Well, it’s not only a new year, it’s a new decade. We’re out of the teens and into the twenties, hurtling forward toward midcentury. Before you know it—it’ll be 2050. In the meantime, what food trends are forecast to take us there? While there’s no shortage of predictions for the food industry for 2020, here are the ones on my shortlist.
Plants, plants and more plants – If you figured plant-forward eating would be a short-lived fad, it’s not. And perhaps that’s because it’s at the confluence of a number of other trends – healthy eating, animal welfare concerns, climatarians (see below), sustainability, etc. Expect to see more plant-based offerings from the protein case to the refrigerated case. As the proliferation continues, we’ll start to see more label scrutiny. Up to now, clean label hasn’t been much of a concern, but it’s beginning to pick up.
Weed – Yes, now that it’s no longer forbidden, the race is on to get CBD/hemp/THC products to market. The market is still a muddle from both a regulatory and a research standpoint. While it will take time for them get sorted. The market is not waiting, and it’s fun to watch all the innovation.
Climatarians – This moniker more aptly reflects the growing numbers of people embracing plant-based eating because of the environment. They’re not vegetarians nor flexitarians. For this cohort, choosing plant-based foods is not about disliking animal-based foods or because they feel plant-based is a healthier choice. They’re solely motivated by climate change. The majority are younger consumers, but this cuts across all age demographics.
Personalized nutrition – Seems we’re getting ever closer to being able to affordably provide individualized dietary recommendations. Microbiome research reveals more and more about the role of nutrition in human health. On the one hand it’s fascinating, on the other it seems limiting. Yes, we know some things aren’t necessarily good for us, but it’s nice to be able to choose them if you want.
Mood foods – This seems like a precursor to personalized nutrition – mood boosting foods to reduce stress, avoid anxiety and depression. This ties back to the Weed trend above—as mood enhancement is one of CBD’s purported benefits. My advice on this is start with an apple a day. Apples are a great mood enhancer.
101 flavors – The flavor predictions are always my favorite, as it’s a chance for exploration. Have I heard of the flavors? Have I tried them? Is there a new culinary adventure in my future? And there are plenty to ponder this year from the familiar – blueberry – to the exotic – ube vanilla. Fermented flavors, Asian and Latin American ones, flavors with benefits, Indian cuisine…oh where to start. I’d recommend the beverage aisle.
Snacking – In this ongoing trend, people want foods and beverages that fit their needs, not necessarily ones that fit a particular time of day. A good example of this is the Millennial desire to eat whatever they want, whenever they want, which evolved into the blurring of dayparts and snacking as a meal trend. Today Gen Z’s snacking behavior revolves more around shareable, customizable, photo-worthy, boldly flavored snacks. They like to share their snacks in person and virtually.
Sustainability – At Tree Top, sustainability is not new to us. Our farmer growers are constantly looking at ways to conserve water, prevent soil erosion, reduce pesticide use, make more bee-friendly environments, etc. Actually, the reason the Tree Top cooperative got started was to find a use for all the ‘ugly’ fruit that didn’t meet the cosmetic standards of the fresh market. So, sustainability is near and dear to our hearts and has been for many years. It’s gratifying to see consumer attitudes toward sustainability catch up to ours. Sustainability is becoming a stronger driver of purchase intent for consumers and looks to continue in that vein going forward.
Our growers carefully cultivate, and harvest fruit used in Tree Top products and ingredients. We work with our growers to provide transparency and traceability from the field to the shelf, bridging the gap so people can understand where and how their food is grown. Visit our video resource library to learn more about our growers and how our fruit is grown and processed.
If you’d like the added benefits of using fruit in your formulation, we can help. Tree Top’s fruit powders (apple, pear, and plum) offer a wide range of benefits including:
- Flavor Enhancement
- Improved humectancy
- Control water activity
- Increased yield
- Fat reduction
- Extended shelf-life for baked goods
- Microbial inhibitor
Feel free to contact me if you’re interested in learning more about Tree Top or if you want to share your predictions for 2020.