Food Industry Trends 2020

Last year was very much about faux-meat, eco-friendly packaging, traceability and allergen awareness!

Now that we’re well and truly into 2020 and as always, a new wave of food industry trends and innovations coupled with people having more time during lockdown to consider their food options has thrown up some interesting results. While the bars and restaurants may be closed, these are the latest food predictions for the year ahead.…if not already upon us!

Regenerative Agriculture

While there has been a positive shift towards eco-friendly packaging, the focus is expected to move towards support of the environment at a grass roots level. This is a term used to describe farming practices which improve soil health and minimise carbon footprint. From farmers, to producers, to retailers – a vested interest in how land is used along with animal management practices to improve soil health and limit carbon production.

Alternative Sugars

As consumers turn their backs on refined sugar in favour of products such as honey and maple syrup, expect to see an influx in new syrups derived from pomegranate, dates, coconut, and sweet potato into a whole range of products and not just desserts.

West African Flavours

Strong, earthy and rich - West African flavours will continue to win favour. Already popular and typically consisting of tomatoes, onions and chilli peppers as a base, the addition of peanuts, lemongrass and ginger add to the mix and are proving popular with consumers. Also expect to see African superfoods such as tamarind, moringa, plus grains including teff, sorghum and mfonio gradually appear too on ingredient lists.

Fancy Flours

While demand for flour has been at an all time high, before long we’ll be expected to move on from traditional plain flour as a new range of unusual and interesting types join the shelves. Already, buckwheat and coconut flour are established but expect to see an emergence in fruit and vegetable flours, such as cauliflower and banana, alongside new super blends promoting everything from enhanced fibre to protein.

Fridge Snacks

Driven in part by increased time spent at home, the refridegable snack market has already taken off. Everything from picked vegetables to new and unusual soups plus dips. Generally healthier and more nutritious with an emphasis on good flavours.

Butters and Spreads

The hugely popular nut butter market is here to stay, but a new wave of butters will be arriving including spreads made from superfood pili. Most brands aware of the environmental impact as well as brand association are looking to either eliminate the use of palm oil or promote a responsibly sourced Palm Oil version or alternative.

Meat-Plant Blends

While vegetarianism / veganism was the major trend of the past year, not everyone is prepared to switch which in turn heralds growth of flexitarian market. Think of burgers that aren’t totally meat-free, but simply use less of it, with say 25 per cent mushroom content instead.

Kids Food

It’s only natural that as we become more adventurous in our tastes and eat better quality food, then our children follow suit.

In the next 10 years, 80 per cent of millennials are expected to have children meaning many of them will be introducing more adventurous and sophisticated foods early on. Maybe not the end of the chicken nugget just yet but expect to see better ingredients, organic status plus environmental provenance too.

‘Food brands are taking notice for the next generation – possibly our first true “foodies” – expanding the menu beyond nostalgic foods with better-for-you ingredients and organic chicken nuggets. They’re bridging the gap from old-school basic kids’ menus and taking more sophisticated younger palates into consideration.’ Goodbye chicken nuggets, hello non-breaded salmon fish sticks!

Alcohol-Free Drinks

The quality of non-alcoholic beverages as a credible alternative is now recognised as well as widely available in bars through to shops. The range and volume is expected to grow, particularly in beers and ‘faux spirits’.

The food and drink processing sector is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK. To discuss recruitment within the UK food and drink industry, either as a job seeker (food jobs) or employer then contact Matthew Griffiths, Senior Consultant - FMCG Division or visit

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Matt Griffiths

9th January

Manufacturing Industry Insight