Before you click off because you think this is “just another” 2020 food trends story, hold please!

This past week has been one filled with several 2020 trend prediction reports, including that of Whole Foods, Technomic, and THP. They’re hard to miss. From outlets like CNBC, Gourmet Insider, Yahoo! Sports, Food Business News, Forbes, Restaurant Business, to many more – they’re preventing us from hiding from the unfair truth that winter (echem, year-end) is coming.

Having reviewed the reports, I have three main takeaways:

  • Many have a good chance of taking root and are pretty cool for all product categories and meal/drink occasions.
  • While valid, some aren’t predictions because we’re already seeing them become more mainstream.
  • Some are too niche and while we may see them cropping up in cocktail bars or fine dining, they’re unlikely to hit consumer kitchens.

To help ease the burden of flipping through these predictions, I’ve outlined below a few TRENDS (get it?!) among the prediction reports.

Not quite hitting the market yet in full-swing, yet likely to stick are the following:

  • Indigenous Foods (“Foods from West Africa” and “Tribal Roots”) – Spices from indigenous cultures have already started gaining traction but expect to see more produce options and ingredient pairings, especially from South American and West African cooking. Examples include peanuts, ginger, lemongrass (West Africa) and cocona, acaï, aguaje (South America).
  • The New Sweet Tooth (“Not-So-Simple Sugars” and Tastefully Tart”) – consumers looking for alternatives to the traditional sweeteners may want to start playing with fresh fruit syrup reductions from pomegranate or coconut; or simply swing the opposite direction and go tart with vinegar or tamarind.
  • Beverages Without the Hangover (“Zero Proof Drinks”) – with big brands like Heineken and AB InBev already experimenting with low-or-no proof beverages, it’s likely we’ll see more creativity within this category beyond the cocktail bar.

Although not mentioned above, just as important are a few of the topics mentioned in these reports that are already gaining traction in the marketplace:

  • Fresh & Fast Snacks (“Out-of-the-Box, Into-the-Fridge Snacking” and “Portable Power”) – fresh and fast on-the-go snacks are moved out of center aisle into the refrigerated perimeter
  • Waste Reduction (“Eco-Everything,” “New Forces of Nature” and “Zero Waste Cooking”) – from food waste to recyclable tableware, restaurants and consumers will continue committing to environmental sustainability
  • Rethinking Plant-Based (“Meat-Plant Blends”) – those concerned with processed “plant-based” meat blends should consider using life’s original plants – fruits and veggies – as healthy blenders

What did you think when you read these reports? Any others stick out to you as definites for mass adoption?