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The 7 Top Industry Food Trends 2020

December 18, 2019

Predicting food trends isn’t always easy, or accurate. We’ve carefully combed through  the predictions for 2020, and while some seem dubious, others look to be right on the mark. At Edlong, we continually monitor trends, helping our clients meet taste and labeling demands for new innovations, as well as tried-and-true classics. We believe the following “Lucky 7” Food Trends 2020 have a strong possibility of impacting shopping lists …

1. Plant-Based Foods

Innova reports a 68% average annual growth over the past five years in food and beverage launches with a plant-based claim. That upward trend will continue in 2020. According to the Innova report, “When buying meat or dairy alternatives, consumers prefer the plant-based claim rather than vegetarian or vegan by a wide margin.” That’s because consumers equate vegetarian and vegan with healthy, even when that isn’t always the case. Which leads us to …

2. A Return to Fruits and Veggies

According to FoodNavigator, consumers will also be looking to increase their intake of real fruits and vegetables. This is partly due to signs of a backlash against the growing and popular plant-based burger category, with complaints about higher sodium content and chemicals in these heavily-processed meat replacements (for example, a Beyond Burger patty has more calories, sodium and the same amount of fat as a Burger King Whopper patty).

3. Emphasis on Texture

Innova also calls out the importance of texture as one of their Food Trends 2020. According to Innova, 70% of consumers say texture gives food and beverages a more interesting experience, and most younger consumers agree with the statement, “I care more for the texture experience than for the ingredient list of a food product.” At Edlong, we have long known that taste is just part of a culinary experience, which is why our flavors have many functional benefits including improving mouthfeel.

4. On-the-Go Healthy Snacks

The snacking market has seen tremendous growth the last few years and, reports, “The type of snacks consumers are now seeking has ultimately shifted towards healthier alternatives with functional benefits.” In 2018, the global healthy snack market exceeded USD $23 billion and there are expectations for it to reach USD $33 billion by 2025. With busy lifestyles, however, snacking needs to be convenient, which is why meat snacks, cereal and granola bars are leading this category growth. Satisfying demand for healthier snacks while also maintaining superior taste is the challenge, and one reason why Edlong flavors are a popular way to keep authentic taste in better-for-you products.

5. Guilt-Free Desserts

Health-conscious brands, including many confectionery brands, are promoting ‘guilt-free’ indulgence by lowering the amount of sugar in their products—continuing a trend we’ve seen the last few years. Some brands are doing this by incorporating more artificial sweeteners, while others are simply reducing the amount of sugar in their products. The need to maintain sweetness while lowering sugar in foods and beverages is one reason why Edlong dairy flavors continue to surge in popularity.

6. Sustainable Practices

Sustainability call-outs have come to packaging and many consumers, especially Gen Z consumers, are paying attention. FoodNavigator notes, “Upcycled products, those using ingredients that are normally discarded, are become more prevalent.” They cite tea made from discarded avocado leaves and frozen pizza made with toppings from vegetable scraps as two examples. U.S. grocery giant Whole Foods agrees that ‘values-driven’ consumers are making an impact. They publish an annual list of top food trend predictions, and Regenerative Agriculture practices top their list.

7. Taste is On-Trend, Again

Interestingly, Global Food World Life Magazine lists their #1 trend as ‘taste.’ They remind us that “the culinary experience is a search for pleasure, a feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction. Naturally, sensory needs, especially flavor, must be the first to get fulfilled.” Edlong can help nearly any food or beverage achieve consistent and better taste, even in dairy-free products as highlighted by our more than 250 dairy-free flavors.

Forget Food Trends 2020—2021’s Trends Will Be …

Although we can’t accurately look that far into the future, we suspect a lot of the same trends we’ve seen this past year and the last few years will continue to rise in popularity. The desire for healthier foods and snacks, demand for companies to adhere to sustainable practices, and the avoidance of sugars and artificial ingredients are already well entrenched in the mindset of the global consumer. At Edlong, we continue to monitor Food Trends 2020 and beyond, and help chefs and food processors capitalize on them.