

The Tuscano cracker crust or thin crusts are healthier, says Hytrek, especially if they’re made with whole wheat or whole grain flour. Another great alternative is a cauliflower crust that you can make at home. (We’re sharing the recipe below.) Additional healthier crust options, especially for individual pizzas, include Brownsberry Pita Pockets or Sandwich Thins, Flat Out, or Thomas High Fiber English Muffins.

“Bring pizza to life and feel full at the same time without a lot of calories by topping your pizza with lots of colorful vegetables,” says Hytrek. “Think outside of the box and try toppings like pickled peppers, roasted kale, asparagus or brussel sprouts, sliced cherry tomatoes, zucchini ribbons, fresh basil, artichoke hearts, and olives. Canadian bacon, chicken or shrimp, chicken Italian sausage, feta cheese are additional protein options to change up your typical toppings.  Really, just be creative and try some different flavor combinations that you typically enjoy!”

Although a noted food trend for 2017 is “organic, antibiotic-free and hormone-free food,” Hytrek says dieticians at her Hy-Vee location do not get a lot of questions regarding these types of foods. Perhaps living in the Midwest helps Iowa customers feel more comfortable with where their food is coming from versus other areas in the United States why.

Hytrek’s comment mirror findings included in the Iowa Food & Family Project’s annual consumer pulse survey conducted earlier this winter. 

According to the survey of nearly 400 people, Iowans are less likely to seek out such options as “cage-free,” “organic” and “natural” compared to consumers queried in national surveys. However, food labeled “local” continues to rise in popularity among food-minded Iowans, with 81 percent of those surveyed admitting they are “somewhat” or “very” likely to purchase such food.  

When it comes to defining “local,” the results were less than concrete with responses ranging from “across the street” or “within a couple of miles of where it’s sold” to “grown or raised somewhere in the United States.”

Aaron Putze, APR, serves as communications director for Iowa Soybean Association and helps coordinate the work of the Iowa Food & Family Project. He says findings included in the group’s annual consumer pulse survey reveal strong and broad support for Iowa farmers and today’s agriculture. It also underscores the time and attention many consumers give to making food purchases.

Eighty-seven percent of Iowans have a positive perception of agriculture in the state, Putze says, while 68 percent of Iowans think about how food is grown and raised. The combination underscores the value and merits of the Iowa Food & Family Project.

“People want to feel empowered about the food purchasing decisions they make,” Putze says. “By having frequent conversations about food and introducing Iowans to agriculture, we can enhance confidence and trust among both consumers and the farm families who make so many safe and healthy food options available.”

Hy-Vee and Latham Hi-Tech Seeds join more than 30 partners who support the Iowa Food & Family Project. Learn more and get involved at

Cauliflower Crust Pizza


1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into florets
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
2. Place cauliflower florets in food processor and pulse until fine. Steam in a steamer basket or in microwave; transfer steamed vegetables into paper towel-lined bowl and drain. Let cool.
3. Next combine drained cauliflower with eggs, mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano, salt and garlic.
4. Transfer mixture to 9x-13-inch baking pan or onto the center of a round baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until crust browns.
5. Add desired pizza toppings and bake about 5 minutes more or until cheese melts.
*recipe adapted from Katie Lee and Hy-Vee