Food Trends

Whole Foods Issues Top 10 Trends

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

Oct 28, 2019

Plant-based products in various forms dominate the fifth annual list from Whole Foods of the top 10 food trends for 2020.

The list, compiled by a team of 50 regional and global buyers, culinary experts and other Whole Foods employees, looks at broad trends in ingredients and other aspects of processed food. “The 2020 trends represent a new crop of flavors and products for consumers to watch out for both in and outside the aisles of their local grocery stores,” Whole Foods said in a release.

Whole Foods’ 10 trends are:

Regenerative agriculture. Whole Foods defines this as “farming and grazing practices that restore degraded soil, improve biodiversity and increase carbon capture.”

Flour power. Flours from nontraditional grains like teff, used to make Ethiopian flatbread, and non-grain ingredients like tigernut, will start to interest home cooks. Cauliflower and other ingredients that are growing in popularity in premade items like pizza crusts will become more available as ingredients.

Foods from West Africa. Whole Foods identifies this region as a source of foods “from indigenous superfoods to rich, earthy dishes.” Ingredients of interest include superfoods like moringa and tamarind, and lesser known cereal grains like sorghum, fonio, teff and millet.

Refrigerated snacks. Removing snacks from the shelf-stable category means they can be processed with fewer ingredients. Snacks becoming available in the refrigerated aisles include hard-boiled eggs with savory toppings, pickled vegetables, mini dips and dippers, and certain kinds of snack bars.

Plant-based, beyond soy. The dominance of soy in plant-based proteins will abate as allergenic issues come to the forefront. Alternatives include mung bean, hempseed, pumpkin, avocado, watermelon seed and golden chlorella.

Butters and spreads. Butters made from nuts and seeds like macadamia, watermelon and chickpeas will form the basis for creamy vegan spreads.

Rethinking the kids’ menu. As children are encouraged by their parents to eat more adventurously, they’ll be open to such dishes as foods that are fermented, spiced or rich in umami flavors, and colorful pastas in fun shapes made from alternative flours.

Not-so-simple sugars. New sources of sweetness include syrupy reductions from fruit sources like monk fruit, pomegranates, coconut and dates, and syrups made from starches like sorghum and sweet potato.

Meat-plant blends. As a way of appealing to “flexitarians,” meat-plant blends of ground protein will increase in popularity. Plant additives will include ingredients like mushrooms and “Lika Plus” (wheat, mushroom, barley yeast and water).

Zero-proof drinks. As non-alcoholic “mocktails” increase in popularity, ingredients that are specifically formulated and distilled to imitate the taste of the alcoholic component like gin will give them near-authentic taste.