As we barrel into what the world has deemed to be the roaring 20s (we couldn’t come up with something more original?), various sectors within the food and drink industry are beginning to realise just how much change is happening amongst consumers.
Food trends, new ingredients, and changing customer tastes are reshaping the way that people will interact with restaurants, bars, and even companies themselves in the coming year. And, that’s pretty important, whether you’re on the consumer or the company side of things.
Interested in learning about what kinds of food trends are going to be popular in 2020? We took a look at industry reports and spoke with a few professionals from within the food, drink, and restaurant industry to see what’s going to change and what you can expect from food trends in 2020.
Food Trends In 2020
1. Glitter Wine
It seems that the alcohol industry just can’t keep up with the rising, changing trends of millennials. Due to the popularity of Instagrammable drinks, supermarkets and bars are seeing an increase in the interest of glitter wine or even glitter-filled fizzers. The latter is something you can drop into your drink to make it fizz up like a bath bomb. Glitter wine is, well, extremely attractive and swirly glitter-filled wine.
2. More Milk Alternatives
Sure, you walk into any Starbucks or major coffee shop in North America or Europe nowadays and you’ll likely find that they offer, at the very minimum, almond and soy milk. However, one of the biggest food trends in 2020 to follow is the rise in even more milk alternatives. In addition to soy and almond milk, you can expect to see more coconut, rice, hemp, and oat milk.
3. Menus with More Diet Alternatives
According to one study, 31% of chefs surveyed said that it’s no longer enough to simply offer gluten-free and vegetarian options on a menu. Due to the onslaught of fad diets, you’ll now see restaurants having to cater to more varied diets. This includes gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan, and keto options.
4. Kombucha Becomes a Staple
Kombucha and other fermented teas became popular a few years back. And, while most industry experts thought it might have been a fad, expect it to become a staple in 2020. However, Yelp did a study that also noted that “hard,” boozy kombucha might be on the rise as well. Reviews on Yelp mentioning “hard kombucha” were up 377% in the past 12 months.
5. Cross-Cultural Cuisine
Consumers seem to have tried everything “normal” this is out there to try. This means that, in order to appease boredom with traditional cuisine, more restaurants are beginning to offer cross-cultural fusions. In 2020, expect to see lots of unique fusion cuisine. This includes everything from Mexican and Southeast Asian fusion all the way to French-Scandanavian and even Chinese-Peruvian.
6. Hyper-Regional Cuisine
Along with fusion cuisine, you can also expect restaurants and chefs to try and spice up consumer boredom by offering hyper-regional cuisine. Food & Wine spoke with chef Josh Habiger out of Nashville who said that “It’s a great way to learn about the food of other cultures. Regional food will be broken into micro-regions. Mexican restaurants will be Veracruz, Oaxaca, Yucatan.”
7. Organic Wine
Orange wine has been on the rise in certain parts of Europe over the past year or so. In 2020, expect to see more orange, organic, and biodynamic wines available to consumers. Consumers can expect to enjoy wine grown without pesticides and chemicals, similar to the shift towards organic food years ago.
8. Coffee-Based Cocktails
The Culinary & Cocktails Trend Forecast revealed that lower-alcohol spritzes will become a big food trend to follow in 2020. However, this extends to include coffee-based cocktails as well. Move over espresso martini. Make way for other espresso-based drinks, both alcoholic and not, such as the Espresso Tonic or nitro cold brew drinks that are spiced up with a little something special.
9. Dessert Hummus
This trend seems to have started way back when cream cheese got a sweet makeover. Before there was dessert hummus there was cinnamon sugar cream cheese spread. It seems that now that that fad has passed, people are moving on to dessert hummus. Flavours include snickerdoodle, brownie batter, and even peanut butter cookie dough. Honestly, it’s as delicious as it sounds.
10. Butters & Spreads Galore
With the increase in interest of almond butter and the continued love of spreads such as Nutella, expect to see even more kinds of butter and spreads in 2020. Honestly, this is one of the 2020 food trends we’re pretty excited about. More flavours of cashew butter, watermelon seed butter, and macadamia nut butter never hurt anybody.
11. Sophistication of Kids’ Menus
Forget about chicken nuggets and mini pizzas. In 2020, kids will see a menu makeover complete with more choice and range. It’s no secret that consumers around the world are more exposed to multi-cultural cuisine and just different cultures in general. This means that parents are more interested in exposing their kids to different kinds of food from a much younger age.
