FOOD & DRINK
24/12/2019 9:31 AM AEDT

The Biggest Food And Drink Trends For 2020

Hint: There's going to be a whole lot of fat in the future.

You probably make a shopping list before you head to the supermarket. Since we’re heading into a new year, we thought it’d be fun to find out what foods and drinks will likely be on your shopping list in 2020.

Instead of peering into a crystal ball, we spoke to two food trend experts: Melissa Abbott, the vice president of culinary insights at The Hartman Group, and Kelly Landrieu, the global coordinator of local brands at Whole Foods Market. Here are some of the items you’re likely to be eating and drinking in 2020.

Zero-Proof Drinks

The “sober curious” movement has helped fuel the rise of tasty, nonalcoholic drinks. But even if you have no plans to give up alcohol, a zero-proof drink is a solid choice if you’re looking for bold flavours next time you crack open a can.

Hoplark’s HopTea “is a cool brand out of the Rocky Mountains that’s in all of our stores,” Landrieu told HuffPost. “It’s brewed like a craft beer, but it’s a tea blend. Their use of hops is the defining characteristic.” The brand produces both non-caffeinated and heavily caffeinated drinks, like The Really Hoppy One with black tea, sparkling water and two types of hops. Athletic Brewing Co.’s nonalcoholic beer is another solid option, especially the Run Wild IPA. “It brings the flavor you want when you don’t want a full-fledged beer,” she said. “I’ve even heard of athletes using it as a recovery drink.” 

Anything With Adaptogens

In an anxious modern age, shoppers are quick to latch on to products with ingredients that may help them feel better. “We’re seeing consumers say, ‘I want to eat food and drink beverages during the day that help support my ability to get a good night’s rest so I can be OK the next day,’” Abbott explained. “Adaptogens help you actually adapt to stress so you’re not stimulating all day with caffeine, candy, sugars, processed crackers and energy bars.”

Adaptogens are simply an umbrella term for plants that might help you achieve that goal. “A lot of ingredients are coming from the ayurvedic or traditional Chinese medicine realm,” she noted. Expect to see more ashwagandha (already widely available as a supplement) and mushrooms like reishi and chaga pop up in both foods and drinks

Fresh Snacks

If your idea of an on-the-go snack is a bag of greasy chips, there are healthier options coming to your supermarket. “Consumers are looking for quick options that bring healthier, functional foods to the table,” Landrieu said. “Brands are giving them options around new snacking patterns with meat, cheese and crackers. We’re finding them in the fresh and refrigerated section.”

Landrieu highlighted Peckish eggs with inventive dipping sauces and Nona Lim single-serve drinkable soups. Abbott added that plant-rich options are also showing up in this category, citing Barrel Creek Provisions’ fermented carrots

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Fat-Filled Foods

Gone are the days when low-fat diets were all the rage. Now, with keto and paleo going mainstream, fat is fine once again. And because “good” fats abound in ingredients like butter and eggs, it lends a delicious taste. “People are actively seeking out [foods] that suggest a more luxe feel, that are more satiating,” Abbott said. “But it also has low or no sugar, so that we burn cleaner fuel. It’s important that the ingredients rely much less on sugars and much more on satiating ingredients like fat and fiber.” That means you should expect products like nut butter with added fat and keto cheese “chips.” Even non-dairy products are getting in on the fat frenzy, with cashew yogurt-maker Forager adding coconut cream to its plant-based yogurt.

Functional Beverages

In the not-so-distant past, cold drinks in the refrigerated section of the supermarket meant coffee, water, soda and sports drinks. But people expect way more than just a bit of caffeine and sugar in their drinks these days.

Abbott said brands like Rebbl, Vital Proteins and Wise Ape Tea are taking ingredients commonly consumed in supplement form and introducing them to the ready-to-drink beverage segment. “It’s not just adaptogens,” Abbott said. “We’ll see [drinks featuring] nootropics with amino acids, which can help cognition, cognitive function, productivity and memory.”

Abbott also pointed out that ingredients like collagen and dandelion root are popping up in drinks, and some food products too. “Drinking that benefits your digestion has ripple effects in that it helps the quality of your skin,” she said. “You only look as healthy as you are on the inside.” 

Alternative Flours

Cauliflower made into pizza crust was just the beginning. Now, other seeds and vegetables can be turned into all manner of baked goods, like bread and muffins. “A lot of trends are pointing towards functionality and better-for-you type ingredients,” Landrieu said. “The alternative flour space is a great example of that.”

For example, the longtime natural food store staple Bob’s Red Mill brand produces hazelnut, almond and coconut flour. Landrieu highlighted the Austin, Texas, brand Superseed Life for its unique product line. “They mill seeds [like poppy, sunflower, flax] into a flour and formulate it in a way where they make doughnuts out of it,” she said.

Alternative flours are not only a great option for people looking to consume fewer grains, but also for those who have dietary restrictions. “The flour space [primarily] came out of necessity for customers who were looking to replace wheat flour, something they can’t eat,” she said. “But it’s becoming more accepted and adopted by consumers across all areas of the spectrum because they’re looking for something more nutrient dense that they can enjoy.” 

Environmentally Conscious Foods And Drinks

Many of the trends for 2020 focus on your health and well-being. But there’s also increasing concern for the world.

“Consumers have expectations around how their food’s grown, where it’s coming from and what it’s doing to better our world,” Landrieu said. Now, brands that are following regenerative agriculture practices will be more specific in labeling. “You’ll see a greater window into the product itself rather than just ‘grass-fed,’” Abbott said.

Landrieu noted that brands like Straus Family Creamery are aiming to be carbon-neutral in the coming years, and also highlighted Bonterra Wine’s environmentally friendly work. “They’re bringing regenerative agriculture practices into the winemaking world by planting cover crops, encouraging natural pest practices and adding owl and bird boxes,” she said. “They’ve won some awards for that work too. And in the process, they make some pretty great wine.”

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