Whole Foods might best be known as the grocery store that can eat up your entire paycheck, but it’s also become the company we look to to tell us about food trends of the future. Hot sellers at Whole Foods are quickly copied by your local grocery chain — after all, everyone wants to sell cool new items that increase the value of your cart. In recent years pricy purchases like kombucha, seaweed, and kale chips all got their start at Whole Foods, but have since even worked their way onto convenience store shelves.
Every year, Whole Foods gives us a glimpse of what’s coming in its annual Top Food Trends report. In 2019, they predicted interest in CBD oil would increase. They also foresaw the rise of artisanal ice creams (like avocado) and eco-conscious packaging. So what can they tell us about what trends we’ll see spike in 2020?
Well, look for exotic foods to continue in popularity as West African flavors grow in popularity. Also, there’s no sign of slowing down for the plant-based trend as we see an uptick in meat/plant hybrid burgers and a variety of new plant-based flours.
So what else? Here are Whole Foods’ top 10 trend predictions for the upcoming year:
Top 10 trends we’ll see in 2020
1. Regenerative agriculture
An increasing number of products will be sourced from farms employing practices that restore soil nutrients, improve biodiversity, and positively impact the environment, rather than practices that contribute to climate change.
2. Flour power
The coming year will bring more interesting fruit and vegetable flours (like banana!) into home pantries. Seasoned and amateur bakers alike will look to increase their creativity and make products that are more adventurous as well as being more inclusive to the growing number of special needs diets.
3. Foods from West Africa
Brands are turning toward West Africa for inspiration. This includes traditional flavors like the trio of tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers, along with other flavors like peanuts, ginger, and lemongrass. West African superfoods like moringa and tamarind, and lesser-known cereal grains like sorghum, fonio, teff, and millet will also all become more commonplace in the U.S.
4. Out-of-the-Box, Into-the-fridge Snacking
Gone are the days when a simple granola bar or mini bag of pretzels will satisfy those between meals hunger pangs. Consumers in this generation want “fresh” options. Things like hard-boiled eggs with savory toppings, pickled vegetables, drinkable soups, mini dips and dippers of all kinds will become more popular.
5. Plant-based, Beyond soy
In 2020, the trendiest brands are slowing down on soy, which has dominated the vegan aisle for years. Vegan products touting “no soy” will replace it with innovative blends (like grains and mung beans). Supplements brands are swapping it with mung bean, hempseed, pumpkin, and any other number of seeds to bring a spectrum of plant-based amino acids to the table.
6. Everything butters and spreads
If it’s a seed or a nut, it will likely have a butter by the time 2020 is over. Think beyond almond butter to watermelon seed butter or macadamia butter, and even chickpea butter (no, not the same thing as hummus).
7. Rethinking the kids’ menu
Millennial parents are introducing their kids to more adventurous foods. Beyond your basic organic chicken nuggets, parents are clamoring for more sophisticated items. Think non-breaded salmon fish sticks, fermented foods, spiced foods or those rich in umami flavors.
8. Not-so-simple sugars
There are the usual suspects — sugar, stevia, honey, maple syrup — and then there is the new class. If you’re looking for a way to sweeten your baked goods, marinades, tea, or coffee stay tuned for many more options. Syrupy reductions from things like monk fruit, pomegranates, coconut, and dates are on their way.
9. Meat-plant blends
Butchers and meat brands won’t be left out of the “plant-based” craze in 2020, but they will be adapting. Look for “blended burger” options that combines meat with other plant products (like wheat or mushroom), for a healthier and cheaper burger of the future.
10. Zero-proof drinks
Alcohol is out for the younger generation. Many consumers are looking for alcohol alternatives and unique options are popping up everywhere from menus at high profile restaurants to specialty stores. Many seek to recreate the taste of classic cocktails. Think alt-gin for gin and tonics or hops-infused sparkling waters.
Read more about Whole Foods predictions.
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