2019 Food Trends: Chocolate Covered Bugs, Peganism, Oat Milk and More!

Words: Julie Velosa

Every new year brings new trends in the foodie world and it’s always exciting to see what’s going to be hot. Opinions seem to vary across the board and only time will tell as the year progresses. We take a look at a few things across the globe that are making headlines as predicted 2019 food trends. Roll on a year of yumminess, creativity and innovation.

2019 Food Trends

Sustainability, Ethical Eating, Traceability

Small Changes you can make to eat more ethically
No matter what corner of the world you find yourself in, the trend of ethical eating continues to pick up pace and thank goodness for that. With the ever-growing global population, consuming mindfully has never been more necessary.

People are being responsible about what they eat and questioning supply chains – forcing manufacturers and restaurants alike to be accountable for how they source foods. Long may it continue.

Veganism and Peganism

2019 food trendsWhether you’re making a small change by including meat-free meals in your diet or going the whole hog into veganism, every change makes a difference. The fact is that the vegan/plant-based lifestyle saw huge growth in 2018 and looks set to continue in 2019 and beyond.

So, what is peganism? It’s an amalgamation of the popular paleo style of eating (hunter-gatherer) but less hunter and more gatherer. It’s about incorporating the same methodologies (good quality fats, adequate protein – plant based in this case, sourcing responsibly and eating clean) but with a focus on plant-based proteins. If you want to make the change but are afraid you’ll miss meat, fear not, lab-grown ‘motherless meat’ is coming.

Less Packaging, More Thought

2019 food trends

Conscious consumption continues to gain momentum and it extends not only to the food we’re eating but how we’re eating it too. We’ve seen a huge increase in restaurants switching from plastic straws to paper and biodegradable options, as well as less packaging (styrofoam in particular) in general being highlighted.

We applaud every small step taken to improve what we consume but also how we’re consuming it. If you’re wondering why this is so important, google ‘trash island’ or check out one of the many videos on YouTube to give you some idea. Trying to lower your impact?  Check out these helpful tips to reduce single use plastics in your life.

Low or No Alcohol Drinks (Move over Mocktails)

2019 food trends

It may seem completely ironic to go to a bar with the intention of only ordering non-alcoholic beverages but this trend is massively on the rise. A plethora of really yummy low or no-alcohol drinks (not just mocktails) have found a home in bars and restaurants across the country, holding appeal for both teetotallers and drinkers alike.

Everything from non-alcoholic ciders to beers and even de-alcoholised wines and gins. We’re not just talking grape juice in a wine shaped bottle, these drinks are designed to taste like the real thing but to have none of the de-sobering effects.

Oat Milk

2019 food trends

Word on the street is that oat milk is going to be kicking its non-dairy counterparts to the curb. Nah, just kidding, almond milk and the likes are not going anywhere just yet. Oat milk, however, is making it big around the globe for its creaminess and the fact that it’s nut-free, dairy-free and possibly gluten-free (depending on how it’s made).

It’s got the added benefit of protein and while it’s still tough to find it locally, we predict there’ll be a bunch of it available soon. In the meanwhile check out this small-batch oat milk produced in Cape Town by Soma.

Culturally Diverse Food

2019 food trends

Poke and other Pacific Rim foods gained popularity in 2017/2018 and they show no signs of slowing down. Add to that lots of delicious Middle Eastern food (thinkOttolenghi’s Simple, also hummus and tahini are on the rise) plus foods of previous Soviet Union states – referred to as ‘the Stans’ (Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan) by restaurant consultancy group Baum & Whiteman. We look forward to seeing influences from these destinations on local menus.

Seed Butters

2019 food trends

Move over nut butters, seed butters are the new thing. Blending seeds (pumpkin, watermelon, sunflower, sesame etc) provides a safe alternative for those with nut allergies and they pack a punch in terms of nutrients.


2019 food trends

Snacking on seaweed is becoming more commonplace (and not just in your sushi). It almost seems that while we fix one area of overconsumption (meat, dairy), we create new trends that also hold potential threats when they blow up.

Who knows if the popularity of seaweed or algae would have a negative effect on the ocean (let’s hope not of course) but cooking with these ingredients continues to grow. Look out for wakame, nori and kombu (dried kelp). Packed with umaminess and relatively inexpensive.

Deposits at Restaurants

2019 food trends

Running a restaurant is hard, no matter where you are in the world, it has challenges – food is expensive and food that doesn’t get eaten is wasteful. The idea of a restaurant taking a reservation deposit is already happening in Cape Town and we predict it’ll continue to become more and more popular with high end establishments.

Meal Kits

2019 food trends

Let’s be honest, we’re all time-pressed and thinking of things to cook can be a challenge. Meal kits provide a great solution – you get just what you need (no wasting), you eat only what you have (less gluttony), you learn to cook something new (personal growth) and you don’t have to strain your brain thinking or shopping for multiple ingredients (yay!).

For singles, couples and small families it’s convenience at your fingertips. There have been a few companies doing this for some time now and some mainstream retailers offering it too.

Real Bread

2019 food trends

Bread has had such a bad rap for so long and we’re ready to kick the ‘bread is bad’ vibe to the curb. But before you bolt to the store and grab a loaf of white, remember not all bread is created equal. We’re talking properly made bread (like sourdough from a fermented live culture starter) made with properly milled flour, with the nutrients still intact. The stuff that’s processed to death and comes in a plastic bag is not going to cut it.

If you’re going to eat it, eat the real thing. Find an artisanal baker near you, or learn to bake your ownand banish the guilt. Get the recipe for the No Knead Coffee, Walnut and Cranberry Country Loaf pictured above.

Crunchy Critters

2019 food trends

Companies selling crunchy critters (yes really, one of them is actually called Crunchy Critters) are popping up all over the show. The fact is that eating insects, which are high in protein, has been commonplace around the world for a long time, it’s mostly the squeamish west that needs to get to grips with the concept.

You don’t need to go to your local park and pick them off the bushes though, companies such as Crunchy Critters have done the hard work for you, they ‘ve bagged them up and even coated them in chocolate! Belgian cricket anyone?

Other trends things we hear are hitting the big time…

Rum, foodie working hubs, Japanese cuisine, fancy foraged herbs, hemp and marijuana-infused foods and drinks, healthy desserts (whaaat?), fast casual restaurants with competitive price points (yay!), tea, ghost restaurants (order via app only).

Trends we see hanging around for a while still…

Fermented foods(kimchi, kefir etc) poke, superfoods, our obsession with avo toast, smoothie bowls, nose to tail eating/offal, turmericflorals, botanical and gin!


  1. I am an avid composter and I avoid single-use plastics. I think about every little piece of possible trash and how it can be avoided. I enjoyed your trend section but want to point out (and wish you had) that seaweed snacks are WAY over-packaged and should be avoided and the meal kits are an absolute trash nightmare. They promise recyclability but the ice pack weighs a few pounds and usually gets thrown into the garbage. There is a lot of plastic waste in those boxes. So…I think you make good points that could be better by making some connections between trends – the good, the bad and the ugly.

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