From alt sugars to environmentally friendly meat blends; these are the top 10 food trends Whole Food predicts will have our attention—and appetite—in 2020.
If you were wondering why there isn’t more West African influence or seed butter options at the grocery store, that might all be changing in 2020. Whole Foods has released its annual forecasted food trends report, and through its unique access to the global food market and supply chain, has made some predictions as to what we might all be munching and guzzling this time next year.
The report is, of course, not without some self-dealing as the categories are all supplemented with items you can buy at the upscale grocer, and in that respect should be taken with a grain of salt. But it’s also worth noting the Whole Foods’ trend report has accurately predicted trends in the past including last year’s which flagged that CBD foods and faux meat snacks would explode (and boy have they ever).
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So how do they compile the report? According to an official press release, Whole Foods taps food insiders like local foragers, buyers, and other “culinary experts” to use their experience, expertise, and unique insight into buying habits, trade shows, and food think tanks to arrive at these following trends.
Whole Foods Market’s top 10 food trend predictions for 2020:
1. Regenerative Agriculture
A bit of a loose term at present, Whole Foods defines regenerative agriculture as “farming and grazing practices that restore degraded soil, improve biodiversity and increase carbon capture to create long-lasting environmental benefits, such as positively impacting climate change,” and the company expects more and more foods (including wines and even supplements like MegaFood Turmeric Strength for Whole Body) will be produced using these methods in the near future.
2. New Flour Types
Whole Foods is forecasting 2020 to be a big year for alternative flours—that is, non-wheat flour. According to the report, “2020 will bring more interesting fruit and vegetable flours” like banana and cauliflower to the baking aisle, and not just incorporated into packaged goods like we’re already seeing.
Cauliflower Goodness Cauliflower Flour, $11.25 on Amazon
What can't cauliflower do?
Related Reading: A Beginner’s Guide to Gluten-Free Flour
3. Foods from West Africa
From its holy trinity of tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers to peanuts, ginger, and lemongrass, and superfoods like moringa and tamarind, Whole Foods is guessing that foods and flavors indigenous to the 16 nations of West Africa will make a big splash in 2020. The market’s reps already see brands using a lot of these West African ingredients and expect that will continue in the new year.
Yolélé Fonio, 3 bags for $19.95 on Amazon
This gluten-free African grain is packed with nutrients.
Related Reading: What Is Moringa?
4. Better-for-You Grab & Go Snacks
From drinkable soups to single-serving freshly prepared foods like Peckish Fresh Protein Packs (hard-boiled eggs with savory toppings), Whole Foods Market has a hunch that granola bars and fruit cups will have stiff competition when it comes to healthy on-the-go snacks in 2020. Whole Foods is already famously a good place to grab a fast, freshly packaged snack or easy pre-made lunch, so perhaps they just wanted to remind us.
Nona Lim Heat & Sip Soup Cups, 6 for $38.99 on Amazon
This sampler pack includes six flavors of soup to enjoy on the go.
Related Reading: The Best Store-Bought Healthy Snacks to Sneak Into Your Kid’s Lunch
5. Non-Soy Plant-Based Foods
Meat substitutes have long been largely soy-based but that monopoly seems to have been broken, and Whole Foods is betting that will only continue in the coming year. Other vegan proteins like grains, nuts, and mung beans can mimic the texture of dairy and even eggs, and brands are already swapping soy for non-allergenic foods like hemp seed, pumpkin, avocado, watermelon seed, and a new algae blend (ominously) called “golden chlorella.”
Ocean's Halo Soy-Free Teriyaki Sauce, 2 bottles for $15.99 on Amazon
This sauce relies on seaweed for umami flavor instead of soy.
Related Reading: Allergy-Safe Snacks to Pack for School Lunch
6. Everything Butters and Spreads
If you thought we’d reached seed and nut butter critical mass, Whole Foods Market suggests that you kindly think again. The grocer predicts even non-peanut butter options like watermelon seed butter, pumpkin butter, and chickpea butter getting in on the fun. Creamy vegan spreads made from nuts and superfoods may also be more readily available to schmear atop your gluten-free crackers and sorghum toast in place of butter and cheese.
FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butter, 10 packs for $22.99 on Amazon
A keto staple everyone else will enjoy snacking on too.
Related Reading: Everything You Need To Know About Seed Butters
7. A More Adventurous Kids’ Menu
Companies capitalizing on the “beige diet” should be shaking in their boots. According to Whole Foods intel, the collective appetite of U.S. children is more diverse than ever and shows no signs of slowing. From seafood like non-breaded salmon sticks to roasted seaweed snacks marketed to young ones, expect more interesting and better-for-you options for the littlest eaters. And that’s good news for parents, too.
gimMe Organic Premium Roasted Seaweed, 12 packs for $19.99 on Amazon
Salty, crispy, savory, all-natural snacks for all ages.
8. Alternative Sugars
We know the usual suspects in the alt sweetener game—honey, maple, agave, stevia—but we’re already seen (and reported on) a few new low-glycemic sugar substitutes like monk fruit. Add others like sweet potato nectar and pomegranate syrup to the mix and you’ve got yourself a full-fledged 2020 trend on your hands.
Lakanto Classic Monkfruit Sweetener, $5.97 at Walmart
This keto 1:1 sugar substitute is pretty sweet.
Related Reading: This New All-Natural Monk Fruit Sweetener Is the Best We’ve Tried
9. Meat-Plant Blends
Going whole-hog vegetarian may not be a reasonable expectation for most, but knowing the toll meat farming takes on the environment (and the adverse effects of too much meat eating on our health), it seems there is a more viable solution on the horizon. Meat (mostly ground) mixed with plants like mushrooms, wheat, and barley yeast are already a thing and you can expect them to continue full force in 2020. “Better for the customer and the planet,” it’s a smart and implementable solution to a growing problem. Brands like Applegate and Lika Plus are leading the way with blended burgers and more.
10. Non-Alcoholic Drinks for Adults
Low and non-alcoholic beverages are certainly nothing new but Whole Foods is predicting a spike both in the quality and selection of N/A drinks targeting adults looking for something to sip at cocktail parties and backyard BBQs. Many of them, like hoppy teas, alt gins, and non-alcoholic IPAs “seek to recreate classic cocktail [and beer] flavors using distilling methods typically used for alcohol creating an alternative to liquor.”
Hoplark HopTea Mixed Pack, 12 cans for $39 on Amazon
Six different flavors of hoppy, non-alcoholic tea when you want to try something different.
Related Reading: How to Build a Non-Alcoholic or Low-Alcoholic Bar Cart
Header image courtesy of Whole Foods