2020 Top Food Trends
Global Food Forums’ Annual
Lists of Top Food, Beverage & Supplement Trends
Predictions for the year 2020 and beyond. Please check back as more lists are added.
1. Taste– … sensory needs, especially flavor, must be the first to be fulfilled. The search for satisfaction around the table creates a feeling of conviviality, intimacy and socialization, (and is thus a cultural value beyond mere sustenance, all of which can be achieved) by adopting a different concept of flavor.
2. Health– … the concept of diet is more broadly linked to the improvement in people’s overall well-being, (which)… can be traced back to “functional” foods that offer (health benefits beyond their traditional nutritional effects). Across the Western World, consumers will also continue to reject products that contain too many additives, and instead embrace local natural ingredients.
3.Longevity– Healthy ageing products aren’t just targeted at consumers past their 60s: people of all generations are becoming more aware of how what they consume affects their lifespan, overall health and appearance. Producers are tapping into the anti-ageing power of antioxidants in various products, from berries to olive oil and honey.
4. Tradition– Food provides comfort, hence “comfort food”: authentic, simple, fulfilling, linked to traditions, childhood and the family table…and is intrinsically local in nature, as it is linked to specific cultural backgrounds and to diverse culinary habits and origins.
5. Sustainability– Consumers (are) looking for sustainability in the food industry as a whole. This is what we refer to as a “responsible” consumer; (who) takes food products’ environmental impacts into account. Additionally, a key concern is food waste, and with more than 50 million tons of fresh fruit and vegetables discarded each year across Europe alone.
6. Transparency– Consumers want to know and understand what ingredients are going into their food… Consumers are looking for brands that keep no secrets about their product, as well as reflect their own personal values.Clean labels are more important than ever, particularly to a growing segment of consumers with special dietary needs.
7. Convenience and Speed– Eat-on-the-go food is… expected to surge in coming years. Convenience foods and ready-to-eat (foods) are a manifestation of the technological innovations that have occurred in the food industry.
8. Plant-Based Diet– Statistics state that almost one of five consumers in the West consider themselves “plant-forward”, meaning they follow a diet not necessarily vegan or vegetarian, yet… about 70% prefer their meals contain plant-based, 100% clean ingredients.
9. From Local to Global– Growing mobility, improved logistics and new technologies have (made the) globalization of tastes in a rapidly changing culinary landscape possible. (Also), there is a trend towards local and regional eating, seen more as a relationship between food and territory.
are chefs, culinary experts, food personalities met at the National Geographic Traveler Food Festival in London to discuss top 2020 food trends. Information was also gathered from other food and tourism experts who attended the show.
1. Be Healthy – A heavy focus on health & wellbeing is expected to continue in 2020. One percent (600K) of the U.K.’s population are vegans. Chefs of the Cordon Bleu recently established a diploma in plant-based culinary skills.
2. Absence of Alcohol – Less alcohol consumption is a natural progression for those seeking a more healthful lifestyle.
3. Increase in Consumption of Fermented Foods
4. Sustainability (and Eating Offal)
5. Rise and Fall of French Cuisine – Because French cuisine has been so well defined and is a standard of classical, high-end cuisine, it has been difficult for French cuisine to change with the times.
6. The Next Big Meat – While people have been eating goat for thousands of years, you will start to see a rise on its place on menus. Pairing with the healthy trend, goat is lean and very low in fat.
7. Ditching Fine Dining – The move away from fine dining… is attributed to the advent of take away services like Deliveroo. Panel members felt that the millennial generation’s casual approach to urgent requests has created a cultural shift toward a food trend of delivery items being the norm for dinner.
8. Filipino Cuisine – One panel member indicated that one of the last treasures Anthony Bourdain left behind was … that Filipino food is the ‘food of the world’. This was based on his experience with sisig, a dish from the Philippines. Bourdain told CNN Philippines that the sizzling, crispy pork dish is “perfectly positioned to win the hearts and minds of the world as a whole.
1. Regenerative Agriculture – While the term “regenerative agriculture” can have many definitions, in general it describes farming and grazing practices that restore degraded soil, improve biodiversity and increase carbon capture to create long-lasting environmental benefits, such as positively impacting climate change.
