Here Are the Predicted Top 10 Food Trends for 2020
Kale, quinoa, and coconut, move over: Whole Foods Market has released its predictions for biggest food trends of 2020 — and there are some new players in the game.
If you’re wondering how they arrived at this roundup, which they’ve been doing for the past five years, they consult with approximately 50 local foragers, regional and global buyers, and culinary experts from their team. From there, they determine the biggest up-and-comers in the food world.
So, if you feel like functional mushrooms are so 2018, here are some new trends to get you excited about going to the grocery store again. Or, for the truly modern (wo)man, ordering your shopping list from Amazon.
Plus, we also weighed in on whether these are just fads or actually rad… and healthy. Let’s dive in!
1. Regenerative Agriculture
“Regenerative agriculture” can have a few definitions, but for Whole Foods it means farming and grazing practices that restore degraded soil, improve biodiversity, and increase carbon capture to positively impacting climate change. This trend is cool because its proponents say that it could have the potential to cool the planet if it works.
There are plenty of ways to embrace this trend — just look for brands that follow this practice. Some brands include:
- Annie’s (try their Chicken Noodle Soup!)
- Epic Provisions (try their chicken Sriracha bars!)
- White Leaf Provisions (try their applesauce!)
2. Flour Power
Back in 2016, Whole Foods predicted a boost in gluten-free flours, such as chickpea flour, amaranth flour, and coconut flour . Going into 2020, they’re thinking that bakers are going get even more adventurous with fruit and veggie flours, like banana flour and cauliflower flour (try saying that five times fast).
“Fruit and vegetable flours are naturally gluten-free as long as they’re not mixed with other flours. So they’re a good choice for people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or allergies to wheat,” explains Tiffany Mendell, MS, RDN, CDN, registered dietitian with Lara Metz Nutrition. “They’re also nut-free, so they’re a nice alternative to almond flour for people who can’t consume nuts.”
Some of these flour alternatives also offer up a decent amount of fiber (which has a whole slew of benefits) and other nutrients. For example, this brand of sweet potato flour offers up 6 grams of fiber per ¼ cup, plus 2g protein and 15% of your daily iron recommendation. And a ¼ cup of the tongue-twisting cauliflower flour provides 8g fiber and 4g protein.
3. Foods from West Africa
Looking to the 16 nations in West Africa, global food lovers will be mining inspiration from indigenous healthy foods, such as moringa and tamarind. The focus will also be on tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers — a combination that’s considered the “mirepoix,” or holy trinity of West African cuisine, which also has some Middle Eastern and Western European influences.
Expanding your food horizons is always worth trying, and it doesn’t have to be super complicated! Whole Foods has a Shakshuka simmer sauce to help you create the popular African dish. You can even head to another cult-favorite store and pick up a Shakshuka starter kit from Trader Joe’s.
4. Out-of-the-Box, Into-the-Fridge Snacking
“Fresh” will be the rallying call for snacking in 2020. There are a plethora of grab-and-go snacking options hitting the refrigerated section of supermarkets, such as hard-boiled eggs with savory toppings, pickled vegetables, and drinkable soups, all in convenient single-serve packaging.
And sure, fresh is great, but not all refrigerated snacks are necessarily healthier than conventional dry snacks, Mendell says. Let’s not forget about all the value in unsalted nuts, roasted chickpeas, and roasted pumpkin seeds.
“Plain, air-popped popcorn and whole-grain crackers, like Mary’s Gone Crackers, are also good options,” she says.
5. Plant-Based, Beyond Soy
Tofu and soy have dominated the plant-based protein space for decades, but many brands are launching soy-free plant-based protein alternatives. A few of these options include mung bean, hempseed, pumpkin, avocado, watermelon seed, and golden chlorella. Try out this trend soy-free soy sauce or protein powder.
“Soy-free alternatives are beneficial for people with soy allergies. Plus, soy can be a highly genetically modified crop unless it’s specifically made with organic soy. If avoiding GMOs is important to a person, it could be a good choice to choose soy-free options,” Mendell says.
6. Everything Butters and Spreads
Tahini has been having its moment, but 2020 will bring an explosion of unconventional butters made from seeds and nuts, from watermelon seed butter to macadamia nut butter. You’ll also see more of an emphasis on responsibly sourced oils and nuts.
“Seed and nut butters are a great source of monounsaturated fat (MUFAs), which may help to promote healthy cholesterol levels,” Mendell says. Adding nuts into your diet can also provide other benefits, thanks to their combination of protein, fat, and fiber.
One thing to keep in mind? Choose seed or nut butters without added sugars or oils to keep them as pure and healthy as possible.
7. Rethinking the Kids’ Menu
Millennials have been inspired to eat healthier and question if what they’re eating is good for them — and the planet. And with more than a million millennials becoming moms each year, there’s definitely a market for health-conscious food for kids — foods that are likely more adventurous than your standard PB&J.
School lunches for this new generation of kids are getting more interesting, including items like non-breaded salmon fish sticks, fermented snacks with a rich umami flavor, and pastas made from alternative flours. This is a pretty health-focused food trend, but it’s always a safe bet to check the nutrition label whenever you’re trying a new item.
8. Not-So-Simple Sugars
These days, there are so many ways to add sweetness to your food other than by using white table sugar. One of the biggest trends of the moment is syrupy reductions made from fruit sources, such as monk fruit, pomegranates, coconut, and dates. Sweet substitutes can even come from starches like sorghum and sweet potato. However, alternative sugars are still added sugar, and should be used in moderation.
Another newcomer to the world of calorie-free sweeteners is Swerve, a non-glycemic replacement for sugar, which comes in granular, confectioners’, and brown versions. According to the company, you can use it cup for cup like conventional sugar.
9. Meat-Plant Blends
Perhaps you’ve been toying with the idea of eating less meat, but aren’t quite ready to go full vegetarian or vegan. In this case, ease into it by mixing in plant-based items (like mushrooms, beets, and quinoa) into meat recipes, like burgers and meatballs. Some may call this balance of meat and plants a flexitarian diet — we call it delicious.
And if you’re searching for reviews on those meatless burgers, we did you a favor by taste-testing Beyond Burger and diving into the what the Impossible Burger really is. If you’ve already tried those and are looking for a new meatless patty, check out Applegate’s The Great Organic Blended Burger from Whole Foods.
10. Zero-Proof Drinks
If you’ve heard anything about the sober-curious movement or participated in a Dry January, then you know there’s an upswing in booze-free living at the moment. From alt-gins to faux-martinis, nonalcoholic drinks are gaining traction. Even Heineken has an alcohol-free brew!
“Zero-proof drinks are a great alternative for people who want to feel festive, but don’t want to drink alcohol,” says Mendell. They can give you all the flavor of fun drinks, without the headache in the morning. But she notes that some zero-proof can be contain a lot of sugar, so be sure to check out the nutrition label and make sure your alcohol-free beverage isn’t brimming with added sugars We’re partial to these homemade options.
Plus, there are some health benefits to reducing alcohol intake, including weight loss! Sounds like a promising trend on all fronts.