The Top 25 Food Trends in 2020 That Will Surprise and Delight
Top 25 Food Trends in 2020 – With each year that passes, we get more and more excited about the boundary-pushing cuisine that creative chefs are concocting – foods that delight all the senses. We’ve decided that this could be the best year yet, with the following list as our Top Food Trends 2020.
Combining food and fun had been around for decades – think live music and jazz lounges and theatre restaurants. We’ve entered a new age of experiential dining, with the fun ranging farther and wider than ever before. Dine in the sky on an elevated platform or be served decadence and wine while engaging in an acrylic painting lesson and session. You can dine in the dark or feast on Moroccan food while professional belly dancers twirl between the tables. There are even restaurants that now specialise in offering the worst service ever!
Food fusion is nothing new, but as diners tire of tradition, it falls to the creative chef to push the limits. Consumers can now experiment with exciting fusions of cross-cultural cuisines. Some of the food trends to emerge in 2020 will include traditional Mexican fused with Southeast Asian, Filipino-style Indian curry, and even French-Scandinavian combinations coming to the fore.
Somewhat along the same thinking as fusion food, hyper-regional cuisine refers to adopting the cooking traditions of an entire localized region to offer up a dish with strong flavours that are richly reminiscent of a certain culture. Food flavours are taken from micro-regions – for example, flavours from the Western region of Africa would incorporate moringa, scotch bonnet chilies, plantain, Kola nuts, yam, peanuts, and sorghum. Mexican restaurants would specifically take inspiration from the Oaxacan, Michoacán, Yucatan, Campeche and Baja regions of Mexico.
Sustainable Cooking continued
Even prior to 2019, sustainable cooking was already a buzzword and a trend that many chefs felt compelled by collective conscience to follow. While inventing menus purely from locally sourced or in-season produce presents a challenge, nobody loves a good challenge more than a chef, and we foresee this trend not only remaining in 2020 but becoming even bigger.
The Traditional Wine & Dine
With all the boundary-bending cuisines becoming available, diners will want to return more than occasionally to the simplicity of refined Haute Cuisine. Relying on traditional methods, traditional flavours, the best chefs in the world will continue to serve the delicacies that we know and love. This is especially true in European and American cuisine, where the booming economies allow diners the luxury of a little indulgence.
Kid’s a’ la Carte
The times are certainly changing for children’s menus, as restaurants expand their offering beyond pizza squares, chicken nuggets and mini burgers. The food trends in 2020 are set to overflow into children’s menus, as more and more parents opt to expose their kids to healthier food, and to food that will broaden their tastes from a younger age.
The Meat Blend
Plant-crazed cooking isn’t only limited to vegan and vegetarian, but to carnivorous dishes as well, as we look to lessen our impact on the earth and make cuisine more sustainable. The facts are that people still love meat – so burger brands are leveraging this, with caution for the meat market, by blending meat with mushrooms. Word on the street is that it’s not just healthier and cheaper, but mouth-wateringly delicious too.
It’s been nearly 20 years since the superfood concept came into being. As more and more light is shed on the effect of processed foods and poor nutrition, superfoods have ridden the wave of popularity to this day. So although it’s not a new food trend for 2020, it’s certainly ramping up to remain one of the biggest and will include collagen peptides, seaweed, and nutritional yeast. Foods naturally rich in probiotics will also take centre stage, such as Kefir, which is a cultured, fermented yoghurt-beverage made from kefir grains.
Diet Alternative Menus
Ten years ago, a restaurant was considered progressive for offering gluten-free and vegetarian options on their menu. This is no longer the case, and chefs are required to go the extra mile to cater for many of the major fad diets. It’s fast becoming the norm for menu’s to include variations of meals that are dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and the latest, keto.
The carb-free craze continues into the new decade, with cauliflower expected to rise in popularity and a carbohydrate alternative. The smelly vegetable remains a wonderfully flexible alternative for pizza bases and breads, rice and mash. We suspect that chefs will dream up even more for the cloudy white vegetable in the 12 months to come.
Cooking with Cannabis
Disclaimer: we are not talking about pot brownies here! (they’re trendy enough)
However, CBD, which is a health-boosting component of the cannabis plant without the ‘high-inducing’ effects of the THC compound, has gradually risen to fame in health-conscious kitchens. As it gradually becomes legalized across the world, it’s expected to become a huge food trend in 2020, being infused into coffee, snacks, stews, baked goods, and even alcoholic beverages.
Nashville Hot Chicken
Straight out of Naysh-Ville, Ten-hes-see (yes, you need to say it in Southern), Nashville Hot Chicken became a fad-favourite almost overnight. The spicy alternative to regular fried chicken is prepared with tongue-melting amounts of cayenne and black pepper, and traditionally served with bread – to absorb the burn – and juicy pickles. KFC has added this hot number to their menu, which bodes well for it to rise even further as a food trend in 2020.
