The 10 biggest food trends coming in 2020

Next year is set to be tasty and sustainable, and there's something for everyone!

2y ago

Some of the world's biggest food boffins have been crunching the numbers and have made 10 bold predictions of what we will be consuming in 2020.

The panel included culinary experts and global buyers from Whole Foods Market, with access to all the data they need from exhibitions, consumer preferences and their own experience of sourcing products this year.

So, if you want to get ahead of the 2020 food game, here's what you'll be looking out for.

Regenerative agriculture

You'll have heard about this all throughout 2019, and it's set to stay as everyone who's anyone in agriculture aims to optimize land use, improve soil health and do their bit to combat climate change. Expect your favorite brands to be getting involved, and look out for those going the extra mile.

West African Cuisine

West Africa is made up of many nations, but there is a common theme of rich, tomato and chilli-based flavors with the all the benefits of locally sourced superfoods to boot. Tamarind and moringa are rich in iron and protein and full of flavor. Along with grains like fonio and millet, are set to become more commonly used, globally. More familiar flavors like lemongrass, ginger, and peanut are big in this part of the world too, so you're sure to find something you like.

More plant-based alternatives

As the demand for plant-based sources of protein rises, so too does the hunger for a greater variety of options. We love soy-based dishes, but expect to see a greater range of alternatives, aiming to maintain optimum protein content while introducing more yogurt-like creamy textures than we've been used to before. Mung bean based items, are already starting to appear on the shelves of our local health food stores, and are set to become more mainstream along with watermelon seeds, golden chlorella, and the old faithful avocado.

Meat-plant blends

Want to do your bit by cutting down on meat without cutting it our entirely? Well it's about to get a whole lot easier as the emerging 'blended' options are set to take off in 2020. Better for your health, better for the environment, and it's set to be easier on the wallet too,. You don't have to give up everything you love to reap the benefits of the plant-based movement.

Booze-free booze

These aren't new. Many big beer brands have done zero proof versions of their best sellers for years now, but if you wanted to enjoy the flavor without getting tipsy, those were your only real options – till now. We are expecting all your favorite boozy treats to be available as an alcohol-free alternative, so when you ask for a mocktail, that's exactly what you'll be getting.

Posh gnosh for the kids

We said there was going to be something for everyone, and here's something for the little ones. Apparently the kids are done looking at standard fish fingers and alphabetti spaghetti (ok there will always be a place for that), and are ready to become the next generation of foodies. Next year's kids' menu is set to feature alternatives like non-breaded salmon sticks, blended chicken nuggets and alternative flour pastas.

Ever expanding list of sweeteners

It's not all about honey when it comes to sweetening our treats. I personally just don't like the stuff but, among other reasons for shunning it, strict vegan diets don't allow it. These concerns are being answered in a large way, and soon we will have a vast range of natural sweetening products available, including pomegranate syrup and sweet potato syrup.

Many, many vegan spreads

Big brands are finally getting on board with the movement to reduce the use of palm oil, a major contributor to deforestation, not to mention the threat to many endangered species. Part of this movement is to adopt plant-based products in place of the current range of palm oil based spreads. This is doubly great news because it means we don't have to eliminate spreads entirely to do our bit. Expect to see more macadamia butters, chickpea butters, and even watermelon seed butter. Who doesn't love a good butter?

Box fresh snacks

There has been an exponential increase in the popularity of nutrition bars and grain-based snacks: buy in bulk, throw them in the cupboard, and grab them when you want them. Tasty, nutritious snacks. We expect to see a shift in this trend with the addition of fruit and vegetables and more fresh to-go items. Hard boiled eggs with a range of toppings, drinkable cold soups, and pickled fruit and vegetables are the order of the day, so prepare to make the fridge your first stop for that mid-morning snack.

Flour power

You can't fail to have noticed the baking bandwagon that is being earnestly jumped on. I, for one, am very here for it! With the rise in popularity coming alongside a hunger for more healthy alternatives to our staple ingredients, we very much welcome the arrival of alternative flours. These are not new but they are becoming more varied and abundant, with different seeds, nuts and grain being included, as well as fruit and vegetables. Coconut, almond, and cauliflower are a few of the variants we are most looking forward to, and imagine a banana bread loaf made with banana flour! A must try.

Which of these trends are you most looking forward to?

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Comments (16)

  • Booze-free booze and meat-free meat. What has this world come to 😊? What's next? Guest-free restaurants?

      2 years ago
    • It’s all about choice which we now have more of!

        2 years ago
    • While on painkillers that required no alcohol the other half paid nearly £30 for a Spiced "alcohol free distilled spirit infusion" for me. The one thing it lacked was the astringency of a real spirit. Also the spicing was wrong, somewhere...

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        2 years ago
  • Good article Hayley....interesting stuff!

      1 year ago
  • I’ll just stick to meat and potatoes hahahah

      1 year ago
  • I want to be snarky about a few of these but I can see a valid use-case for almost all of them; especially as a vehicle to promote quick, healthy, and satisfying food choices. A lot of these could advance convenience-meal options beyond the realm of junk food, which is an admirable goal. I'm excited to see how regenerative-ag, meat/plant blends, posh gnosh, and West African food will change the landscape of menus and pantries.

    That said, I'll reserve some skepticism for 'vegan spreads' since that seems the most fad-prone (see: avocado toast, circa 2016). BUT, even that could exceed expectations if the trend skews towards something hip like Scandinavian smörgåsbord and smørrebrød.

    Likewise, I feel like 'box fresh snacks' is a concept that needs a lot of clever marketing and polished manufacturing to separate it from the Starbucks cold-case or grocery store impulse-aisle. Personally, I'd like to see a greater variety of shelf-stable items with subtle innovations to make those products more appealing and appetizing rather than grab-n-go calories of last-resort.

      2 years ago
    • I honestly agree with your on the box fresh thing. The convenience snacks I mentioned are known as convenience snacks for a reason and you can love fresh food all day long but it’ll never be as Convenient.

      I do like the idea of vegan spreads, i...

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        2 years ago
  • I spent years being unable to eat out or enjoy convenience foods as I'm severely wheat intolerant and allergic to dairy. Things are getting better all the time, the increasing popularity of plant-based foods has already meant I can enjoy treats like "ice-cream". Many current meat alternatives contain wheat, so vegan savoury foods have been very limited for me but between increasing awareness of gluten intolerance and so many new plant-based options, I may one day get to eat something at the local pub which isn't chickpea and sweet potato curry!

      2 years ago
    • Whilst that sounds delicious I’m sure it would get old after a while. It’s great that things are moving on!

        2 years ago