If you’ve eaten out in 2019, or are just a foodie with your finger on the pulse of cooking and the restaurant industry, it’s likely you’ve noticed some food trends throughout the year.
What we eat, where we get it from and the way we eat it is changing quicker than ever before as sustainability and cutting carbon emissions have become major issues in the food production chain.
Probiotic foods haves remained popular in 2019, but concepts like zero waste, sustainable food packaging and eating local are all part of the vocabularies of most restaurants, retailers and diners nowadays. Not just in the UK, but around the world, too.
Those concepts are here to stay. Hopefully many of the items on our list of 2019’s biggest food trends are too. Just in case, we’ve also listed our predictions for what we expect the major food trends of 2020 to be.
2019’s Food Trends
1. Plant-based burgers
Plant-based burgers took a giant leap forward in 2019. The Beyond Meat burger has risen to the top as the best known and even “bleeds” like a meat burger, thanks to beetroot juice that leaks out once you take a bite. Impossible Burgers are another brand that have had success. Impossible Foods make their meat-free burger from soy and Burger King now even sells an Impossible Whopper. The Beyond Burger is so successful that many people struggle to distinguish between it and a real beef burger. Beyond Meat is moving plant-based burgers into 2020 ahead of lab-grown meat alternatives.
2. Poke Bowls
We were not bowled over by the fact that bowls have surged in popularity over the last year or two. Poke bowls began popping up in London in 2018 but there has been an explosion of restaurants in 2019. Bowls in general, like buddha bowls, seem here to stay. Typically consisting of a wide variety of raw and cooked ingredients, bowls provide a huge array of nutrients and vitamins, as well as filling you up.
Poke bowls come from Hawaii, with poke referring to the thin strips of raw fish contained within, alongside rice and veggies, usually with a focus on very pretty presentation. So much so, in fact, that constructing the most attractive bowl has become a bit of a competition on Instagram in 2019.
The impact of human consumption on the environment has been brought to the fore in 2019. Consumers want to know more about what they’re eating; where has it come from, what ingredients are contained within and how was the food processed?
Restaurants are reflecting this trend too. Smaller restaurants are endeavouring to introduce seasonal menus in order to work more with local producers and ensure a smaller carbon footprint. Allergy information, calorie counts and accountability towards ingredients are all staples of contemporary restaurant menus.
Even big chains, such as Five Guys, have information on where they source their meat and the ingredients contained in their products. Transparency and accountability is key for consumers, and restaurants know that anything less than full disclosure will likely be bad for business.
As more and more people opt for a plant-based diet, an increasing number and variety of plant products have become popular. 2019 was the year of the jackfruit. Pulled jackfruit burgers are king, but the beauty and popularity of the jackfruit is likely down to its flexibility. We’re big fans. And not just because of the taste and nutritional benefits. One jackfruit tree can grow between 100 – 200 fruits a year, making it one possible solution for more sustainable food production and reducing food insecurity.
Which Food Trends Could We See in 2020?
1. Meat & Plant Burgers
Many people are not willing to completely remove meat from their diet. And nor should they. Reducing our intake of meat will still drastically reduce global emissions from farming. One way to do this is to eat products made out of meat and plants or vegetables. The Blended Burger Project is one company doing this and 25% of its burgers consist of plant-based foods. Whole Foods have tipped combined plant and meat burgers to be one trend we will see more of in 2020.
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2. Alternative flours
Chickpea and almond flours have been on supermarket shelves for a while now, but expect to find even more variety soon. Banana flour should soon hit the shelves, along with a range of flours made from fruits and vegetables. With consumers ever more conscious about their diet – and many people avoiding gluten – supermarkets will also stock packaged foods like tortillas and doughnuts that they make from alternative flours.
Insects have long been touted as the solution to reducing global emissions from food production while providing consumers with a sustainable source of protein. 2020 could be the year we start to see this happen. Sainsbury’s began stocking edible insects in 2018 and although other supermarkets have been slow to follow, it’s reported that edible insects will be an $8bn industry by 2030, up from the current $1bn.