Looking at Food Trends for 2020 – CBD, Superfoods, Super Flours and the Death of the Kids Menu

Words: Stéphanie Pereira

In 2019, we saw that sustainable cooking and sourcing is becoming less of an aspiration and more of an expectation. It is with no doubt that we see this shining through in the food trends for 2020. Have a look into the new and exciting food trends for 2020 that you can look forward to.

Sustainability Throughout with More Emphasis on the Environment

It became an expectation rather than an aspiration of chefs to engage in sustainable practices in 2019. From restaurants offering paper or reusable straws, and the ban on single-use plastics to more sustainable farming, sourcing and preparation, this food trend is going to pick up some serious speed in 2020.

Single-use plastics

Ethical and Sustainable Practices From Land to Plate

Sourcing locally and seasonally isn’t good enough anymore. A heightened knowledge and awareness of, as well as responsibility for, our consumption is going to be a trend of 2020 – by necessity and not as a fad. The urgency is towards ethical and humane farming – from environmentally-safe pesticides to organic and free-range farming – with a bigger emphasis on carbon footprint, water consumption and the magnitude of consumption of natural resources. Earth-friendly packaging is making headway throughout grocery stores, while food vendors and restaurants opt for sustainability and less waste from single-use plastics.

Organic Wine

Expect to enjoy wine from grapes that are grown without pesticides and other chemicals – a concept like the shift that was made years ago towards organic food. Organic wine has been gaining popularity in certain parts of Europe over the past year or so. In 2020, expect to see more orange, organic, and biodynamic wines available.

Food Trends of 2020: A Shift Away from Animal Products Towards a Vegan Lifestyle

More Milk Alternatives

Food Trends of 2020 milk alternatives - oat milk at Vida

Due to the concerns regarding the dairy industry and modern-day intolerance of lactose, milk alternatives have been gaining popularity – with almond and soy milk already being fairly commonplace in most coffee shops. Now, expect to see other milk alternatives enter the scene of food trends of 2020, such as coconut, rice, hemp, and oat milk.

More Vegan Ice Cream

Food Trends of 2020 vegan ice cream recipe

With the popularity of dairy-free products – for moral and health obligations – and the growth rate of the global market for vegan and vegetarian products, it is no surprise that vegan ice cream is going to be a hot food trends for 2020.

Meat Alternatives/ Beyond Burger/ Impossible Burgers

Food Trends of 2020 Beyond Burger

One of the latest big trends to have come from 2019 is the Impossible Burger. This genetically engineered fake meat patty even ‘bleeds’ like meat when cooked. With more and more fast-food establishments and food stores catching on, meat alternatives like ‘soy chicken’ or ‘soy mince’ aren’t going to be the only options. Expect a boom of ‘fake’ meats in 2020 that are being used in the Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger.

Blended Meat

It is with no surprise that avid meat-eaters ironically have a lot to say about plant-based and vegan-friendly foods, especially with the new fake meats seeing substantial growth in the market. In 2020 ‘blended meat’, which is a blend of both meat and plant-based, meatless ingredients, is going to be another attempt at persuading meat-eaters to make that transition towards a lifestyle with less animal-products.

Healthy, More Plant-Based Diets

Health foods and organic products are expected to continue growing in popularity as food trends of 2020 as we become more conscious of what we put in our bodies.

Keto Diet/ Peganism

The ketogenic diet has been a popular trend over the past few years and enforces a low-carb way of eating. It is expected that this type of diet will continue to grow over the next few years, especially with a new variation on the rise. The peganism diet – combining principles of the paleo diet and veganism – enforces a plant-based eating style.

Vegetable Substitutes with an Emphasis on Cauliflower

vegan crumbed cauliflower steak

Cauliflower has exploded in popularity since the dawn of the banting diet – which called for a drastic move away from grains and most carbohydrates. We will see further growth towards plant-based substitutions this year. Cauliflower wraps, gnocchi, pizza base and other starch alternatives will continue to grow as people attempt to cut carbs from their diet.


A shift towards healthier eating isn’t new, and while superfoods aren’t necessarily part of the new food trends of 2020 either, it’s a trend that’s truly evolving.

