Updated: Jan 15, 2020
by CNN Underscored
A new year brings reflection, predictions, plans — and, hopefully, healthier shopping carts. (Well, at least until we notice all the Valentine's Day candy lining the shelves.) And with every passing year, there are new food trends to try. (Remember when kale wasn't even a thing?)
At the forefront of foodie trends is Whole Foods Market, with its annual list of food trend predictions for the year ahead. The list is curated by a culinary army of about 50 Whole Foods Market team members, according to a release, from buyers to product sourcing experts to local foragers. Translation: They're the ones who said White Claw would be a thing long before your cousin insisted you try it over the holidays.
So whether your meal planning needs a reboot or you just want to be in the know about what you'll be craving next, shop the food trends that are expected to be big in 2020.
Reaching for gluten-free flours to avoid gluten isn't the point anymore — it's now about choosing flours that offer extra protein or fiber, regardless of whether you can tolerate gluten or not. And while we're all familiar with almond flour, the new kids on the baking block are items like cauliflower flour, tiger nut flour and other alternative flours.
2) REFRIGERATED 'FRESH' SNACKS
Foods that need to go in the fridge often mean less preservatives and additives, which is why, for many healthy eaters, the snack aisle isn't in the middle of the grocery store — it's the coolers on the perimeter. From bars to soups, prepared snacks in single-serve sizes are moving away from bagged carbs and becoming more like something healthy that Mom packed for you.
3) KID FRIENDLY SUPER FOODS
According to Whole Foods, many of today's parents are inclined to introduce their kids to more adventurous foods. (Fun fact: Whole Foods says that by 2026, 80% of millennials will have children.) The foodie spirit swings both ways, too — kids are seeing their peers on cooking competitions and are having cafeteria conversations of their own about what's what.
4) DEPOLARIZING THE MEAT DEBATE
Meat versus fake meat — can't we all just get along? We will in 2020, says Whole Foods. While plant-based meatless "meat" products have skyrocketed over the years, "real" meat lovers can finally calm down and enjoy their animal products while getting a dose of vegetables, too. Technically dubbed "blended meat," these are products with both meat and meatless ingredients in them. Look for items like Applegate's The Great Organic Blended Burger and Lika Plus's Blended Burger on your next grocery store run.
5) WEST AFRICAN FOODS
Lesser-known superfoods and earthy flavors are becoming more popular—and many of them are traditionally West African foods and ingredients. Food brands are finding inspiration from West Africa by using ingredients like moringa, tamarind, fonio, teff, millet, sorghum and more.
6) SOY FREE PRODUCTS
As more people identify soy as an allergen and not the answer to their dietary dreams, the king of the plant-based movement has been dethroned. Meat alternatives, condiments, protein powders and more are all employing replacement ingredients to maintain (and often improve) their texture, taste and nutritional profiles. See ya, soy.
7) ZERO PROOF DRINKS
Whether you're "sober curious" or want to imbibe all night and not feel the hurt tomorrow, this trend comes in two forms: There are the alcohol-inspired-but-non-alcoholic beverages you can drink straight from the can or bottle, and then there are the products meant to be used in place of alcohol and with a mixer. The latter is newer to the scene, thanks to beverage makers using distilling methods usually reserved for alcohol. The result: Gin and tonics without the gin, martinis without the vodka and more.
8) SUPERFOOD BUTTERS & SPREADS
Going beyond almond butter isn't new — but that just means there's even more expectation to get creative with spreads and butters. Whether your spread of choice is made of watermelon seeds or pili nuts, this trend is coupled with the higher standard of using only responsibly sourced palm oil or eliminating the ingredient's use altogether.
9) NOT SO SIMPLE SUGARS
Syrups made from fruit sources or even starches are the latest way to add sweetness to everything from cookies to coffee to meat glazes. They're usually more concentrated and offer an alternative to refined sugar in dishes and drinks.
10) REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE
Choosing brands that work with farmers and other partners that prioritize regenerative practices is one way to help the environment. Regenerative agriculture can mean a few things, but it typically refers to managing levels of carbon by improving biodiversity and restoring soil.