20 Food & Drink Trends in 2020  

Although this has been a rough year for most, we seem to be more positive in 2020 about a commitment to a healthier life style. That includes managing our eating & drinking.  Maybe we’ve had more time to notice trends and think about what we’re putting into our bodies. Maybe there has been more time to become more aware of the many great food & drink brands around us. There’s been many trends popping up over the year, and of course some of these have been around for a long time, but it seems now more than ever there’s an increase in positive talk around them.  Here’s my top 20 list of food & drink trends for 2020!  

Maria Reed, Foodservice Executive


1. Alcohol Free   

In general, more people are committing to ‘Dry January’, and are lowering their intake for longer periods of time or cutting out alcohol altogether. Reasons vary from wanting a healthier life-style to challenging themselves to see if they can do it. There are innovative brands entering the market offering 0% promoting quality and taste.  

Brand to watch out for: DRYNKS 

However, during Covid-19, changes in our drinking habits seem to be going in two different directions. Which brings me to the next trend...  


2. Alcohol & Low Alcohol  

A recent survey from Alcohol Change UK stated: “Around one in five drinkers (21%) told us that they have been drinking more frequently since the lockdown.” Reasons again may vary a potential reason is having more time to experiment with a huge selection of different flavours on offer on the market. Low alcohol seems a popular option to consumers wating to cut down.  

Brand to watch out for: The Clean Liquor ~Co~


3. Packaging Ethically Sourced   

This has been a growing trend for years but more brands are focusing on making their packaging environmentally friendly and sustainable as much as possible. A lot of those working in the retail/foodservice sectors will not consider selling a product if the packaging damaging to the environment. Plastic bottles are being replaced with cans, plant-based materials such as bamboo or sugar cane are being used instead of plastic tops, and sustainable paper packaging is replacing plastic packaging.  

Similar to our concerns for environmentally friendly packaging many want to see ethically sourced food & drinks from sustainable sources. Many will only buy tea and coffee if it’s Fairtrade and eggs if they are free-range. Many consumers look to source as many of their products locally where possible. 

Brand to watch out for: Drinks Cubed


4. Natural Caffeine 

You may see natural caffeine trends in the healthy, energy and sports drinks market.   

Many coffees products have a high amounts of sugar added to them, but there are plenty of healthier, organic sources of caffeine on the market. Some natural caffeine sources include; kombucha, yerba Mate, loose-leaf green tea, dark chocolate, guarana berry, black tea, matcha tea.

Brand to watch out for: Noggin


5. Puffed and Popped Snacks  

Although different as to texture and way they are cooked, most puffed and popped snacks are subjected to heat and pressure until popped or puffed.   

Both can be considered as lighter than crisps because of the air content and the fact they are not fried.   

Many puffed and popped snacks are made with protein, fibre, and nutrient-rich foods like kale, beans, beetroot, chickpeas, parsnips, quinoa and lentils.   

Many brands that offer these products pride themselves on being either vegan, gluten free, and/or organically friendly and a healthier substitute from the fried potato crisp.   

Brand to watch out for: Wholesums 


6. Wonky/Ugly Fruit and Veg   

Waste not want not! A 2016 report from Jamie Oliver’s website stated “a staggering 20-40% of fruit and veg produced by UK farmers ends up wasted; either left for animal feed, ploughed back into the land or sent to landfill, because supermarkets don’t want them”. There is on-going talk in 2020 about changing the consumers mind on what is ‘normal’ with the way fruit and veg look as many are being thrown away even though the quality and taste is just the same. There are brands out there using wonky/ugly fruit and veg as their USP and spreading the positive word. Keep it up! After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!   

Brand to watch out for: Flawsome!


7. Meat Alternatives   

Many consumers are wanting to cut down or cut out eating meat so the meat alternative market is booming. To name a few substitutes you may see in your pasta, or on your pizza, or in your burger are; lentils, quinoa, tempeh, nuts, cauliflower, wild rice, beans, tofu, jackfruit and mushrooms.   

Brand to watch out for: Plant Power Tempeh 


8. Plant-based Alternatives   

With more people becoming vegan/vegetarian/pescatarian, plant-based alternatives are all the rage. Also flexitarian’s are on the rise (a person who has a primarily vegetarian/vegan diet but occasionally eats meat or fish). Milk, eggs, meat or cheese all have a plant-based substitute. These alternatives can look, taste and smell the same as to what you’re substituting, it’s just about finding the right product that you’ll enjoy. Innovative brands are introducing everything from plant-based burgers, vegan seafood, plant-based protein milkshakes, vegan cooking spray- you name it and there’s sure to be something out there.  

Brand to watch out for: Unruly

Interested in trying plant based recipes? Check out our Little Rainbow Book of Recipes featuring Unruly!


