FAPC Predicts top food trends 2020


Protein options, refrigerated snacks, a new generation of foodies and more are on the menu for 2020, as the Oklahoma State University Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center selects the hottest food trends for the upcoming year.

Andrea Graves, FAPC business planning and marketing specialist, said change is inevitable and trends help indicate what is coming next. “Businesses need to pay attention to trends in order to find new growth opportunities and their target audiences,” Graves said. “Understanding these trends helps businesses stay ahead of upcoming change, whether it is regulatory or a new flavor profile. Also, in most cases, consumers drive the trends and are looking for products and companies that are meeting their needs and lifestyles.”

Take a look at the top 10 trends for 2020, according to FAPC.

PROTEIN POWER: While there is no doubt protein will be on the menu in 2020, the number of choices available to follow this food trend seem almost endless. This past year saw a surge in popularity for food items such as the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger – imitation ground meat patties made of structured plant proteins and other ingredients derived from non-meat sources. The start of the new decade will likely shed even more light on these products and others like meat plant blends, or ground proteins made of both meat and plant additives, to appeal to the flexitarian.

GREENS, GREENS AND MORE GREENS: Ready to amp up your veggie intake? You’re in luck, because 2020 will see a wave of vegetables hitting the table. From a focus on veggie powered snacks to carb substitutes like cauliflower pizza crusts seen on store shelves, there’s no doubt the upcoming year will continue be home to vegetables of all shapes and sizes.

PUSHING FOR PROBIOTICS: If you’re a fan of Tik Tok or Twitter, you’ve likely heard of the kombucha girl. While 2019 might have been her year of social media fame, 2020 will be the year where drinks like kombucha hit their stride. Next year, consumers will find themselves seeing a flood of probiotic focused food and beverages on the shelves. These foods and drinks will provide a flavorful and healthy alternative to other dining options.

CULTURED CUISINE: Even if you don’t have a vacation planned for the upcoming year, your dining options can help take you on an adventure. Dining options likely will adopt a more global perspective in 2020 as customers search for cuisine from new cultures. People will express a desire to try new foods and cultural foods next year.

ICE, ICE BABY: The iconic song may not make a major comeback, but refrigerated snacks are expected to spike in popularity next year. These types of snacks will be recognized for requiring less processing and containing fewer ingredients. From pickled vegetables to mini containers of dips and dippers, pull out your winter coats for 2020 because you are going to be spending more time browsing the chilled aisles of the grocery store.

BUTTERS AND SPREADS AND BLENDS, OH MY: You won’t need to follow the yellow brick road to find these rising stars. Consumers will see a growing demand for a variety of butters made with nuts and seeds and creamy spreads like hummus in 2020. These tasty additions to snacks will add some spice and flavoring to the year.

SO LONG SUGAR: In 2019, consumers saw a growing demand for healthier options, and 2020 will continue this trend with a decrease in sugary foods. The sweetness consumers crave will instead be provided by syrupy reductions from fruit sources like pomegranates and coconuts.

SEARCH FOR SUSTAINABILITY: This past year isn’t the first time you heard the buzzwords sustainability or climate change. It was a landmark year for new activists or theories for how to improve the sustainability of the planet. With all the talk, it’s likely no surprise that 2020 will likely bring a new demand to the food industry. Consumers are going to place even more emphasis on food coming from agricultural and processing operations that support regenerative agriculture and are working to increase biodiversity and decrease carbon emissions.

YOUNG PEOPLE, DEVELOPED TASTES: A whole new generation of foodies is emerging as millennial parents raise their children. These young critics will start to make a splash in 2020, and many food companies and restaurants will start upgrading their kids’ menus to meet the demands of these diners.

MAINSTREAM MOCKTAILS: With young employees actively pursuing their lofty career goals, happy hour has become a fairly normal after hours activity. Next year, however, happy hour will likely be home to more nonalcoholic beverages. From zero proof drinks to faux alcohols and even sparkling waters, mocktails likely are going to become the new stars of happy hour.

FAPC, a part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, helps to discover, develop and deliver technical and business information that stimulates and supports the growth of value-added food and agricultural products and processing in Oklahoma.