Woman holding a hot dog with a disgusted face.

Most Hated Food by Residents in Each State

Taste is subjective, but some things can be agreed upon by huge swaths of the population. Case in point? Which foods Americans hate the most. Can you think of which ones they are?

Fit for Grubs

Traveler smelling food.
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A 2022 report released by Zippia used Google Trends Data to analyze the least-searched items from a list of 40 of America’s most controversial foods. While these results don’t necessarily represent “hated” foods, they do help root out which grub Americans are definitely not looking for. 

Alabama 

Person holding beets.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Dwight Schrute would be livid if he knew how much people in Alabama hate beets. In their opinion, not even the state’s signature white barbecue sauce can save the flavor of this earthy root vegetable. 

Alaska

Bacon in a pan.
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Turkey bacon is not real bacon, at least according to Alaska natives who seem to hate the poultry-based faux pork product with a passion. 

Arizona

Person holding beets.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

According to Zippia, beets are the most hated food in Arizona. This makes sense, considering the lack of beets in traditional Tex-Mex staples that prefer to feature punchier flavors like lime and jalapeño. 

Arkansas

Sardines swimming.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Arkansas natives are among the least likely to order anchovy pizza, especially considering the statewide disdain for the tiny fish. 

California

Bowl of olives.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

It’s unlikely that dirty martinis top the list of trendy tipples at bars across California. The Golden State cites olives as its most hated food. 

Colorado

Turkey bacon.
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Colorado locals may be adventurous when it comes to outdoor pursuits, but less so with food. Rugged Coloradans prefer pork to turkey, especially when it comes to bacon. Turkey bacon is Colorado’s most hated food.

Connecticut

Steak.
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There is a right and a wrong way to order steak in Connecticut. According to locals, well-done steak is a waste of a perfectly good cut of beef. And don’t you dare reach for the ketchup. 

Delaware

Woman with her hands up.
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Don’t even bother setting out olives at a Delaware dinner party. Locals likely won’t touch the state’s most hated food with a 10-foot pole. 

Florida

Basket of beets.
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Beets don’t belong on Florida beaches, where locals would rather scarf down seafood or classic key lime pie than a bowl of root vegetables. 

Georgia

Olives in oil.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Georgia’s urban foodies and rural farmers can agree on a few things, one of which is that olives are the state’s most hated food. 

Hawaii

Bowl of pickles.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

For all the fresh produce Hawaiians consume, pickles just don’t make the cut. Plain pickled cucumbers just don’t hold a candle to ripe tropical fruits like pineapple. 

Idaho

Fried anchovies.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Potatoes may be a popular side dish in Idaho, where locally caught fish like trout, bass, and salmon frequently grace restaurant menus, but anchovies are another story. The canned fish is the state’s most hated food. 

Illinois

Olives.
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Chicago-style hot dogs are known for being “dragged through the garden,” topped with relish, onion, and a whole sport pepper (among other accouterments), but olives are best kept away from this sacred recipe. 

Indiana

Woman with her thumb down.
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Olives have no place in Indiana’s homestyle Midwest cooking. Locals cite olives as the Hoosier State’s most hated food. 

Iowa

Anchovies.
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Land-locked Iowa has no patience for slimy anchovies that are better used as bait than a pizza topping. 

Kansas

Anchovies on ice.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Meat-and-potatoes-loving Kansas residents don’t have time for fiddly anchovies. The Sunflower State claims anchovies as its most hated food. 

Kentucky

Eggplant.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

In a state where Bourbon and sugary-sweet Derby Pie rank among the most popular foods, vegetables like eggplant don’t stand a chance. Kentucky’s race-loving residents would rather sip on mint juleps than try to choke down eggplant Parmesan. 

Louisiana

Beets.
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Beets can’t compete with beignets in Louisiana. The Bayou State has no taste for the earthy root veggie. 

Maine

Pile of sushi.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Fresh seafood may reign supreme in Maine, but you’re unlikely to find a local who loves sushi. Residents of the Pine Tree State prefer their shellfish boiled and bathed in butter. 

Maryland

Hand filled with olives.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Even a healthy dose of Old Bay seasoning can’t save Maryland’s most hated food. Olives don’t stand a chance against the state’s signature crab cakes. 

Massachusetts

Steak on the grill.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Those who try ordering a well-done steak in Massachusetts are likely to get the cold shoulder from locals, who know the best way to cook a cut of beef is medium rare. 

Michigan

Couple plugging their nose.
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Don’t order a Detroit-style pizza with anchovies. The slippery canned fish is the most hated food in Michigan, according to Zippia. 

Minnesota

Pile of eggplants.
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Midwestern cuisine has no place for eggplant, especially in Minnesota, where locals claim the vegetable as the state’s most hated food. 

Mississippi

Man holding olives.
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Pickles are an acceptable barbecue accompaniment in Mississippi, but olives have no place on the table in the Magnolia State. 

Missouri 

Woman with her hand up.
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According to Zippia, Missouri locals have made their opinion clear: Anchovies have no place in the Ozarks. 

Montana

Carrots.
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Hay is for horses in Montana, and apparently so are carrots. The distinctively crisp, orange vegetable is the most hated food in the state. 

Nebraska

Grocery store aisle.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Grocery stores in Nebraska shouldn’t bother stocking their shelves with anchovies. Picky locals won’t eat them, if Zippia’s data is any indication. 

