The world of foods and restaurants are always changing. As dietary needs, allergies and even technology keep growing and expanding, restaurants have to change with them in order to stay in business. However, more often than not it is actually the food industry that sets the trends and shows us what we should be eating and how we should be doing it. With that in mind here are 10 Food and Resturant Trends That Will Define 2020.
10. More Diverse Kids Menus
Today the world is full of ‘foodies.’ People that love to try different food, from different parts of the world and they love nothing more than to share their love of food with the world. The ‘Foodies’ have expanded what it means to eat and enjoy food and more importantly, they are parents of budding foodies. With more and more access and exposure to different foods, as well as differently sourced food such as organic and locally sourced food. Children are growing up with a broader understanding of taste, flavors and the whole food experience. Long gone are the days when all kids were happy with Chicken Fingers or Mac and Cheese. Nowadays kids want sushi and other Japanese delights as well as more Meditarainian and African cuisine. This is starting to be reflected in children’s menus in restaurants and it’s only going to get bigger. It is pleasing to see the younger generation growing up with a broader and more open mind when it comes to food. This is one trend we hope will continue to grow as more restaurants expand their kid’s menus.
9. ‘Locavore’ Eating
There are many trends that have sprung up in food over the last few years and one of the big ones has been organic. More and more people are going ‘organic’ with the food they eat and the ingredients they buy. Whether it is home cooking or restaurant-quality food, people want to know more about the food they are eating, where it’s come from and how it is sourced. While more restaurants and companies are getting behind the organic trend and sourcing their ingredients from a better quality and more sustainable source, the next big trend in food could be the Locavore. Locavores focus on eating food that is grown and developed locally. While this trend does stick with the organic way of eating, it actually goes one further and only uses food that is produced within a short geographical location. You may think that being on a Locavore diet may be good when cooking at home but many restaurants are already behind this trend and proudly boast that their menus are all from locally grown farmers and distributers so, this is a trend that could really explode in 2020. The benefits of local eating isn’t just to get fresher or more organic produce, it actually helps smaller business and local economies, plus it’s beneficial for the environment too as it cuts the carbon footprint and produces more sustainable food.
8. Non-Alcoholic Happy Hour
When out for a meal at a nice restaurant, or having friends over for a home-cooked meal, there is nothing nicer than having a drink to round off the evening. Whether it’s a nice cold beer, a bottle of fancy wine or one of those experimental cocktails you’ve always wanted to try, alcohol can make the evening that little bit more special and enjoyable. However, one trend that has started to really get some steam is the idea of cocktails and wines but without the alcohol. Known as ‘Mocktails’ these non-alcoholic drinks have all the flair and taste of a nice cocktail but won’t give you that headache the following morning if you have one too many. More and more restaurants are promoting their ‘Mocktail happy hour’ as this trend looks set to become even bigger in 2020. A lot of companies are putting time and effort into producing better tasting non-alcohol drinks, so much so that they are beginning to taste like the real thing. As a lot of people become more and more health-conscious, alcohol is something that is being cut out of a lot of diets and ‘Mocktails ‘ could hold the key to still being able to enjoy the evening without the empty calories of alcohol. Mocktails are also family-friendly, so people with young children or large families can enjoy a ‘mocktail happy hour’ together, which is another reason this trend is becoming more popular.
7. More ‘Open’ Kitchens In Restaurants
Over the years restaurants have changed dramatically. Gone are the days when fine dining meant sitting in a large dining room while the kitchen and staff were in another part of the restaurant, out of sight. We didn’t know how our food was prepared or cooked, or even where it was. What happened in the kitchen stayed in the kitchen and we all just hoped that nothing untoward happened to our food. Nowadays we all want to know everything about the food we eat; not just where it comes from or how it is prepared, but we also want to see the food actually being cooked. More and more restaurants are going with the ‘open plan’ kitchen so that the dinners can see exactly what goes on in the kitchen. This trend may have started out with chain restaurants such as pizza and pasta places, but fancier restaurants and finer dining places are using this trend in their restaurant as well. The open plan style kitchen is showing the public that the restaurant has nothing to hide when it’s cooking our food, plus it makes more of a connection between customers and restaurants that will make even the fanciest and most expensive of restaurants feel a bit more warm and friendly.
6. Different Butters and Flours
The food world is constantly changing and while some of that has to do with eating trends and even money, a lot of menu change comes because of allergies and food intolerance. As allergies grow more commonplace amongst us, the food we eat has to change with it. Whether that’s at restaurant level or home cooking, food intolerance is the driving force behind what a lot of people choose to eat. Two staples in the culinary world are butter and flour. Without either of those two key ingredients, cooking becomes very difficult indeed. While many people are becoming either allergic or intolerant to these two foods, alternatives have already started to become commonplace. However, in 2020 the butter and flour alternatives are set to explode even further. Creating butter and flour from nuts is not a new thing but it is set to expand even further with the likes of chickpea, macadamia and even watermelon seeds being used more to produce an alternative butter choice for both intolerance to butter and for a truly vegan-friendly option. Flour is branching out into fruit and vegetables as things like banana flour will become more commonplace in our restaurants and grocery stores in 2020. Maybe one-day dairy-based butter and wheat flour will be a thing of the past and a distant memory like the VHS and cassette tapes.