Pronounced “ooh-bae” which makes it instantly love-able, Ube is the hottest tuber on the menu these days. Related to the orange sweet potato, Ube originates from the Philippines and is known for its bright purple colouring and delightfully soft-and-sweet flavour. Traditionally, the purple spud is boiled and mashed with condensed milk and butter, and then frozen into a gorgeous, delicious pudding called Ube Halaya. It’s now used as a new base flavouring and colouring for artisanal ice creams, doughnuts and pop tarts.
Since we’re talking about unusual dessert blends, the newest kid on the block is dessert hummus. This trend seems to have its origin with the idea of cinnamon sugar cream cheese spread, which made the rounds a few years ago. Blending savoury with sweet in the most wonderful way, hummus can be flavoured with brownie batter, peanut butter cookie dough, and even snickerdoodle. Yum!
Old-fashioned butters and spreads have received many a makeover over the years, and we’re excited to see some trending spreads on the horizon for 2020. The already-popular almond butter and chocolate-y spreads like Nutella are being joined by butters flavoured by cashews, macadamia, and even watermelon seed. Never has a slice of bread tasted so good!
Whoever thought that lactose intolerance would become a major food trend in 2020? As the world moves further and further away from cow’s milk toward milk alternatives, shops and café’s now offer, at the very least, soy and almond milk. It was perhaps some controversies around soy and almond that led to even more alternatives rising to popularity, namely, rice milk, coconut, oat milk, and even hemp milk. Whatever the case, we’re certainly spoilt for choice!
Over-the-top Mega Desserts
Chefs in 2020 are under pressure to keep up with the Joneses, so to speak, where fancy desserts win the contest. Driven by love of sugar and colour, combined with inescapable boredom and ambition, chefs and dessert-lovers are taking to Instagram with over-the-top, almost outlandish puddings, cakes and tarts, and monstrous, mouth-watering milkshakes.
Another Instagram favourite, these thick, fluffy pancakes have been around for years. Originally from Japan, these high-rise desserts only popped up on the western world’s radar in September 2019, becoming an instant hit, with reviews climbing by 156.2% in less than one year. The soufflé pancake is expected to reach even further shore in 2020, and will surely become a worldwide favourite.
Vegan Ice Cream isn’t Done Growing Yet
Although not a new trend, vegan ice cream has a promising future as vegans and vegetarian products continue to skyrocket in popularity. Dairy mega-company Danone has recently injected a $60 million investment into dairy-free products, after a study of the global market showed that the vegan and vegetarian scene was worth no less than $51 billion. What this means for us as consumers is this: more vegan ice cream – not just in restaurants, but on shelves too!
One of the most admirable arts in cuisine is that of combining your favourite things… and we think coffee-based cocktails are a masterpiece. While low-alcohol beverages have continued to trend over the past few years, blending coffee into popular cocktails has become an irresistible treat. Imagine the El Cafecito, blending dark rum, Cuban coffee Liqueur and Licor 431 syrup with chocolate bitters – served on ice. Perhaps you prefer the Anatolia Café, a simple concoction of cognac, cherry liqueur, syrup, and coffee. Honestly, we’re in love!
The millennials are to blame for this one – easily bored and obsessed with the next Instagram post. And so we see the rising popularity of novelties like sparkling wine. No, we’re not talking about bubbles – we’re talking about glitter. Gaining popularity in the stores and bars are glitter wines and even glitter fizzers, which are basically like sparkly bath bombs for your booze.
The world is obsessed with organic produce which, simply put, means that it hasn’t been affected by herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, or other chemicals. It stands to reason that the organic fad infiltrates the world of wine, which has already become popular in some regions of Europe. We expect to see this becoming a real food trend in 2020, with more orange, organic and biodynamic wines becoming available to consumers.
Low alcohol and zero-alcohol beverages have been steadily rising in popularity for a few years. As people shift towards improved health and safer driving habits, restaurants now need to stock zero-alcohol spritzers and ensure that their barmen are adept at making irresistible mocktails. “Dry” happy hour is becoming a thing, and we’re even seeing the concept of entire dry bars popping up, for those who embrace the lifestyle but still want the vibe.
According to surveys, it’s believed that one of the most popular alcohols of 2020 will be Mezcal, which is a Mexican distilled alcoholic beverage made from a type of agave. This is also an indication that alternative-grain spirits, in general, are on the rise. Taste whiskeys made from sorghum and even quinoa, or Asian specialties like Baiju and Shochu.
Kombucha. It’s a fermented tea and has been around for some time, even enjoying some popularity a few years ago. Just when we thought this fad was history, the stats are showing that “hard kombucha” (the boozy kind) has enjoyed a 377% rise in popularity in the past 12 months. That’s a stat that can’t be ignored and indicates that kombucha will likely become a hot food trend in 2020.
We’re excited for the Year 2020, anticipating creativity and quality from restaurants, bakeries, breweries, baristas, and barmen. May the culinary adventure take you afar and wide in search of a taste that inspires and satisfies.