With just two months to go until the new decade and Christmas decor already lining the shelves, US supermarket giant Whole Foods have just released the biggest trends that they anticipate will have an impact on the food and beverage industry in 2020. They’ve done a pretty good job in the past at predicting the next big thing in food worldwide, so we can be pretty sure that many of these trends will be on our restaurant menus and shelves soon.
Everything butters and spreads
Remember when nut butters like almond and macadamia seemed innovative? Well, butter and spreads are going to get more exciting next year with products like chickpea butter, pumpkin butter and even watermelon seed butter. In addition, these butters are expected to be clean label with palm-oil free or sustainably sourced palm oil appearing on the packaging.
Non-alcoholic happy hour
The sober curious movement already has quite a following here in South Africa, with big liquors brands as well as start-ups jumping on the bandwagon. More sophisticated specialty non-alcoholic alternatives will be emerging to keep up with the alcohol-free demand.
New alternative flours
Largely due to the ever-popular gluten-free, paleo and low-carb movements, alternative flours instead of traditional wheat flour have been rising in popularity. Products made from flours like seed, lentil, chickpea and even cauliflower flour will become more popular.
So long, soy
Soy is no longer the go-to plant based protein, partly because many people are allergic to it. Other vegan friendly protein sources like hemp seed, mung beans and algae products will become popular as the plant-based eating movement continues to gain momentum.
New sugar substitutes
Syrups and nectars made from coconut, monk fruit extract, dates, and sweet potatoes will be used more for sweetening coffee and baking, instead of traditional syrups and honey.
These will appeal to the flexitarians looking to reduce their meat intake for environmental reasons, but aren’t ready to forgo their carnivorous ways immediately. Products like burgers made from a mix of meat and plant-based ingredients, like chickpeas, pea protein and quinoa, will start to appear.
There’s a demand for fresh snacks, which don’t have preservatives and long ingredient lists. This means that single-serving snacks needing to be kept refridgerated, like hard boiled eggs, nutrition bars, and drinkable soups.
West African cuisine
Dishes made with traditional West African flavours, tomatoes, chilli, lemongrass, peanuts, will be everywhere. Regional superfoods like moringa and tamarind will also become more popular, along with alternative grains traditionally used in West Africa like millet and sorghum.
Rethinking kids menus
Kids in the future won’t be eating fish fingers and chips while their parents eat gourmet – they’re being raised as discerning foodies who eat more adventurously. Traditional kids menu items like chicken nuggets and pastas will be given a makeover, by being made with organic or alternative ingredients, and rich in flavour.
Both farmers and retailers are improving their farming and grazing practises to restore degraded soil, improve biodiversity and minimize their carbon footprint.