Health-Benefiting Foods

Superfoods that are on the rise include seaweed, collagen peptides (further supporting the bone broth trend), and nutritional yeast. Superfoods all have incredible benefits for your body cells; promoting overall health and internal bodily functions – the kind that age doesn’t favour. Expect to see foods featuring more gut-healthy probiotics because who doesn’t dream of a balanced diet and a healthy gut – it has proven to be rather difficult to obtain…

Kombucha Becomes a Staple

Making your own Kombucha Food Trends of 2020

The fermented tea, Kombucha, has been widely praised and used for its gut-healthy probiotics and overall benefits. Kombucha started out as a hot trend a few years ago, but contrary to what some may have believed, 2020 will see Kombucha as a staple and not as a fad of the past. There has also been mention of a “hard”, boozy Kombucha that is on the rise with Yelp reviews mentioning “hard kombucha” being up 377% in the past 12 months.

‘Super’ Flours

Avoiding gluten in flours isn’t the point anymore – it’s now about flours that offer more benefits for your body like protein or fibre. Almond flour has been a favoured wheat flour substitute for a while but 2020 brings along other baking flours like coconut, cauliflower, and tiger nut flour. Expect to see traditionally West African superfood and ancient grains like teff, millet and sorghum on local menus.

Superfood Butters and Spreads

Going beyond sunflower seed and almond butter isn’t new, but with the expected ‘butter and spread’ craze of 2020, creativity is allowing for some interesting options while adhering to the elimination, or responsible sourcing at the very least, of palm oil. All sorts of flavour combinations, as well as roasted watermelon seeds and pili nuts, are being introduced in the world of butters and spreads.

A New Era

Millennials and Generation Z are moulding the future and changing the game. These new generations are choosing courses and shaping the way in which modern society progresses. A progressive lot with interesting twists of the game.


Food Trends of 2020 CBD infused

With current global matters, including everything from Trump, global warming, pollution and Instagram, it’s no wonder that every other adolescent suffers from stress and anxiety. And if drinking isn’t the go-to ‘solution’ anymore, CBD is. Cannabidiol is one of the cannabinoids found in cannabis plants.

CBD is not the compound that makes people high – that is THC – it is a cannabinoid that helps you relax, and has been used in studies of anxiety, cognition, movement disorders, and pain. CBD has been on the gradual rise for years but has now snuck its way into the food and drink industry and will be an icon in the food trends of 2020. Expect everything from CBD coffee to bakery products and even alcoholic drinks.

Mocktails and ‘Zero-Proof’ Drinks

leopard's leap de-alcoholised wine

While most people try to start their detox for the month of January – after their festive end-of-year benders – “Dry January” seems to be more of a year-round concept for more and more people. Alcohol doesn’t have many health benefits and is almost always consumed in excess – cancelling any form of health benefits it may have provided – which is why Millennials and Generation Z are drinking less in general.

Non-alcoholic beverages like wine, beer, ciders, and even “G&T’s” have been on the incline with a variety of options in each flavour profile already available in most stores. ‘Zero-proof’ drinks have been the creative solution to the decline in drinking amongst the latest generations in 2020. This has even lead to the opening of some non-alcoholic bars – where mocktails are sure to represent the classics and the avant-garde.

Death of the Kids Menu

kids Vegan Spinach and pea monster pasta

Thanks to Instagram and the overwhelming amount of food content and trends available, children are eager to try a lot more than the standard cheese pizza and chicken nugs. Millennials, more so than prior generations, are exposing their children to multicultural cuisines with a variety of different foods, with different spices, at a much earlier age.

Don’t be surprised to see a lack of ‘Kids Menu’ options in 2020 as children are expected to be dining with a more sophisticated palate.

The Future of Dining

Cross-cultural fusions are becoming widely popular in restaurants with culinary creativity at an all-time high. Chefs and food enthusiasts are forever looking for different ways to enjoy and experience food.

Haute Cuisine

Fine dining is not dead, in fact, in 2020 it will most likely grow and appeal to a new demographic. Haute cuisine and fine dining puts emphasis on quality and the pleasure of food in a way that goes against everything that is ‘buffet-style’.