9. Low Sugar Chocolate   

With more people conscious of their sugar intake many well-known chocolate brands are introducing a low sugar alternative to their range. Some chocolate bars have decreased sugar by 30% while others are entering the market with low sugar chocolate as their USPOther trends in chocolate include; dairy free, vegan, gluten free and nut free.   

Brand to watch out for: Pure Heavenly


10. Apple Cider Vinegar   

A trend that has been on the rise for some. Evidence suggests that apple cider vinegar infused in water promotes a healthier digestive & immune system and appetite control to name a few of the benefits. I’ve heard the recommendation of getting the one with “the mother” if you decide to try this. I’ve tried it myself and I’d recommend the one with added honey for taste! There’s also a trend of apple cider vinegar gummies and brands introducing apple cider vinegar into their drinks and restaurants into their menus for examples on your salad.   

Brand to watch out for: Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with The Mother


11. Seacuterie 

Fish board anyone? Or the actual trending name of this is a seacuterie board. Playing on charcuterie, according to a new report from Waitrose, next year will see the rise of seacuterie - using seafood instead of the traditional meat. This Australian-originated trend involves fermenting, pickling, smoking and/or ageing seafood.   

Brand to watch out for: Can’d’Salmon 


12. Flavoured Sparkling Water   

Consumers seem to be buying sparkling water more than ever as demand of these products are increasing. There’s some great combinations of flavours out there at the moment, whether that be rose & raspberry or peach & jasmine, there’s something for everyone! Some consumers are enjoying trying new flavours as an alternative to drinking alcohol and others as a healthier alternative to the common sugary fizzy drinks.   

Brand to watch out for: Something & Nothing


13. Protein Snacks  

High protein snacks are trending all over the market. They come in all shapes, sizes, textures, ingredients and flavouring. Whether working out or just wanting a high protein snack, there’s great innovative products to choose from.   

Brand to watch out for: Vive 


14. Milk Alternatives  

Consumers are mixing it up from using traditional milk whether in their coffees, cereals, teas, smoothies or just by itself. Milk alternatives have been trending in the market for some time, and arguably one of the first ever 'alternatives' to hit the shelves. Here are some trends that you might be tempted to try if you haven’t already done so:- coconut milk, pea milk, oat milk, almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk, peanut milk, rice milk, walnut milk, hemp milk and flax milk.   

Brand to watch out for: Mighty Pea 


15. Cultural Snacks   

Cultural snacks and coated products are increasingly popular. Whether that be nuts with Nigerian flavouring, crisps roasted with Indian spices or Italian inspired popcorn, our pallets seem keen to explore flavours from around the world!

Brand to watch out for: Native - Popped Lotus Seeds 


16. Healthy Breakfast Alternatives   

During lockdown and with more people working from home, many are experimenting with their breakfasts as they have more time to do so rather than simply grabbing a coffee on the way to work. With avocado on toast being seen as a trendy option to incorporate into the meal, there are smoothies, overnight oats, banana and apples dipped in almond butter, chia seeds on top of your cereal, pancakes made from bananas, make your own sourdough- the list is endless!  

Brand to watch out for: Love Taste Smoothies 


17. CBD  

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in the hemp plant. With CBD spread through many different industries including beauty and wellness it is now trending through the food & drink market. London restaurants have been seen to have CBD on their menus, other CBD-infused options include gummies, coffee, water, baked goods, chocolates, cocktails and savoury foods.  

Brand to watch out for: MUHU 


18. Electrolytes and Vitamins in Drinks   

Two totally different things, but both are trending in the drinks market.   

Vitamins added in drinks such as water promote health and wellness, whether that be vitamin B or D. It can be difficult to get all the vitamins that your body needs so brands are out there to support this.   

Common electrolytes include sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. You may see electrolyte-enhanced waters in sports drinks as the benefits include helping replenish water, sweat (sweat contains electrolytes) and energy lost during exercise.   

Brand to watch out for: Get More Vits


19. Seeds   

These superfoods are being used in all sorts of ways whether that be in your salad, in your cereal, mixed with your oats or in smoothies. Popular seeds on the market are, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds and cumin seeds.   

Brand to watch out for: Munchy 

 20. Superfood Shots    

Flavours you may see in superfood shots (literally a drinking shot of superfood ingredients) include ginger, spirulina, matcha green tea, turmeric, wheatgrass, coconut water & chia seeds, lemon, and cayenne pepper. 

 Brand to watch out for: The Turmeric Co

There you have it and I’m sure trends will change soon as they constantly do, but a common theme with all the above is that they are all considered relatively healthy options. Keep an eye out for the challenger brands and innovative products offering healthy alternatives and substitutes that will benefit your eating habits. After all it is trendy to be healthy and I don’t see that changing anytime soon!   

Wishing you all health and happiness. Thanks for reading


Maria Reed