Food trends for 2020

My life revolves around food, culture and family. Here are some insights for 2020 from the crystal ball of food, some of them on a wishful note to ensure a brighter future, others predestined by our pasts:

Conscious consumption. We’ll continue to ask where our food comes from, whether it’s sustainable, how good it is for us and how much we’re eating. ‘Local’ and ‘seasonal’ are concepts we’re now familiar with. Our concerns about food waste and single use items (such as plastics, soft drink bottles and straws) continue in the hope of leaving a better planet than we came into.

Lower alcohol consumption. When we saw major alcohol brands expanding into non-alcoholic ranges of drinks, it was a clear indication of movement in the market. Re-creating classic cocktail flavours using distilling methods typically reserved for alcohol, there’s a whole new range of drinks that’s packaged similarly to alcoholic drinks. We’re more aware of health issues, and many of those who like a drink prefer organic, preservative-free beer and wine. There are plenty of mocktails on offer for the designated driver.

More inventive plant-based cuisine. While most of us are more likely to become flexitarian than vegan, the trend to eat more plant-based food isn’t going away any time soon. Instead, there will be moves to expand plant protein options beyond soy and gluten to seed and legume-based proteins and beyond.

No sugar, sugar! We all love a sweet treat, but some of us are realising that we can consume less sugar by grabbing a single piece of dark chocolate to quell the beast. On the drink front, kombucha is now mainstream, loved for its fermented almost sugarless personality. But will our sweet obsessions ever disappear? Absolutely not.

Home delivery vs restaurant dining. Convenience dining show no signs of dwindling, with major supermarkets making changes towards whole meal stations and delivery services going gangbusters. Ghost kitchens we’ve never heard of are popping up to fulfil supply and many restaurants, caught in a ‘do or die’ situation express love/hate relationships with delivery services. The restaurant business is more competitive than ever before, with increased pressure to provide fuller experiential dining to woo consumers away from their couches.

Kids’ menu revamp. While I’d admit that this trend is more wish list than reality, it’s great to see an overhaul to some kids’ menus. Millennials realise that the future of their children’s health is not best served with chips and nuggets. We’re seeing the best establishments offering kids snack plates of fruit, vegetables and dips, one dish meals such as sushi or the perennial favourite Spaghetti Bolognese.

Fed by the machine. With many other industries (supermarkets, large chain stores and cinemas) forcing us to face machines rather than people, how soon will it be before self-service machine dispensers serve us food? A long time, we hope. Join the fight against the machine by demanding face to face experiences to keep the youth of the future in jobs.