Fine dining is expected to become more inclusive and accessible to groups of people outside of the elite. As one of the food trends of 2020, upscale hospitality concepts will adapt to appeal to a more social and communal style of eating with the increase of dining out of younger generations.

Interactive dining

People loved to be wowed and (more prevalent in younger generations) like to experience something new – the latest trends. Interactive dining will be a thing of 2020 with concepts of crafted experiences, sensual dining, smaller tasting menus, open kitchens, and open-hearth cooking where diners can see their food being prepared (dinner and a show – people just eat that up).


If not for the dramatic appearance at the table ‘for the gram’, smoking provides a distinct umami flavour that is needed in many plant-based foods. Smoking is going to be an increasing trend in 2020 with the smoked aesthetic adding mysterious ambience during dish presentation, and the BBQ fragrance adding a deeper level of richness to dishes.

Food Trends of 2020: Instagrammable

‘Do it for the gram’ is the reason people would go to all heights to capture that perfect shot of their morning coffee or carefully plated “brekkie bowl”. And it is true, some foods are just more ‘instagrammable’ than others. People want to see pretty things – even food can be judged in the 21st century. Visit our Instagram feed.

Star Fruit

Food Trends of 2020 starfruit

This tart fruit has a number of health benefits and is low in calories but, most importantly, is pretty enough to make for a great social media upload. In a food culture fueled by Instagram in the 21st century – an (un)comfortable home for Millennials – aesthetically pleasing foods will gain popularity in no time. Queue star fruit in food trends of 2020.

Squid Ink-Colouring Dishes

seafood poitjie with squid ink toast

‘A deep black colour to the mundane burger roll or pasta dish – how interesting, how different, I must take a photo.’ A number of different food items with charcoal became a trend not too long ago due to the innovative colour and detoxifying properties of activated charcoal.

The most recent to hit the market is squid ink items which add a slightly salty, briny taste to dishes and, of course, make for a great Instagram story.


Food Trends of 2020 ube

Acai had its run in the popular crowd with its incredible health benefits and romantic colour, but it would appear that we have a new purple contender in the food trends of 2020. Ube is a purple yam with an enticing colour and delicious flavour which makes it great for new dishes to intrigue the masses.

Making its appearance in an array of Instagrammable desserts and ice cream, Ube is the new ‘exotic’ food to take to front-stage.

Fancy, Monstrous Desserts

Food Trends of 2020 Monster dessert
Food Trends of 2020 Monster icecream dessert

‘Monster Shakes’ and #ShakesOfInstagram have been trending for the past couple of years but it’s 2020 now, and the only thing that chefs can do now to out-stage the rest is to become completely over-the-top.

Anyone can browse through millions of photos of cool foods on Instagram, Pinterest, etc. which is why Monstrous Desserts (that could feed 2 families) in the food trends of 2020 will be so outrageous that you can’t help but take a snap for a social media platform that matches its absurdity.

For the Sweet

Refined sugars have been singled out as a healthy diet no-no, but will definitely not be ruled out. We’re only human after all.


Expect to see many variations of pancakes in 2020 – how exciting! The beloved breakfast food is taking on different forms from Japanese soufflé to cinnamon roll, spicy, and savoury pancakes.

Hummus and Dessert Hummus

Beetroot Hummus recipe
Healthy Hummus Recipe

The market for chickpeas grew between 2014 and 2018, and is expected to hit further growth in 2020 with the demand for Middle Eastern and ethnic cuisine increasing. Chickpeas, including the water from the tinned-chickpeas (aquafaba) makes for a great vegan option in cooking and baking.

Hummus, vegan ‘cookie-dough’ and dessert hummus using chickpeas, will fall in line with the ‘butter and spread’ trend of 2020, as well as add some guilt-free, self-justifying nutrition to a delicious dessert.

It’s 2020; a new generation – a new era. And despite the state of our planet, hope is not lost – quite the opposite, actually. The food trends of 2020 show that people are actively making a conscious effort to look after their health, their body and mind, and their environment for themselves, their neighbours and their children to come.

We won’t live forever but we can at least spend our living days enjoying the outrageous creativity of our time in a healthy state of being, and in an environment that is kind, inclusive and providing for all living beings.

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