The new year is just around the corner. Already, retailers and food marketing gurus are looking to 2020 as a major turning point in eating. From 2000 onward, consumers saw an entirely new paradigm in the world of eating, primarily represented by trends toward healthful, natural products like fruit smoothies, whole-grain breads, organic everything and even nutrition-fortified candy bars. What's next? Here are the five major food trends that health experts and investors are keeping an eye on. Most have made headway with consumers during the past couple of years but are expected to ramp into high gear very soon.
The vegetarian revolution, which has been slowly building steam since the post-WWII years has officially come to a close. Marketers says that the non-meat eaters and meat eaters have sorted things out and pretty much know which side they stand on. For fast-food chains, that means 2020 will finally see the widespread introduction of veggie burgers in most markets. Even retailers, long reluctant to jump on the vegan bandwagon, are set to triple their number of meatless products.
The only food battle as big and financially important as the "beef vs no-beef" war is the one that pits milk against its many alternatives. Soy milk and a few other dairy milk substitutes have been around for ages but today's store shelves are beginning to enter a post-dairy milk era. Look for much wider offering of almond milk, commercial versions of oatmilk and coconut milk. Oatly oak milk is probably the rising star among this bunch, not only because it's easy to make at home but because it is probably closest to cow's milk in taste, texture and nutrition. As is the case with meat, traditional versions of whole milk, buttermilk and goat's milk are making a strong comeback, too.
What's the latest major trend in eating out? Not eating out! Several key industry surveys revealed a surprising fact: adults say one of their favorite things to do is prepare meals at home. For fast-food chains, that's bad news, but for the food industry as a whole it is very good news. People who cook at home, even just a few times per week, tend to spend more at the grocery store. Look for the big retail food sellers to add shelf space, feature more types of volume discounts and cater to home-cooking enthusiasts more than ever before.
Not all the 2020 food trends are about health. In addition to "power" candy that comes packed with extra protein, there's been a resurgence in the sale of gourmet chocolate and other sugar-laden confections. It seems like all those healthy meals and fruit smoothie snacks cause human beings to crave extremely unhealthful desserts and candies.
Beef is Back
A counterpoint to the vegan shift is the "rebirth" of beef. Those people who dabbled with vegetarianism and vegan eating are ready to return to basics, and that means plenty of lean, home-grown beef. One thing that food industry experts have always noted about the Western diet is its diversity. In this case, many fast-food retail giants like McDonald's and Wendy's will feature "garden burgers," which contain zero meat, alongside classics like double cheese burgers and dozens of beef choices.