5. More Diverse Drinks
We have already mentioned on our list of food and restaurant trends that will define 2020 the nonalcoholic cocktails. While this trend does look set to explode and become part of the mainstream dining culture, alcohol is not ready to be beaten quite yet. Alcohol has had a big image change over the last few years with more companies adopting a more artisan or stylish way of selling their products. Beer, in particular, has seen its image radically change with more microbreweries and craft beer on the market, drinking beer has become more on par with wine tasting than it has with the ‘frat boy’ image it once had. While that doesn’t look to change any time soon, the alcohol industry is preparing for some new changes to hit the mainstream. One big addition to the alcohol family that is set to be big in 2020 is the Korean drink Makgeolli. This milky, off-white sparkling rice wine looks set to topple the likes of Sake and other Japanese wines and beers. As well as having new choices for our alcohol menus, wine is going to have some big changes in the up and coming year. While many countries are producing some great wines, all of which we are glad to try! The way in which wine is grown and made is set to change. Switching to a biodynamic process; which means that the grapes have been grown to a certain standard of organic level as well as the soil is treated with supplements for a better-growing cycle. Even the phases of the moon are taken into account when growing and then picking the fruit. With a more scientific approach to organic winemaking, the wine list on a restaurant menu could be even more satisfying in 2020.
4. Non-Human Element
While the world of technology marches forward at an alarming pace, restaurants are happy to take advantage of all the new tech that is around in order to make the dining experience better for us all. While apps have been a big hit with restaurants, especially within the fast-food market, self-ordering kiosks have also been a big boom. Put both of those things together and most of us don’t even have to speak to the staff in order to get our food. While apps and self-ordering kiosks are set to expand even more in 2020, in fact, there are certain restaurants, such as McDonald’s, which are developing face recognition kiosks. The idea is that you walk up to one of these kiosks, and if you have been in that restaurant before, it will recognize your face and know what kind of food you like to order. This is supposed to bring down wait times and line ups in fast food restaurants. If face recognition technology wasn’t enough, the world of dining is set to take on another science fiction twist with the introduction of robots into the kitchen. Companies such as Moley, Cooki and Chef Cui have been experimenting with fully automated robots in their kitchens for years. Not just for food prep either but a robot chef that has unlimited international cooking recipes in its memory. Now, having a robot in every kitchen with sophisticated AI technology, maybe a few years off, but expect to see more developments on this front in 2020 and who knows, one day soon when you go to a fancy restaurant and want to congratulate the chef, you may be greeted by a robot.
3. Less Meat
One of the big trends to come out of 2019 has been the plant-based burger. With so many fast-food restaurants giving a meat-free option to their popular menu items, 2019 was definitely the year of the plant. Beyond Meat was one of the real winners of the plant-meat movement as their protein products really took off with fast food lovers who didn’t want the meat. Whether you don’t eat meat for dietary reasons, lifestyle choices or you simply don’t like meat, Beyond Meat has been the bridge that connects the food that tastes like meat but hasn’t harmed a single animal in the process. 2020 looks to be an even bigger year for the meat substitute. Not only are more restaurants, both fast food, and fancier dining, adding this product to their menus but grocery stores are expanding their range so we can all enjoy this meat-free product in the comfort of our own home. With more meat ranges and alternatives being adding on almost a weekly basis, expect to see a lot more plant-based meat on menus and in grocery stores near you.
2. Fast – Casual Resturants Will Dominate
For many years the world was divided into two types of dining experience; fine dining and fast food. The fine dining element meant any restaurant in which you were seated to a table, had staff waiting on you and you paid for everything after the meal. Fast-food was completely the opposite; you got the food yourself, most people didn’t even sit down to eat and you pay as you order. While both types are still hugely popular ways to enjoy food, there is another option that has been creeping up on us for the past decade or so and that’s the Fast – Casual restaurant. This area of dining is the ‘in-between’ ground between dinning and fast food. While these restaurants don’t offer full table service, they do promote a better quality of food than fast-food restaurants with less frozen food and more freshly prepared dishes with higher quality ingredients. Fast-Casual has boomed over the last decade and this trend looks set to get even bigger in 2020 as more of us opt for the Fast-Casual option when choosing our meals. The Fast-Casual movement has restaurants such as Panera Bread and Chipotle Mexican Grill on their team so expect this trend to become even bigger in 2020.
1. Innovative Food Delivery
On our list of trends that look to change the food and restaurant world in 2020, one area that is becoming increasingly popular and more diverse, is food delivery. No longer is takeout centered around the humble pizza or other fast foods, it has become big business for most restaurants who want their customers to enjoy their food in the comfort of their own home. Even home cooking has taken a big swing towards this area as many companies offer meals to be cooked at home. They send you the fresh ingredients along with the recipe so you can enjoy restaurant standard food that you make yourself. While the demand for food delivery rises higher and higher, restaurants have to become more innovative when it comes to getting the food to us. With the popularity of food ordering apps, usually from a third party, already big business within the delivery market, other areas of technology are being looked into in order to make food delivery better and more productive. Vehicle sharing and driverless vehicles are one area that is already being tested. Vehicle sharing has already become the ‘norm’ when it comes to delivery food, but driverless vehicles have taken a big leap forward in recent times and we may well be seeing more of this in 2020. The next phase of food delivery could well be taken to the skies as drone use has been heavily tested with a lot of companies. We are not sure how far drone delivery is from being the main way we get our food, but we could see more of this kind of this technology used in the up and coming year.