2. Flour Power – Consumers on the baking bandwagon are seeking out ingredients used in traditional dishes, like teff flour used for Ethiopian injera. 2020 will bring more interesting fruit and vegetable flours (like banana!) into home pantries, with products like cauliflower flour in bulk and baking aisles, rather than already baked into crusts and snack products.
3. Foods from West Africa – From indigenous superfoods to rich, earthy dishes, traditional West African flavors are popping up everywhere in food and in beverage. The trio of tomatoes, onions and chili peppers form a base for many West African dishes, and peanuts, ginger and lemongrass are all common additions.
4. Out-of-the-Box, Into-the-Fridge Snacking – The refrigerated section is filling up with the kind of wholesome, fresh snacks typically prepared and portioned in advance at home: hard-boiled eggs with savory toppings, pickled vegetables, drinkable soups and mini dips and dippers of all kinds, all perfectly portioned and in convenient single-serve packaging.
5. Plant-Based, Beyond Soy – Some of the products touting “no soy” in the next year will be replacing it instead with innovative blends (like grains and mung beans) to mimic the creamy textures of yogurts and other dairy products. In the supplement aisle, brands are swapping soy for mung bean, hempseed, pumpkin, avocado, watermelon seed and golden chlorella, maintaining the smooth textures in vegan protein powders and bringing a spectrum of plant-based amino acids to the table.
6. Everything Butters and Spreads – Has (insert nut, seed, snack) been made into a butter yet? It’s likely to happen in 2020. Think seed butters beyond tahini – like watermelon seed butter – and seasonal products like pumpkin butter year-round. Nut butters beyond cashew, almond, and peanut (hello, macadamia) and even chickpea butters (no, it’s not a new name for hummus).
7. Rethinking the Kids’ Menu – By 2026, 80% of millennials will have children, and many parents are introducing their kids to more adventurous foods — with great results. Think non-breaded salmon fish sticks. Foods that are fermented, spiced or rich in umami flavors. Colorful pastas in fun shapes made from alternative flours.
8. Not-So-Simple Sugars – Syrupy reductions from fruit sources like monk fruit, pomegranates, coconut and dates are one way to add concentrated, unique flavors into recipes for desserts, meat glazes and marinades. Sweet syrups made from starches like sorghum and sweet potato can be compared to the deep flavors of molasses or honey, and can be used for baking and sweetening beverages.
9. Meat-Plant Blends – Chefs across the country have been on board with the trend for years through James Beard Foundation’s The Blended Burger Project, a movement that strives to make the iconic burger “better for customers and for the planet” by blending in at least 25% fresh mushrooms. For the health-conscious at-home chef, adding plant-based ingredients to meatballs and burgers has an added bonus – it’s budget-friendly!
10. Zero-Proof Drinks – With so many consumers seeking out alternatives to alcohol, unique non-alcoholic options are popping up everywhere, from menus at the world’s most acclaimed bars to specialty stores. Many of these beverages seek to re-create classic cocktail flavors using distilling methods typically reserved for alcohol, creating an alternative to liquor meant to be used with a mixer rather than a drink on its own.
NOTE: Shoppers can seek out trending products by visiting wholefoodsmarket.com/products.
1. Storytelling: Winning with Words – Manufacturers are increasingly focusing on ingredient provenance and brand storytelling platforms in order to emphasize the taste and quality of their products, as well as their uniqueness and sustainability efforts.
2. The Plant-Based Revolution – Plant-based innovation in food and beverages continues to flourish as a result of consumer interest in health, sustainability and ethics, which ties into the broader consumer lifestyle trend towards cleaner living.
3. The Sustain Domain – Market Insights research has indicated that 85 percent of, on average, US and UK consumers expect companies to invest in sustainability in 2019, up from 64 percent in 2018. In the area of food waste, upcycling is the new recycling, as companies strive to follow a zero-waste approach by creating value from by-products.
4. The Right Bite – Stress and anxiety are key concerns in modern life as consumers manage careers, families and social lives while striving to maintain healthy lifestyles, both physically and mentally. This, in turn, raises the demand for nutritious foods that are easy to prepare, convenient and portable. Indulgent treats play a role in relaxation and enjoyment.
