The rise of bowl food

Hippie bowl

One of the biggest food trends currently on the rise is bowl food. Bone broths are hot (no pun intended) and Nigella Lawson has an entire book that is mainly devoted to food served in a bowl. The Wall Street Journal takes a look at what this new trend means for tableware makers.

Both restaurants and home kitchens are moving toward large bowls as single-serving vessels. Homer Laughlin China Co., makers of the popular Fiesta brand of tableware, say that bowls now account for about one-third of the brand's sales. Rich Brinkman, vice president of the company's retail sales and marketing, "anticipated a shift to bowls when sales of slow cookers started surging a few years ago. Calculating that most slow-cooked foods are eaten in bowls, in 2014 Fiesta introduced deep "bistro" bowls in 38-ounce and 68-ounce sizes."

Between the rising popularity of fresh foods (especially fruits and vegetables) and grain-based dishes, which both layer well in bowls, "Americans' voracious appetite for pasta is also best suited in a bowl," says Juliet Boghossian, founder of Food-ology, a Los Angeles-based consulting group that researches eating behavior. She says the trend started as a way to make healthy foods more appealing. "You're taking away all the carbs, like toast, muffins and potatoes but you don't see the empty space on a plate," she says.

Sales of bowls are up at retailers like Walmart, where a line of dinnerware by Ree Drummond (aka "The Pioneer Woman") ranks among its top-selling merchandise. Drummond increasingly uses bowls at home, prominently displays them during her popular Food Network cooking show, and frequently writes about her love of bowls. "A bowl is much more flexible and open to interpretation compared to a plate," says Ms. Drummond, who designed several bowls in her line to be large and deep. "I wanted them to be able to hold a dinner-size stir fry, salad or pasta."

What bowl-food discoveries have you made lately?

Photo of Hippie bowl from The Sprouted Kitchen: Bowl + Spoon by Sara Forte 


  • LDGourmet  on  1/14/2016 at 2:56 PM

    Love it but certainly not new. See: Asia. Besides how would poor hipsters take their "bone broth" with a fork and plate? :-)

  • ellabee  on  1/14/2016 at 7:55 PM

    The biggest difference between my mother's everyday dishes and mine is the addition of wide, shallow pasta bowls -- couscous, stews of all kinds, stir-fries with rice, and of course pasta. But that shift, reflecting the incorporation of other cuisines, took place 25-20 years ago. Today the "bowl" as its own recipe type is a thing -- something I associate with vegan-vegetarian cuisine, but isn't necessarily so.

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