From cauliflower pizza and kale chips to oat milk, farro, meat alternatives and probiotic foods, the health food industry was on fire during 2019 and it shows no signs of slowing down in 2020. According to research from MarketWatch, the health and wellness food market is expected to grow by 5.7% between now and 2024 as conscious consumers continue to prioritize their health and the health of our planet. Let’s see what the new year is expected to bring in the way of healthy food and what new trends we can expect to see in the health and wellness industry.
- Intuitive takes a bite out of dieting
Nobody likes diets. They are restrictive and difficult to follow. Intuitive eating, on the other hand, is a rather enjoyable way to eat while leading a healthy life. With lifestyle trends such as body positivity and healthy eating on the rise, it is no surprise that intuitive eating would gain popularity and although the way of eating has been around since the 90s, it’s really bound to pick up steam in 2020. Intuitive eating steps away from labeling food “good” or “bad” and establishing restrictions around food and embraces all food in moderation. It’s about balance and trusting yourself to know how much is enough.
- “Does this peach look like a butt?”
It’s not just Love and Will (or Joe) who shelf back ugly fruits and wonky veggies. Around 44% of the 1.3 billion tons of food wasted each year around the world is perfectly edible but ugly-looking produce. This year though, fruits and vegetables with weird shapes or blemished skins are making a comeback. With food waste reduction becoming a priority for governments and organizations, all supported by a huge social influence campaign, we are likely to see more “imperfect” fruits and vegs in supermarket bins. UK’s Tesco’s ‘Imperfectly Perfect’ and Asda’s ‘Wonky Veg’ are already ahead of the game giving consumers the opportunity to get their hands on these unfortunate fruits and veggies for a fraction of the cost. And while we understand your desire for magnificently looking cucumbers and exquisitely shaped pears, imperfections in fruits and vegetables have no real impact on their nutritional content or taste.
- Healthier on-the-go
Sometimes we are busy and, on the run, skip lunch and when at 4 o’clock in the afternoon we hear our stomachs rumbling, we opt for the easy way to curb hunger and grab a chocolate bar or a bag of chips. In 2020, on-the-go convenience and healthy eating are no longer mutually exclusive. According to Whole Foods, we are going to start seeing foods we would typically prepare at home, conveniently packaged for on-the-go consumption (think hard boiled eggs and other grab and go options for example).
Snacking is also on the rise. Who said adults can’t snack? And who said snacks can’t be healthy? 2020 will see a shift towards healthy snacks with puffed snacks being a major trendsetter together with protein bars and smoothies. The global healthy snacks market is predicted to reach USD 32.99bn by 2025 according to Grand View research.
- Mocktails and spiked drinks are the new life of the party
The “sober curious” movement among millennials has gained momentum, resulting in several brands introducing alcohol-free spirits, wines and beers as well as bars and restaurants including mocktails such as the Virgin Mary, Nojito and Cherry Coketail for those consumers who want to stay away from alcohol.
And for those consumers wanting to reduce their sugar and calorie intake but don’t mind a little booze, low-alcohol, low-sugar drinks are set to gain popularity during 2020. Hard seltzers and sodas started to appear in the market in 2019 and 2020 will see even more of this trend with spiked still water drinks and even hard Kombucha, the nutritionally rich probiotic now spiked.
- Creativity for non-dairy milk alternatives goes wild
Oat milk was the queen of vegan milk during 2019, adding its name to the list of alternative milks found in supermarkets and coffee shops. During 2020, not only the list of alternative milks will grow to include sunflower, cashew, pistachio, walnut, black sesame, hemp, coconut, and flax milk, but the dairy alternatives will extend to coffee creamers, yoghurts, cheeses and ice cream.
- Bye bye flour
Cauliflower reigned as “the taste of 2019” according to Grubhub and replaced flour in food ranging from pizza to bread, crackers, tortillas and even brownies. In 2020 we are set to see a lot more flour alternatives such as chickpea flour, almond flour and sorghum flour. Snack manufacturers will also be using alt-flour in their packaged products —think tigernut flour in chips and seed flour blends in pastries.
- Sweet potato is the new cauliflower
A long-standing staple at holiday dinners, the fiber rich and nutrients packed vegetable is about to get as famous as cauliflower. Banza’s plant-based macaroni and cheese will use sweet potato as the base for its cheese-less cheddar sauce while Maria and Ricardo’s wraps will benefit from its color while adding half a serving of vegetables. Craving potato chips? 2020 will be the year of the sweet potato chips.
- Faux fish
The Impossible Burger stole the stage in 2019 but in 2020, it will have to share it with plant-based fish. While seafood is praised by many health organizations, including the American Heart Association, as a contributor to a long and healthy life, many people are concerned about the environmental impact of fishing.
On a mission to create nutritious seafood without harming live fish, companies are launching alternatives such as tuna made from soy protein and seaweed, plant-based crab cakes, “whitefish” sliders and other seafood options made of legumes and algal oil for that “sea” flavor.
- Fast food trends go the healthy way
As plant-based eating habits and the awareness of sugar and fat consumption continue to rise, more vegetarian and vegan offerings will make their way to fast food restaurant menus. Fast food franchises are also designing their menus with uber-specific restrictions in mind, so paleo, keto and Whole30 options will become more prominent during 2020.
- Sprouting burgers
Meat-free offerings like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods proliferated last year and with consumers looking more and more into ethically raised meat, meatless options and healthier choices in general, companies that incorporate the benefits of plants into their food products will continue to pop up everywhere.
Blends of beef or chicken and legumes, cauliflower and brown rice will be all the rave during 2020. Expect to see nuggets made of chicken and chickpeas, veggie-filled sausages, and angus beef with pea protein, filling the supermarket refrigerator shelves.