Still, any backlash aside, the styling appears to have an enduring appeal -- and not just in food. The rise of unicorn toast and lattes has been parallel with that of unicorn beauty trends, which include everything from pastel eyebrows, "holographic" lip gloss, and glittery, painted hair. It's a no-brainer as to why this has taken off in more than one interest area: It's perfect, visually appealing Instagram fodder.
"As silly as it may sound, we live in an Instagram world where pretty pictures sell," says Odell. It also doesn't hurt that there is "magic associated with unicorns in general," she adds. "I think there has to be room for some frivolous and impractical fun (and escapism) with food, and that is what [unicorn foods offer]," says Waugh. But perhaps the appeal of unicorn foods is best summed up by Madeleine Murphy, one of the owners of The End, in an interview with Well+Good. "Unicorns are a majestic, mystical archetype that represents peace, joy, and opening up to the infinite possibilities inside of you."
It's unlikely that drinking a pale-pink latte will open up your "infinite possibilities" chakra, but in a world where aesthetics will always outweigh taste, unicorn foods will continue to rule your social feeds for the foreseeable future. As long as it Instagrams well, people will buy into it. For now, we're waiting for the inevitable day when Dunkin' Donuts sells unicorn donuts that poop out a sparkly pastel rainbow cream. Because after all, America runs on Dunkin' and food trends.
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.