This past decade has graced us with kombucha, avocado toast, probiotics and a plethora of plant-based proteins—but these are the exciting food trends we can look forward to in the year ahead.
- Cayla Clark
Peanut butter is old news. In fact, even plain old almond butter will no longer cut it. Oh, hello there, watermelon seed butter. Where have you been all my life, macadamia nut butter? If you can pulverize it, you can spread it on a piece of toast. Locally made Jem Organics nut butters are all certified organic, gluten-free, vegan and kosher. From their decadent Salted Caramel Cashew Almond Butter to their fan favorite Pistachio Ginseng Cashew Butter, you'll never have to settle for a boring PB&J again.
You booze you lose - make way for mocktails. Dry happy hours are expected to hit bars and restaurants throughout the country, as the sober curious movement continues to gain momentum. The Stihl Whiskey Bar makes a mean Blackberry Lemonade (no bourbon required), and El Sancho features some epic marg-alternatives, including a fresh Passionfruit Limeade.
Ube, a tasty purple yam that has long been favored by cooks in the Philippines, is expected to gain popularity this year (according to a study published by Yelp). The bright color and sweet taste of the root vegetable will make high-end desserts even more photogenic. While not yet widely available in the US, Yelp notes that restaurants will be incorporating more and more of this colorful tuber in everything from ice cream to doughnuts.
- Ube ice cream is believed to soon be featured on more restaurant dessert menus.
The Aronia berry (commonly known as the Chokeberry) is anticipated to be the next acai. Low in calories and high in vitamin C and antioxidants, these little bluish/black berries are expected to hop right on the 'superfood' train.
Plant-based burgers have been stealing the spotlight for the past several months, but 2020 will see a whole new realm of plant-based foods. Plant-based eggs, plant-based cheeses, plant-based mayonnaise, plant-based gelatin... the list goes on.
Flavored cottage cheese. Next.
#sadfood. We all do it - snap a sneaky pic of a particularly Instagrammable dish while our date is looking the other way (damn, expensive sushi roll, you look good). 2020 will see a rise in #sadfood—food too ugly to share on social media that has found an Instagram home regardless. Check @_sadfood for inspiration.
- Cayla Clark
Edible insects. That's right, the demand for cricket protein continues to increase, as according to James Rolin, the COO of Cowboy Cricket Farms in Bozeman, Montana (set to open this year). His goal is to "normalize the eating of insects in Western culture," and the widespread availability of bugs coupled with their nutritional profile actually makes the dream seem possible. Slightly upsetting, but possible.
Ah, yes. There's nothing better than a piping hot mug of Asian Cheese Tea at the end of a long work week. While combining cheese with tea may seem illegal, the boba-like beverage is anticipated to gain rampant popularity over the next year. Not quite as viciously disgusting as it sounds, cheese tea combines iced tea with a layer of foamed milk, cream cheese and salt. Yum!
We're familiar with veganism and vegetarianism... but what about flexitarianism? This year is expected to see a rise in meat-plant blends. This trend will allow omnivores to cut down on their meat intake while still enjoying something that somewhat loosely resembles a hamburger. The year ahead will also see an increase in dairy and plant-based milk blends. Sure, why not.
White Claw took 2019 by sparkling storm. According to an article published by CNN Business in Sep. 2019, White Claw confirmed a nationwide shortage based on its rampant popularity. What boozy trends does the next year hold? Spiked still water. Pura Still, the innovative company that's currently leading this trend, totes the tagline, "Don't let bubbles weigh you down."
Perhaps the most pertinent of all upcoming food trends concerns reduced waste. Local efforts to reduce food waste led to the optional yard debris service through Bend Garbage & Recycling and Cascades Disposal last year. As according to foodbev.com, 1.3 billion pounds of edible food is wasted annually in the U.S., and this number is expected to jump to 2.2 billion by the year 2025. Fruits and vegetables account for nearly 44% of all wasted food. Most of this produce is discarded because of the way it looks. Grocery stores are expected to feature special bins for their ugly-but-edible produce, marketing deformed fruits and vegetables in fun ways. Additionally, parts of produce that were once discarded (avocado blossoms, sweet potato leaves, beet and carrot greens) will be repurposed into sustainable cuisine.
- Cayla Clark
The death of the unhealthy kids' menu. Bye bye, chicken strips and Kraft mac n cheese. In an interview with Insider, Hudson Riehle, the senior vice president of research at the National Restaurant Association, suggested that as millennials urge their little ones to be more adventurous, standard kids' cuisine will become a thing of the past. "We can expect to see kids' menus incorporating more global flavors — from Mediterranean cuisine to West African dishes," Riehle said.
A rise in gastrophysics - taking a look at how food makes us feel, rather than simply viewing it as fuel.
An ongoing rise in "motherless" meat. Lab-grown meat alternatives will stay on the market and continue to evolve. Evolve into what? Eh, we'll find out.
Deep sea everything. Many jumped onboard the crispy nori snack trend, but 2020 will see a rise in edible sea moss and sea bean snacks. In a 2018 interview with OPB, Bendite Chet Liew mentioned that the lack of cultural diversity had inspired to him to consider opening a local Asian Market. Let's hope 2020 sees some updates on this tentative plan.
Pizza guy robots. In an interview with Nation's Restaurant News, Domino's chief digital officer, Dennis Maloney, confirmed that the popular pizza chain had conducted autonomous vehicle tests with Ford cars in three major cities. Domino's is now testing an unmanned, autonomous rover through a third-party delivery company in California.