It’s that time of year again when we cast our predictions for the upcoming food trends of 2020.
With a new decade fast approaching and ten years of food trends, fads and fails behind us, here’s a look at what you can expect to be eating, seeing and hearing more of in 2020.
To really test us you can also look back at our 2019 food trend predictions to see what we got right and what we were totally wrong about.
Photo Noma Guide to Fermentation
“Fermentation,” we hear you cry. “Again!” Yes, that’s right but this isn’t your basic miso, koji or garum. We’re talking a whole new level of investigation into the thousand-year-old process. In our 2019 trends list, we predicted the Noma-Effect: how the reopening of the Danish restaurant run by Rene Redzepi would have an impact across the industry as the massively influential kitchen’s ideas spread and pollinated: Noma’s big step of discovery and what Rene described as a step forward in terms of delicious have all come from their new fermentation lab.
We get the hate for this trend, fermentation or some form of fermented product makes a trends list almost every year, however, with so many possibilities and lines of discovery still unexplored, fermentation remains a source of undiscovered deliciousness. We expect more and more chefs to start exploring fermentation in their kitchens and recent demonstrations and publications by the Noma team have shown that adoption by the home user is a possibility.
Courtesy of Native Bar
One of our resident drink writers, Gabriela Rentería, posted a story recently about the rise of low alcoholic drink options and how this style of drinking is on the rise. These are for those people who want to sample the unique flavours offered by alcoholic mixes without the boozy hit normally associated with drinking, it’s also a trend being driven by the rise of health-conscious consumers who want all the fun at the bar with less calorific hits.
Heirloom and Ancient Flours
We expect to see more home bakers experimenting with heirloom varieties, like rye and barley, and ancient grains, such as teff, durum and spelt. Popular US bakeries such as Tartine, San Francisco, have been using ancient grain flours for years; they supposedly produce a different gluten quality that makes them easier to digest than modern wheats. Artisanal bakeries both in the US and the UK are seeing a market resurgence, and at the same time, bread is regaining popularity within our carb and gluten-fearing society. This combined with more farmers focusing on better quality grains and chefs like Dan Barber rescuing more heirloom varieties all point towards increased use of ancient and heirloom flours in the home. More of us will be baking with these in 2020.
After years of #cleaneating, millennials are going full #choosepasta. Italian food was millennials’ favourite cuisine in a 2019 survey, with pasta topping the list. There are many reasons behind this, and it’s not just about pasta being Instagrammable. We’ve seen lines around the block for fresh pasta in London, and it’s fast-growing in popularity in Paris as well. In addition to eating out, many of us are also learning to make pasta (one of the most popular “experiences” to book on Airbnb is a Roman nonna’s pasta-making class). Cheap, delicious, nostalgia-inducing pasta fills us with a sense of comfort that many of us can do with right now. We say 2020 is the year of delicious, cheesy, homely pasta - get ready for the Return of The Mac n Cheese.
The quake that shook the restaurant industry last year was home delivery and the shockwaves continue. It has given rise to ghost restaurants as well as real restaurants propping up revenue by serving people in their own homes. In 2020 we’ll see the cloud kitchen rise as a global trend, fuelled by the convergence of the tech and food industries. The food delivery industry has the potential to grow from $35 billion to $365 billion by 2030.
So what is a cloud kitchen? It’s a shared kitchen resource that restaurants or indeed, any chef or even home baker can rent by the hour if necessary to fulfil orders for home delivery. Some experts are predicting that we will see entire new restaurant chains that won’t own a single piece of kitchen equipment. There is a number of VC funds already betting big on cloud kitchens including Google’s parent Alphabet and Uber founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick’s CloudKitchens. Developing markets such as China and India are fertile ground for the cloud kitchens where home delivery is already booming, but many enterprising restaurateurs and chefs, have the culinary knowledge and skills, yet lack the capital outlay for premises, rents and rates. The food delivery/tech platform genie is already out of the bottle and not going away, cloud kitchens look like an inevitable consequence of this.
Beyond ‘sustainable’ and ‘organic’ is regenerative agriculture, a system of farming that enriches soil, increases biodiversity and improves watershed management. Based on the ground-breaking work of Maynard Murray in the 80s, which saw the emergence of no-till practices and other innovations that added nutrients to the topsoil, such as mulching (smothering weeds on the soil to encourage nutrient absorption).
‘Sustainable’ is a prerequisite for chefs hunting for locally produced, exceptional ingredients, but a greater urgency, brought on by horrifying climate change statistics, will see conscious consumers demand ingredients that are carbon positive, rather than neutral. Ingredients that are farmed in a manner that actually locks carbon into the soil and the overland biomass can represent the achievement of supply chains that are totally coherent and aligned. More than farm-to-fork, regenerative agriculture can empower every point along the supply chain, creating a ‘circular agricultural economy’ and chefs can play an integral role in catalysing the next phase of sustainability.
Functional foods is an area we expect to grow a lot in 2020. Conscious consumers are increasingly making more informed food choices, whether food shopping or eating out and the impact that certain foods have on the body is something shoppers are now more aware of than ever.
Fermented foods, red foods, purple foods, chocolate, spices like turmeric, functional mushrooms, seaweeds, spirulina, sprouts and ancient grains are just some of the foods we are seeing more of on menus and in supermarket aisles for the functional benefits.
While governments have until now encouraged a one size fits all “Mediterranean” diet or the classic food pyramid of healthy eating, the future looks more tailor-made to the individual. We envisage a future where the medical profession acknowledges that a good diet has to be “individualised.”
“Nutrigenomics,” or the idea that a DNA test can provide guidance for what foods we should eat, and customized dietary recommendations are a reality. We predict a growth in conscious consumption, from the basics of buying and cooking functional foods to a future of engaging with virtual health coaches and using AI to tailor a personalised diet based on DNA and body type.
Photo Masami Naruo
By now, we’re all aware of the threat of global food security with a looming 2050 deadline and 9.8 billion people to feed. But the severity of global food waste is equally astounding: of food produced, one-third of the world’s food is lost or wasted every year, that’s 1.3 billion tonnes, valued at $750 billion dollars.
This problem is not going away any time soon, but progress is in hand with government and high-profile chefs, like Massimo Bottura, using their voice to spearhead campaigns. From tackling supermarket buying policies to making potato peelings delicious. And, with a potential global food crisis on its way, it’s a movement that can only gain traction.
So far, to name but a few, we’ve seen ugly fruit campaigns, cooking festive waste campaigns (Cooking is an Act of love), restaurants specializing in cooking waste (Silo), chef’s like Dominique Crenn dropping meat from their menus (20% of all waste), Alexandre Silva of Loco using waste as innovation and this year’s nose to tail movement for seafood gathering momentum with chef Josh Niland at the helm. Even cocktails are having a moment with “Trash Tiki” using food waste, peels and ingredients like apple pulp and orange peel.
Waste food is a reality of our food system, and its plight, we predict, is only going to get bigger, stronger and more global.