2019 was the year of niche eating: vegans looking for meat? Beyond Meat has it handled. The perfect remedy for an upset stomach? Look no further than the refrigerator. The last year of the decade saw the firm establishment of functional eating in the consumer consciousness, creating new opportunities for foods to get to work. In 2019, meat-centric diets rose in popularity, alongside CBD and carbonated beverages. What’s next in 2020? Read on for a look at which cuisines, diets, and ingredients-with-a-twist we predict to shine in the new year.
Sugar-free; Intermittent Fasting
The health-conscious Ketogenic diet skyrocketed in 2019; in 2020, we expect to see the continued evolution of other functional diets, with sugar-free eating and intermittent fasting on track to become the year’s big diet trends. Sugar-free eating has already risen 23% in mentions since last fall; its emergence is associated with new and continued product developments in sugar replacements, and further growth is anticipated in both categories.
Intermittent fasting has attracted a vocal following over the past year: celebrities such as Beyonce and J-Lo take advantage of intermittent fasting’s purported benefits and people are noticing, with consumer mentions of intermittent fasting up 57% over the past year.
Moroccan; Nigerian; Ethiopian; Senegalese; South African
71% of consumers have sampled diverse foods from around the world, mentioning their experience eating a global cuisine at least once online. Mediterranean and Vietnamese cuisines reached peak interest among general audiences in 2019, while Carribbean cuisines — up 32% in social mentions YoY — and African cuisines sparked new interest and experienced significant initial growth.
The large category of African cuisines saw an initial 9% growth as social mentions begin to take off; we expect increased popularity in 2020 around Moroccan, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Senegalese and South-African cuisines.
Gut health; Skincare
Tastewise’s Functional Foods Report shows that 37% of America’s eaters and drinkers are looking for more functional value from their food. In 2019, consumers focused on stress relief and weight loss functions in their diets; skincare and gut health are the predicted functional wellness stars of 2020.
The quest for skincare functionality rose by 42% over the past year and is expected to keep growing in 2020. Similarly, gut health consideration has risen by 29% over the last 12 months. Though it has already seen significant growth in 2019, gut health is expected to make its breakthrough in 2020.
Fermented Foods; Plant-based Protein; Jackfruit
The evolution of consumer gut health needs can be seen through the rise of fermented foods. This category rose 26% in 2019, as customers turned toward kombucha, kimchi, and sourdough to serve gut health.
Plant-based foods were also in demand; as brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods led the category with new, vegan offerings, we saw a rising interest in plant proteins. Pea protein rose 13% over the last year and use of the protein is expected to grow even further in 2020. We expect protein-packed jackfruit to emerge as a mega-trend in 2020: with a significant drop in price, availability of the fruit across the US has grown alongside an 18% rise in social conversations.
Mocktails; Alcoholic Kombucha
The beverage industry has become a creative playground, rich with innovative beverage offerings from established and newcomer brands alike. Seltzer, the star of summer 2019, signaled the rise of consumer interest in ‘leaner’ drinks, devoid of sugary additions. We predict alkaline water to be a significant beverage trend in 2020, as the drink has already risen 72% since last year.
The ‘mocktail’, the cocktail’s non-alcoholic sister, is growing in popularity — 2019 saw a 37% rise in social conversations as consumers look for better non-alcoholic options. For those inclined toward alcoholic beverages, a twist on popular kombucha is available; alcoholic kombucha has risen by 65% YoY and is expected to continue making noise in 2020.