5. Tapping into Texture – According to Innova Market Insights research, 45 percent of US and UK consumers are influenced by texture when buying food and drinks, while 68 percent share the opinion that textures contribute to a more interesting food and beverage experience.
6. Macronutrient Makeover
7. Hello Hybrids
8. A Star is Born
9. Eat Pretty
10. Brand Unlimited
1. Cool Colors Heat Up – Food shades cool off, bringing greens such as new rabes and cresses and new lettuces like celtuce, kale hybrids and komatsuna. Spirulina and butterfly pea will bring the blues, while trendy mauve will come from purple variations of common vegetables and herbs such as corn, broccoli, kale, snap peas, basil and potatoes, as well as orach, ume and juneberries.
2. The Year of the Fad – Progressively, we’ll see operators jumping on fads instead of waiting for trends, offering menu fare with wow-factor. Expect odd fare like edible insects and CBD to build. Novelty ingredients that elicit surprising sensory reactions, such as sweet limes, habanada (looks like a habanero, but lacks heat) and mouth-tingling Sichuan bud will also pop-up on menus.
3. New Forces of Nature – New natural plant resources will keep menus exciting. Overlooked parts of familiar plants, such as beet greens, sweet potato leaves and avocado blossom, aids in waste reduction. Seaweed and sea beans will be used in interesting applications. Nuts and seeds are just the first step in milk-alternatives; up next, expect more oat, fruit and vegetable milks.
4. Eco-Everything – Sustainability is more than a menu initiative, it’s part of the foodservice industry’s new circular economy, evolving from a linear approach of create-use-recycle to create-use-reuse-sustain. Look for the industry to incorporate a wider range of resource-efficient, circular practices in the name of sustainability—from hydroponic vegetable production to new ways of processing and distributing food leftovers.
5. Locking into Lifestages – It’s becoming more crucial for the industry to recognize various lifestages. The health, service, quality and technology needs of an older boomer or millennial consumer may vary from those of their younger counterparts, just as social responsibility, menu innovation and pricing thresholds may carry greater importance among younger Gen Z versus older Gen Z consumers.
6. Offsetting Off-Premise – Even as more foodservice locations launch, at-home delivery occasions are booming. This has left the industry in a quandary—do operators go all in on off-premise, double down on dine-in sales or invest in a hybrid strategy? We’ll see more creative means to drive in-store traffic, from over-the-top LTOs and dine-in-only BOGO meals to loyalty/subscription-based rewards.
7. The Pre-Recession Jitters – As fears the country is headed into a recession in 2020 or 2021, expect a back-to-basics mentality, while consumers trade down to lower-priced occasions across foodservice segments. Macro impacts, such as the China-trade war, a E.U.’s economic growth slowdown and lower corporate profits merely fan these fears. Even though the unemployment rate fell to a 50-year low of 3.5% in 2019—caution begins creeping into consumers’ spending behavior.
1. The Notorious C.B.D. – The CBD food trend exploded in the last 12 months. Coffee shops and cafes now offer a wide array of products infused with CBD oil, and restaurants are also picking up the trend. CBD-infused drinks are quickly gaining momentum in the popular beverage market, including sparkling waters, coffees, teas, energy drinks, beer, wine and mixed alcoholic beverages.
2. The Incredible Sprouting Plant Ecosystem – Consumers conscientious about the plant-based ecosystem are turning to plant-based foods—a rapidly growing trend. Meat and dairy-alternatives are being created using protein sources like soy, peas, cashews and almonds. Benchmark predicts the creation of dedicated plant-based menus in 2020, as restaurants push veg-forward eating.
3. Novel Snacks – New products on the snack food market are providing healthier versions than chips with ingredients such as chickpeas, beets, quinoa and kale. They may not be the most appealing aesthetically but will satisfy snack cravings effectively. Expect this crunchy trend to build in 2020.
4. Jackfruit: Possible & Beyond – The newest go-to meat substitute is jackfruit. Already being used as an alternative for barbecue pulled pork, jackfruit is a southeast Asian fruit that is a great source of iron, calcium, and B vitamins. The texture of jackfruit mimics the texture of pulled pork and will soon become a force in the food industry as a meat alternative.
