Get ready to say “yes, way” to zero-proof aperitifs, see West African cuisine rise to prominence and say goodbye to tired and staid kids’ menus. Whole Foods Market just released its list of 2020 food trends to watch for and topping the list of predictions is a continued focus on eco-conscious eats.
More than 50 Whole Foods Market staff members including local foragers, regional and global buyers and culinary experts put together the list of 10 food trends based on consumer preferences data, their own product sourcing experiences and what’s been popular at food and wellness industry exhibitions. Here’s a look at the food that will be popping up on plates in the year to come.
Regenerative Agriculture was the buzzword of 2019, and it’s likely you’ll continue to hear talk about this farming concept as farmers, scientists and consumers continue to pay attention to land use and how farming systems such as regenerative agriculture could improve soil health and help fight climate change. Expect to see more brands using regenerative practices the way White Oak Pastures and Cowgirl Creamery have for years.
West African Cuisine
Eats from the West African region, made up of 16 nations, might just be the new “it” cuisine. You’ll likely see ancient grains like fonio, teff and millet as well as superfoods like moringa and tamarind in more dishes and on grocery shelves.
Rethinking the Kids’ Menu
Millennial parents are raising a generation of little foodies. Whole Foods Market staff members report they frequently see kids reaching for California Rolls alongside their parents at the sushi bar and they’re not the only ones taking note of the young adventurous eats. Restaurants and food brands are upgrading old-school kids’ menus to include things like non-breaded salmon fish sticks, organic chicken nuggets, pastas made from alternative flours and more.
The Non-Alcoholic Happy Hour Goes Mainstream
Whether you call them mocktails, zero-proof or spirit-free drinks, non-alcoholic beverages are becoming a staple at happy hours around the country. Expect to see even more zero-proof drinks as hops-infused sparkling waters and alternatives to liquors meant to be used with a mixer such as botanical-infused faux gin continue to pop up everywhere from bar menus to specialty stores.
Everything Butters and Spreads
From chickpea butter to macadamia butter to watermelon seed butter, Whole Foods Market staff is seeing more creamy vegan spreads made from nuts and seeds as brands look to create plant-based butters and also eliminate the use of palm oil, the harvesting of which, is a leading cause of deforestation and a threat to the existence of orangutans, Borneo elephants and Sumatran tigers, in their products.
You’ve tried almond flour and coconut flour and even flour made from spent grain but what about banana flour? Alternative flours made from fruits and vegetables will continue to show up in the baking aisle but also look for them in the packaged food aisles as companies market tortilla chips, doughnuts and other goods made from alternative flours.
Find Your Snacks in The Refrigerable Aisle
Snacks will move out of your pantry and into your fridge thanks to the addition of fresh fruits and vegetables to nutrition bars, even hard-boiled eggs with savory toppings, pickled vegetables, and more.
Move Over Soy
Soy has long been a plant-based protein but as more consumers adopt flexitarian diets, brands are experimenting with swapping soy (a top allergen) for mung bean, hempseed, avocado and other plant-based alternatives.
And as consumers continue to seek out plant-based alternatives, meat companies are seeing if consumers will opt for burgers made of meat but less of it. The Blended Burger Project, a movement started by the James Beard Foundation takes classic burgers and blends them with at least 25 percent of a plant-based foods such as fresh mushrooms. Whole Foods Market staff believes they’ll be selling more burgers composed of a mix of beef and plant-based ingredients from brands like Applegate and Lika, in the year to come.
Instead of reaching for honey to sweeten your baking project why not try a sweet syrupy reduction from a starch or fruit source? Syrups from monk fruit, pomegranate, coconut, sweet potato, sorghum, and dates will pop up as ways to add a touch of sweetness to dessert recipes and even meat glazes and marinades.
–Bridget Shirvell | forbes.com