2020 Food Trends

If you follow trends, you’re seeing the 2020 forecasts pop up in your inbox and on social media. Fifteen years ago, fewer organizations did those reports, particularly around food—but we did.

And, we still do. So, without further ado, here is a quick summary of our report.

  1. CBD: In 2020 the legislative issues will likely come to a head and open the door to even more innovation. In fact, this top trend could be simply about regulation in general, as salt, sugar, CBD are only some of the things we’re going to find legislators pinning their attention on, under a “health of the nation” halo.
  2. Plant-based: In 2020 we believe there will be a new transparency into the ingredients that may make people pause, as they learn plant-based doesn’t necessarily mean lower-calorie. The phrase “lab-grown” is going to give some people reason to think this through.
  3. Data growing pains: Part of what we do is analyze data that tells us how people are behaving, and why they are making the choices they make. Companies know a lot about the aggregated “you,” and, in 2020, they want to know even more.
  4. Customer-led innovation: Some restaurants are now incorporating a higher level of personalization into their strategy, and we expect to see more of it—to the point of making customer recipes, putting customers in the kitchen, and having a bigger discussion with you around what you want to see. It just makes sense that now that social media opened up the conversation, we’d find more ways to learn from each other and create our own community.
  5. Waste and sustainability: In 2020 you’ll find more recycling and biodegradable options than ever. With the food packaging demand from delivery, and the disappointment in paper straws, this subject deserves a lot of attention and innovation.
  6. Customer service: Now that restaurants know more about you (see data, above), they understand how important it is to close the loop when you have a problem. Behind the customer-facing part comes a big investment into employee retention and training.
  7. The new sensitivity: We believe 2020 will be spent reaching an understanding of how to work well with others. Respect will be part of the curriculum, along with the type of zero tolerance policies demonstrated by McDonald’s and other companies already.
  8. Options: Oatmeal flour, almond flour, coconut flour. We have more specialty and organic options than ever before, and the prices are doable for those willing to pay a little extra.
  9. Hot flavors: Marshmallow is showing a lot of innovation, both in flavored marshmallow but also in how marshmallow is incorporated into menu items. Maple is still showing up, as is mango, persimmon, ginger, and curry. Things that aren’t technically even flavors are now flavors, like churro-flavored. Global is going to play a huge role, and it’s a roll of the dice which new words we’ll learn—cotija, dukkah, and epazote are just a few.
  10. Space, the next frontier: Just as our nation is conquering putting flavor into plant-based foods, it’s looking at space food to see if it can become more viable as a way to feed the world—the one on this planet. This is exciting young chefs, as well as those who are working to solve the food sustainability issues, and is something we expect to see talked about more.

To read more, check out the full article here.

And see the 2019 trends report to see how many we got right!