12. Meat Blends
The plant-based craze is here to stay. Whole Foods notes, however, that more and more brands will take advantage of its popularity in order to create more meat blends. They mentioned the Blended Burger Project, which aims to blend their meat with least 25% fresh mushrooms. This is both healthier and cheaper, for both producers and consumers.
13. Experience Dining
We’ve ranked hundreds of the world’s most Instagrammable cafes and hottest new restaurants. And, if there’s one thing we’re sure about it’s that one of the hottest food trends in 2020 will be experience dining. Form projection mapping onto tables to dining in the dark and even themed dining, expect to indulge in an extravagant affair that’s full of smoke, mirrors, and thematic treats.
14. Sustainability Across the Board
In 2019 it became an expectation rather than an aspiration that chefs engage in sustainable practices. From restaurants offering paper straws and the ban on single-use plastics to more sustainable farming, sourcing, and preparation, this is one food trend that’s really going to heat up in 2020.
15. Haute Cuisine
Fine dining isn’t dead. In fact, you’ll likely see and crave more of it in 2020. Chefs note that the increase in experience dining and hyper-regional cuisine might lead to a renewed interest in haute cuisine and fine dining. This coincides with a pretty booming economy in certain European countries and in the United States as well.
The study done by Whole Foods found that people are actually shifting away from alcohol. Zero-proof alcohol trends are on the rise, resulting in unique non-alcoholic options both at restaurants and supermarkets. Could this lead to “dry” happy hours? It’s unclear. But, you’ll likely see lots more mocktails popping up on bar menus.
CBD’s been on the rise for years, and in 2020 it’s slated to finally fully sneak its way into the food and drink industry. From CBD Coffee to bakery products, snacks, soups, and even alcoholic drinks, experts seem to think that CBD-infused everything is going to be hot in 2020. That’s great news for those looking to lower their stress and anxiety levels.
It looks like acai has finally had its run. Either that or consumers are just hungry for a brand new exotic fruit or vegetable to flip out over. Ube is a purple yam that’s long been a part of Filipino cooking. However, its unique colour and delicious flavour make it great for new dishes to intrigue bored eaters. Expect lots of Ube-based dishes in 2020, such as ice cream and other Instagrammable desserts.
19. Souffle Pancakes
Thick, fluffy pancakes rose to Instagram and YouTube fame years ago. But, according to Yelp, this Japanese culinary trend was only first mentioned in the United States back in September. Expect souffle pancakes to become an even more popular food trend in 2020; reviews for souffle pancakes increased by 156.2% in the last year.
A shift towards healthier cuisine is nothing new; it’s been around for nearly two decades now. And, while superfoods aren’t technically a new food trend for 2020 either, this is one trend that’s truly evolving. Up-and-coming superfoods trends include nutritional yeast, collagen peptides, and seaweed. Also expect to see foods featuring more gut-healthy probiotics.
21. Fancy, Monstrous Desserts
Again, it really seems like most people are honestly just bored with their food and drink. Anybody can log on to Instagram at any hour of the day and browse millions of photos of cool foods. So, when it comes to desserts, chefs in 2020 are going to have to work hard to keep up with changing tastes. Over-the-top desserts will continue to be popular in the next year. Yes, this includes even more monster milkshakes.
22. More Vegan Ice Cream
Dairy giant Danone just invested $60 million in dairy-free products. That comes at the heels of a study that showed that the global market for vegan and vegetarian products was worth $51 billion just a couple of years ago. So, it comes as no surprise that one of the hottest food trends for 2020 is going to be vegan ice cream.
23. Even More Cauliflower
Even though it’s become a bit of a joke with millennials, cauliflower as a substitute for carbs is actually pretty popular nowadays. And, it’s only going to become more popular as we roll into 2020. Bet on seeing more and more menus featuring cauliflower pizza crust along with other unique, intriguing recipes that creative chefs will dream up.
24. Nashville Hot Chicken
The increase in popularity of Nashville hot chicken is something that pretty much every study mentions. Yelp noted that mentions of Nashville Hot Chicken are popping up in reviews from Louisville to Birmingham. Likewise, KFC recently added it to their menu, which is surely going to increase its popularity in 2020.
25. Alternative-Grain Spirits
The Kimpton study revealed that mezcal is actually going to be one of the most popular alcohols in 2020. More than a third of the people they asked chose it as the predicted spirit of choice next year. However, they’re also letting people know that other alternative-grain spirits are going to be hot. Everything from Baiju to Shochu is going to be way more popular, even in non-Asian countries.