It’s almost a new year, and it’s the perfect time for a new you. You are what you eat, so your new self begins on the plate. But what will you be eating next year? These are some of the top food trends being cooked up for 2020.
It will be the year of plants
Based on its 2019 data, app-based food delivery service Uber Eats made its own prediction for the top ingredients of 2020. The top five were all bounties of the soul: brown rice, avocado, coconut, tofu and beetroot. Grubhub, too, reported that vegetarian and vegan dishes were all the rage in 2019 (taking seven of that service’s top ten spots) and expects orders for dishes like spicy brussels sprouts, portobello empanadas and black bean and sweet potato tacos to rise.
Free-range, cage-free and responsible meat
Whole Foods claims that sustainable farming will boom in 2020. The organic grocery giant isn’t exactly an unbiased source, but the demand for responsibly farmed and ethically produced meat and animal products does seem to be on the rise. Episodes like the massive Amazon rainforest wildfires – caused by Brazilian farmers burning away the forest for cattle grazing land – has got more people thinking about their meat and where it comes from.
Light beer and alcoholic water
The history of beer has always been a tug-of-war between taste and calories. First, weight-watching baby boomers popularised cheap, light lagers. Then millennials with their young metabolisms pushed back with the craft beer boom of the ’00s and ’10s.
Now, young people are health conscious again. Apparently, beermakers are reporting a rise in demand for lighter, lower-alcohol craft beers for people who want to taste their beer, but don’t want to wreck their spritely young bodies. To take things even further, hard seltzer and hard water (for when you want a buzz but nothing else) have hit the millennial scene and appear to be here to stay, at least for 2020.
People abandoning other trends
Kale is less nutritious than ordinary spinach, quinoa isn’t better than wheat or oats, juice cleanses are a dangerous scam and there is no evidence that eating antioxidants do anything for us at all. Even diet darlings of the ’10s, like paleo and keto, are beginning to creak under a lack of scientific evidence. The enthusiasm for many of the food fads that defined the last decade is starting to wane and people are starting to demand research to back up their claims (which is a good thing). Certainly, the ’20s will come with their own whacky, pseudoscientific food fads, but it’s our responsibility to hold them up against actual scientific evidence.
Pickles and probiotics
Yelp reviews mentioning hard kombucha rose 377 per cent this year. Kombucha being delicious is certainly part of it, but there is also a general rise in probiotics – i.e. foods that contain organisms like yeast and good bacteria thought to benefit digestion. These foods also include yoghurt, certain cheeses, pickles, kimchi, miso and basically any food that is fermented. Certain probiotics do seem to alleviate chronic diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal problems. But bloggers are also hailing probiotics as a superfood that helps you lose weight, lift your mood, cure allergies and [inset literally any health benefit here]. Our advice? Do your research before stocking up on sauerkraut.
Almond milk, soy milk and other non-dairy “milks” are nothing new, but they do seem to be entering a golden age. In Britain, for example, as many as 25 per cent of people have turned to plant-based milk alternatives. As mentioned earlier, people are turning to plant-based foods for both health and environmental reasons, and some of these milks have surprisingly high amounts of protein and vitamins with less fat and carbohydrates than cow milk. You also don’t have to worry about traces of hormones and antibiotics, which are often fed to livestock. But, again, if you want to nix dairy, do your research: Not all “milks” are created equal, and some are loaded with sugar, other sweeteners and artificial flavourings and thickeners.