Grimace Was A Top Trending Google Search In 2023

Remember McDonald's Grimace Shake? So does Google.

What got the food world in a tizzy this year? One of the best ways to find out is by sifting through the year's top trending Google searches, which the Google Trends team just compiled for 2023. Here in the United States, the results are a mix of TikTok fads and one particular episode of the entire internet going in on the same inside joke and absolutely running with it.


We reviewed the data to find out what food trends were hot in 2023, and there were the three that people couldn't stop searching for.

The top trending food-related Google searches of 2023

To set things straight, these aren't the most searched food items of 2023, since basic queries like "how to cook an egg" will always outnumber even the biggest trends. Instead, these are the search queries that saw the highest spikes in traffic over sustained periods in 2023 as compared to 2022.


Most of the top trending Google searches of 2023 aren't food related, though many have a tangential culinary tie-in, like that goofy TikTok obsession about the Roman Empire that Panera quickly turned into a section of its menu. (For the record, no, I don't think about the Roman Empire, ever).

The three top trending Google searches pertaining to food fads in 2023 were:

  • The Fruit Roll-Ups trend
  • The "girl dinner" trend
  • The Grimace Shake trend
  • The Fruit Roll-Up TikTok trend was where everyone was documenting themselves wrapping Fruit Roll-Ups around ice cream. The Fruit Roll-Up would quickly freeze and harden, creating a crunchy shell around the ice cream, and the public was fascinated by the contrasting textures and flavors. A black market around Fruit Roll-Ups even popped up in Israel back in May, where the snacks weren't easy to procure. Each Fruit Roll-Up was being sold for as much as $6.


    In a single week, Israeli customs officials reported seizing over 661 pounds of these snacks, prompting a warning from the Israeli Health Ministry that amounted to a tsk-tsk and a reminder to citizens to watch their sugar intake.

    Then there was the "girl dinner" trend, in which TikTok users would cobble odds and ends together from the pantry to form a meal. We here at The Takeout flat-out rejected that concept, as staff writer Angela Pagán wrote:

    There are multiple issues with labeling this kind of meal a "girl dinner"... Girl Dinner is basically a gendered extension of the rat snack. Even if its name is being used semi-ironically, why it must carry the same energy as the now irritatingly overused phrase "girl boss" is beyond me.

    And yes, fast food brands capitalized on this trend, too, with Popeyes repackaging its sides menu as "girl dinner."

    And finally, who could forget the McDonald's Grimace Shake TikTok trend? The berry-flavored purple Grimace Shake was released in June as part of a larger marketing campaign around the fictional monster's birthday. (I tried the shake; it was fine.) But, boy, McDonald's wasn't expecting this.

    The Grimace Shake TikTok trend involved users posting clips of themselves trying the Grimace shake, then immediately cutting to a horror movie scenario in which the user would appear to be dead, usually doused in the purple Grimace Shake—a plot twist, to say the least.


    The interest in the Grimace Shake extended even further than its limited summer release, however. Google's report shows that the top trending recipe of 2023 was also "Grimace Shake" as people apparently tried making their own versions at home.

    We have our guesses as to which trends 2024 might bring, but if next year's obsessions are anything like this year's trending Google searches, I have a feeling we'll be continually surprised by what rises to the top.