5. Fruit Forward – Unique fruit flavors, such as prickly pear, which yields an intensely flavorful ruby colored juice and dragon fruit, with its sweet and sour flavor, are peaking consumer interest. Other unique fruit flavor varieties of interest include bergamot orange, yuzu, calamansi, citron, makrut lime, pomelo, Meyer lemon, blood orange and ugli fruit (a Jamaican form of the tangelo).
6. Dairy Remix – Step aside almond and soy, oat milk has emerged as the golden child of all the alternative milks. It’s terrific in coffees, and baristas can barely keep it in stock. So, it makes sense that companies are piggybacking off its success and launching other oat milk products as alternatives to dairy.
7. Sparkling Results – Sparkling water demand is exploding, driven partly by consumers concerned about sugar but still looking to satisfy their carbonation craving. Operators looking to harness these trends should not only offer beverages that feature unique flavors or low/no-alcohol but also make sure to promote these types of drinks on social media.
8. Bright & Bold – Color generates emotional appeal with food, ranking nearly as high as taste. Ingredients such as blue algae, beet, matcha, butterfly pea flower tea—popular in Southeast Asia, provide bright, bold hues. Butterfly pea flower tea is high in antioxidants and naturally changes color from blue to purple when acidity is added to it.
9. More Traceability – Climate change, disappearing rainforests and plastic in the oceans dominates news cycles and social feeds, resulting in consumer demand for sustainability in all forms of packaging Whether it’s swapping out Styrofoam and plastic for paper or bamboo, or buying ingredients from sustainable sources, sustainability will sweep the entire industry in 2020.
10. Ugly Produce – Food is a terrible thing to waste, and yet 40% of all the food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten because it is imperfect. Food waste is a massive problem that has infiltrated every level of our food system. Now, consumers are finally accepting misshapen, bruised and just down-right ugly produce as totally edible.
1. Uncultivated Botanicals – Edible flowers and botanicals like wild sorrel, juniper, maple blossoms and balsam add a delicate and unique sweetness to a dish and are predicted to boom in 2020.
2. Tartness – Sour foods are growing in popularity because of exactly what they are not: sweet. Thanks to globalization, more palates are beginning to appreciate flavors from around the world, like vinegar, tamarind, and other ingredients that provide a distinctly tasteful tartness.
3. Desseralité – Desseralité, or desserts in their most natural form, prove that you can make delicious and healthy desserts without the excessive use of dough, cream, sugar and mousses to complicate a dish.
4. Zero-Waste Cooking – Foodprints (the environmental impact of food) are swaying consumer purchases. Globally, it is reported that 570,000 tons of fresh, usable meat and poultry products get thrown away every year. What most consumers do not realize is that these discarded products can be used in new, sustainable and creative ways.
5. Vietnamese Cuisine – Inspired by street food and fusions, young westerners are on the hunt for rising Vietnamese cuisine stars like bún bò huế – a soup made with rice vermicelli and beef – and egg coffee – a drink traditionally prepared using egg yolks and condensed milk that give it a creamy flavor. Dishes such as banh mi sandwiches and pho are already prolific.
6. Mood Food – ‘Gastrophysics,’ is a new way of dining founded on the idea that food can impact the way we feel, per Charles Spence, top food psychologist and professor. Set menus that offer a catered selection of foods that shift the mood in various directions will start appearing worldwide.
7. Wood-Fire Cooking – 2020 is predicted to be the year that chefs in restaurants around the globe rediscover that grilling over a wood fire makes food taste so much better.
8. Edible Packaging – Food and beverage packaging makes up much of the plastic ending up in our oceans and landfills. Brands that will win in this space are the ones who adapt to shifting consumer lifestyles and preferences.
9. Portable Snacks – Snacks are dramatically reshaping eating as we once knew it. Consumers are moving away from three square meals a day, toward satisfying their hunger on-the-run. Because of this, they are turning to functional snacks that fill in the gaps and give their bodies what they are lacking.
10. Tribal Roots – Michelin star restaurants around the globe are seeking traditional indigenous ingredients from some of the oldest civilizations. Strong influences of South American cooking – superfoods like cucuaco, cassava, bijao leaves, cocona, acaï, aguaje, and maracuya are examples of ingredients that are gradually becoming mainstream.