AUSTIN, TEXAS — Whole Foods Market, a business unit of Amazon.com, Inc., issued its predictions for the nine leading food and beverage trends in 2020. The topics cover a range of production practices, ingredients and products that may catch the consumer’s attention.
The retailer’s leading trends include:
Regenerative agriculture — As transparency has emerged as a trend, consumers have expressed interest in learning more about how their food is produced and how the production practices may affect the environment. While regenerative agriculture has many definitions, it describes farming and grazing practices that restore degraded soil, improve biodiversity and increase carbon capture to create environmental benefits. Whole Foods predicts consumers will seek brands that support regenerative practices next year.
Flour power — Alternative flours are forecast to trend next year, according to the retailer, and fruit and vegetable flours may move from finished products such as pizza crusts made with cauliflower, snacks made from tigernuts and pastries made with seed flour blends into the baking aisle.
Foods from West Africa — Traditional West African flavors will continue to emerge in food and beverage items in 2020. The trio of tomatoes, onions and chili peppers form a base for many West African dishes, and peanuts, ginger and lemongrass are all common additions to West African cuisine. In addition, food manufacturers are looking to West Africa for ingredients such as moringa and tamarind as well as fonio, teff and millet.
Out-of-the-box, into-the-fridge snacking — The fresh snack trend will accelerate in 2020. The refrigerated section is filling with fresh snacks that typically are prepared and portioned in advance at home: hard-boiled eggs with savory toppings, pickled vegetables, drinkable soups, and mini dips and dippers of all kinds, all portioned and in convenient single-serve packaging. Whole Foods pointed out that even nutrition bars have made their way from store shelves to refrigerators.
Plant-based beyond soy — Consumers may seek plant-based options next year made from mung bean, hempseed, pumpkin, avocado, watermelon seed and golden chlorella.
Everything butters and spreads — Whole Foods predicts next year will be a period of disruption in the butter and spreads category. Product applications featuring watermelon and pumpkin seeds, as well as macadamia nuts may proliferate.
“It helps the trend that spreads and butters are touting paleo- and keto-friendly attributes, but transparency is also a key player in this trend,” Whole Foods said. “Many brands are looking to either eliminate the use of palm oil or promote a Responsibly Sourced Palm Oil certification and use nuts that are grown in ways with less likelihood for environmental impact.”
Rethinking the children’s menu — By 2026, 80% of millennials will have children, and many parents are introducing their kids to more adventurous foods, according to Whole Foods. Food brands are responding by expanding choices beyond nostalgic foods, including non-breaded salmon fish sticks, fermented foods rich in umami flavors and pastas made with alternative flours.
Not-so-simple sugars — Sweetener options sourced from monk fruit, pomegranate, coconut and dates may trend next year.
Meat-plant blends — Blended products featuring combinations of animal-based and plant-based ingredients will continue to emerge in 2020 as consumers seek to strike a balance between meats and plants in their diet.
Zero-proof drinks — Alternatives to alcohol will remain on trend next year. Many beverages in this category seek to re-create classic cocktail flavors using distilling methods typically reserved for alcohol, creating an alternative to liquor meant to be used with a mixer rather than a drink on its own. Innovations include alt-gin for gin and tonics and botanical-infused faux spirits for a faux martini.