While this year we’ve seen a positive shift towards eco-friendly packaging, in 2020 the focus will move towards helping the environment at a grass roots level. Regenerative agriculture is a term used to describe farming practices which improve soil health and minimise their carbon footprint. ‘Farmers, producers, academics, government agencies, retailers and more are taking a closer look at how to use land and animal management practices to improve soil health and sequester carbon,’ say Whole Foods.
In 2020 we’ll be waving goodbye to traditional plain flour as flurry of new and interesting types enter the market. Coconut and buckwheat flour are already big news, but this year it’s predicted we’ll see a rise in fruit and vegetable flours, such as banana and cauliflower. Bakers will also be able to boost their creations with ‘super’ flour blends, delivering everything from protein to fibre.
West African influences
Rich and earthy West African flavours will continue to grow in popularity next year. The trio of tomatoes, onions and chilli peppers forms the base for many West African dishes, with ingredients like peanuts, ginger and lemongrass often featuring. We’ll also be seeing more West African superfoods on shelves, such as moringa and tamarind, as well as cereal grains including sorghum, fonio, teff and millet.
Many of us already use things like honey and maple syrup as an alternative to refined sugar, but it looks like we’ll have more choice next year. Expect to see an influx in syrups from pomegranate, coconut, sweet potato and dates, a way to add unique flavours into everything from desserts to meat glazes.
Keen snacker? You’ll be spending less time in the pantry and more in the fridge in 2020, as the refridegable snack market is poised to take off. Think hard-boiled eggs with savoury toppings, pickled vegetables, drinkable soups, and mini dips and dippers. ‘Even nutrition bars have made their way from the shelves to the chiller, thanks to the addition of fresh fruits and vegetables,’ say Whole Foods. ‘These snacking innovations mean ingredients lists are shrinking and there’s a lot less guesswork in picking up a quick snack you can feel better about.’
Soy no more
According to Whole Foods, many brands are slowing down on soy, instead experimenting with mung bean, hempseed, golden chorella, avocado and other plant-based alternatives.
Everything butters and spreads
We won’t be saying goodbye to the hugely popular nut butter market, but a new wave of butters will be joining the party this year. Spreads made superfood pili are on the cards, and it’s likely pumpkin butter will be available year-round. ‘Many brands are looking to either eliminate the use of palm oil or promote a Responsibly Sourced Palm Oil certification and use nuts that are grown in ways with less likelihood for environmental impact,’ say Whole Foods.
‘Butchers and meat brands won’t be left out of the “plant-based” craze in 2020, but they’re not going vegetarian,’ say Whole Foods. Tapping into the ever-growing flexitarian market, meat companies are experimenting with burgers that aren’t totally meat-free, but use less of it. Leading this trend is The Blended Burger Project, a movement started by the James Beard Foundation which takes classic burgers and blends them with at least 25 per cent fresh mushrooms.
More and more of us are swerving hangovers these days, and drinks brands are taking note. Non-alcoholic beverages are popping up everywhere from shops to world-famous bars – many using what Whole Foods call ‘faux spirits’, a trend which is predicted to surge even more next year.
Rethinking the kids’ menu
By 2026 80 per cent of millennials will have children, and it’s likely many of them will be introducing adventurous foods to the family early on. ‘Food brands are taking notice for the next generation – possibly our first true “foodies” – expanding the menu beyond nostalgic foods with better-for-you ingredients and organic chicken nuggets. They’re bridging the gap from old-school basic kids’ menus and taking more sophisticated younger palates into consideration.’ Goodbye chicken nuggets, hello non-breaded salmon fish sticks!