Hindsight is said to be 20/20.
And for the year 2020, food trends do nod to traditional approaches to eating. But this coming year — the start of a new decade — puts past and present on the same plate, combining innovation with old practices.
That means renewed focus on shopping like our ancestors did, a trend to use alternatives for sweeteners and school-lunch sandwiches, and encouraging kids to get on board with being a foodie from the get go.
There was a time when no one went to market without a basket or bag to bring home fresh meat, vegetables and bread. As supermarket chains up the ante on charging for plastic bags — compostable, at least in some cases — a reusable bag is once again de rigueur.
But expect to see an even greater emphasis on reducing packaging for food items, complete with stores offering bring-your-own-container options, and companies eliminating unnecessary wrapping. Straws were just the start.
Flexibility with proteins
Beyond Meat burgers are now an established part of many menus — even Tim Hortons got on board with offering the beef substitute. For 2020, expect to see a little more flexitarian approach to eating. Rather than all meat or all veg, the two will come together in burgers, meatballs and similar dishes typically made with ground meat.
Along with added nutritional value, stretching a dish with inexpensive veggies will be better for the budget.
One of the granddaddies of protein alternatives, soy, will see trendier ingredients start to take over the spotlight. Hemp, avocado, grains and even mung beans — yes, they are not just for sprouts on your pho — will edge out soy as an alternative for dairy products, like yogurt.
Changing kids’ eating habits
Foodies of the next generation are getting a head start as kids’ menus and food options shift away from frozen foods and good old grilled cheese sandwiches.
Parents with adventurous palates are passing on their love of unique cuisines and unprocessed ingredients. With that, kids today are more adventurous when it comes to what they put on their plate.
Expect more international dishes on kids’ menus in restaurants, along with atypical ingredients, like quinoa. Sure, chicken nuggets will never go the way of the dodo, but this year will be about organic versions, along with items such as alternative-flour pastas — after all, what kid can resist macaroni and cheese?
Now that the federal government is allowing licensed cannabis producers to start seeking Health Canada approval for their CBD goodies, expect to see infused edibles hitting the shelves early in the year. Along with the stereotypical brownie or baked goods made from infused fats, popular offerings like gummies will make it easier for CBD enthusiasts to feel calm all year long.
In the coming months, expect to see an uptick in the number of places offering edibles or recipes on how to make goodies at home.
Alternative flours, alternative spreads
Those aren’t the only alternatives expected to get trendy in 2020. The ever-expanding options for flour will continue to grow and problematic peanut butter will find itself sharing shelf space with a new array of nut and seed butters. Ethopian teff — used to make traditional flatbread, injera — flours made from coconut and even bananas are anticipated to be big for bakers in the coming year.
Meanwhile, unexpected nut and seed butters will join more conventional options like peanut and almond. Sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and watermelon seed — not just for summer spitting contests — spreads will bring a lot of interesting flavour to dishes and standard sandwiches.
Shove over soju
There’s a new Korean tipple about to take over. Milky and an off-white colour, makgeolli doesn’t look like your typical alcoholic beverage. But the raw rice wine, with its tangy and sweet flavour, is picking up a following outside of Korea. It’s slight sparkle makes it feel celebratory, while the low alcohol content makes it great for a night out — without a rough morning to follow.