Nevada

Las Vegas skyline.
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With a slew of world-class restaurants lining the Vegas strip, Nevada locals have their pick of international plates. Their one request? Hold the eggplant. 

New Hampshire

Cooking bologna.
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With a bounty of fresh seafood on offer, it’s no wonder that New Hampshire locals shirk processed meat products. The Granite State’s most hated food is bologna. 

New Jersey 

Martini.
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New Jersey residents would order anchovies on their pizza before dreaming of adding olives. Even dirty martinis cause picky locals to turn up their noses. 

New Mexico

Can of olives.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Fresh chiles reign supreme in New Mexico, where locals have no time for pickled or jarred products like olives. When visiting, skip the olives and reach for the freshly made salsa instead. 

New York

Woman holding up her hands.
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New Yorkers are known to be opinionated about their food, but the one thing nearly all Empire State residents apparently agree on? Hold the olives. 

North Carolina

Anchovies in the water.
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Anchovies have no place on the plates of North Carolina residents, who prefer pork barbecue to petite canned fish. 

North Dakota

Different colored eggplant.
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German and North American culinary creations abound in North Dakota, neither of which contain the state’s most hated food: eggplant. 

Ohio

Canned anchovies.
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Ohio locals have no tolerance for anchovies. The state’s most hated food couldn’t be more different than Cincinnati’s favorite Skyline Chili. 

Oklahoma

Plate of anchovies.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Oklahoma’s culinary tastes tend to skew towards classic meat-and-potato pairings, a far cry from delicate anchovies, the state’s most hated food.

Oregon

Slices of bologna.
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Organic produce is king in Oregon, a practice that netted the state $386 million in 2021. It’s no surprise, then, that processed products like bologna don’t suit the local palate. 

Pennsylvania

Plate of sushi.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

From Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania natives may have differing views on a wide range of topics, but one thing the majority can agree on? Sushi is the state’s most hated food.

Rhode Island

Plate of breakfast.
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If it isn’t pork, Rhode Islanders don’t want it…at least when it comes to turkey bacon. 

South Carolina

Green olives.
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Get olives anywhere near their shrimp and grits and see how quickly you earn a side-eye stare from South Carolina locals. 

South Dakota

Eggplant.
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Similar to its northern neighbor, South Dakota’s culinary history has a bit of a German accent. While dishes like chislic and kuchen grace local menus, one item that is noticeably missing is the state’s most hated food: eggplant. 

Tennessee

Olives in a dish.
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Moonshine and Moon Pies may be equally popular treats in Tennessee, where olives are most certainly not welcome. 

Texas

Texas flag.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Even visitors who flock to Texas’ annual Austin Food & Wine Festival can’t stomach the idea of anchovies, which is perhaps why they’re the Lone Star State’s most hated food. 

Utah

Bolonga.
Photo Credit: Rick Henzel via stock.adobe.com.

After a day spent on the slopes, Utah residents are likely to scarf down almost anything. Anything except bologna, the state’s most hated food according to Zippia. 

Vermont

Sushi.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

From Ben & Jerry’s to maple syrup, Vermont has had a long love affair with sweet treats. This may explain why extra-savory sushi is a no-go for the locals. 

Virginia

Olives.
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They say that Virginia is for lovers; lovers of everything except olives, the state’s most hated food, according to Zippia. 

Washington

Friends laughing.
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When you can get ultra-fresh salmon at a local fish shop, why would Washingtonians bother with processed products? Bologna takes the brunt of the frustration as the state’s most hated food. 

West Virginia

Sushi.
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Appalachia is not known for its sushi-loving population, especially in West Virginia, where locals have an outright hatred of the raw fish dish. 

Wisconsin

Person dipping chip in cheese.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Almost anything that can be dipped in cheese is fair game in Wisconsin. Everything except anchovies, the Badger State’s most hated food. 

Wyoming

Plate of bacon.
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Don’t even try convincing a Wyoming local that turkey bacon and pork bacon taste the same. The turkey substitute is the Cowboy State’s most hated food, according to Zippia. 

The Most Hated Food in the US

Bowl of olives.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

According to Zippia, olives are the most hated food in the US, with 13 different states naming them their least favorite food. On the flip side, 62% of Americans say they actually like olives, so they just seem to be particularly hated in some areas of the country. 

It’s Not What It Seems

Smelling coffee.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

As it turns out, it’s not the taste of certain foods people dislike. According to Julie Mennella, a biopsychologist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, “Our language is really limited when we say food tastes a certain way. It’s actually your sense of smell that allows you to distinguish between something like strawberry and cherry Jell-O.”

The Science of Taste

Man smiling holding a watermelon.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

The biology of taste is actually the same among all humans in that everything we consume can be broken down into four distinct qualities: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. From a survival perspective, we are hard-wired to like sweet (like fruit) and to dislike bitter since bitter foods can indicate poison. 

Taste vs Flavor

Winery in Tuscany.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

While taste is the same for all humans, flavor is more nuanced since it’s tied to our sense of smell. Flavor is something that we learn to like, such as the potent stench of aged cheese or a robust wine. 

Learning to Love Again

Woman holding a fork.
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Conditioning plays a big part in our food preferences, from bad experiences to cultural familiarity. This can work in reverse, too, meaning you can learn to like (or at least not hate) any food you choose. 

10 Top Foodie-Friendly American Cities

Food truck.
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Calling all foodies that love good food! These are the top culinary hotspots in the US that are both affordable and appetizing. 

10 Top Foodie-Friendly American Cities

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