Foodie trends for 2020
What are the top health food trends for 2020? Global health food chain Whole Foods Market highlights on-the-rise flavours, products and culinary influences
Regenerative agriculture, West African foods and new varieties of flour are among the food influences and movements expected to take off in the next year, according to Whole Foods Market. Here are its most anticipated and innovative food trends for this year.
Farmers, producers, academics, government agencies, retailers and more are taking a closer look at how to use land and animal management practices to improve soil health and sequester carbon. 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. You can help by seeking out brands that support regenerative practices.
As seasoned and amateur bakers alike look to scratch a creative itch in the kitchen, an array of interesting flours are entering the market making baking more inclusive and adventurous. 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. Consumer packaged goods are getting in on the trend by replacing traditional alternative flours with tigernut flour in chips and snack foods, and tasty pastries made with seed flour blends. As consumers look for more ways to boost their bake, ‘super’ flours delivering protein and fibre join the trend. Let the adventures in baking begin!
Foods from West Africa
From indigenous superfoods to rich, earthy dishes, traditional West African flavours are popping up everywhere in food and in beverages. 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. The 16 nations within West Africa share similar foods, but each have their own specialties based on subtle influences from the Middle East and Western Europe. Brands are looking to West Africa for its superfoods too like moringa and tamarind, and lesser known cereal grains sorghum, fonio, teff and millet.
Out-of-the-box, into-the-fridge snacking
Life isn’t slowing down, but snack options are more than keeping up. The keyword is ‘fresh’ in this new generation of grabbing and going — gone are the days when the only options were granola bars and mini pretzel bags. The refrigerated section is filling up with the kind of wholesome, fresh snacks typically prepared and portioned in advance at home: pickled vegetables, drinkable soups and mini dips and dippers of all kinds, all perfectly portioned and in convenient single-serve packaging. Even nutrition bars have made their way from the shelves to the chiller, thanks to the addition of fresh fruits and vegetables. These snacking innovations mean ingredients lists are shrinking and there’s a lot less guesswork in picking up a quick snack you can feel better about.
Plant-based, beyond soy
Tofu scrambles may always have a place at the vegan breakfast table, but in 2020 the trendiest brands are slowing down on soy, which has traditionally dominated the plant-based protein space.
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 yoghurts 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. As the plant-based movement gains traction with flexitarian eaters, brands are looking to avoid as many of the top allergens as possible, so look for plant-based prepared foods and traditionally soy-based condiments going soy-less!
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). Look for creamy vegan spreads perfect for toast, crackers, bagels, and celery sticks that get their full flavours from trending superfoods like pili. It helps the trend that spreads and butters are touting paleo-and keto-friendly attributes, but transparency is also a key player in this trend. Many brands are looking to either eliminate the use of palm oil or promote a Responsibly Sourced Palm Oil certification and use nuts that are grown in ways with less likelihood for environmental impact.
Rethinking the kids’ menu
Are the days of picky eaters numbered? Judging from the number of kids’ cooking and baking competitions on TV, kids are kitchen-savvier than ever. By 2026, 80% of millennials will have children, and many parents are introducing their kids to more adventurous foods — with great results. Food brands are taking notice for the next generation — possibly our first true ‘foodies’ — expanding the menu beyond nostalgic foods with better-for-you ingredients. They’re bridging the gap from old-school basic kids’ menus and taking more sophisticated younger palates into consideration. We’re talking foods that are fermented, spiced or rich in umami flavours or colourful pastas in fun shapes made from alternative flours. Maybe it’s time adults start taking some cues from the kids’ menu.
Sure, there’s sugar. But for those seeking sweetness outside of the usual suspects like sugar, stevia, honey and maple syrup, there’s lots more to choose from for your cooking, baking and tea — or coffee-stirring needs. Syrupy reductions from fruit sources like monk fruit, pomegranates, coconut and dates are one way to add concentrated, unique flavours into recipes for desserts, meat glazes and marinades. Sweet syrups made from starches like sorghum and sweet potato can be compared to the deep flavours of molasses or honey, and can be used for baking and sweetening beverages. Swerve, a cup-for-cup zero-calorie nonglycemic replacement for sugar, combines erythritol with ingredients from fruit and starchy root vegetables to produce a sweetener that’s available in granular, confectioners’ and brown versions.
With so many consumers seeking out alternatives to alcohol, unique nonalcoholic 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 flavours 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. Think alt-gin for gin and tonics and botanical-infused faux spirits for a faux martini. Add to that options enjoyed straight from the bottle or can, like hops-infused sparkling waters and zero-proof apertifs, and you can be sure guests avoiding the bar cart will never get bored.
Got any new health food tips for 2020? We’d love to know! Share with us on social media or write to: firstname.lastname@example.org