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Food Trends to Watch in 2020



‘Intuitive Eating’, ‘Sustainability’ and ‘New Food Technology’ are just some of the food trends to watch in 2020, according to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation. IFIC is a US-based non-profit group which aims to effectively communicate science-based information on health, food safety and nutrition.
“Each year, our team of registered dietitians, nutrition experts and consumer researchers take a look at what we can expect in the coming year,” said Joseph Clayton, president and CEO of IFIC. “In 2020, we predict that topics surrounding sustainability, alternative foods and healthy diets will move in some unexpected directions.”

Sustainability: From Buzzword to Specifics
Interest in sustainability has grown for the past few years, and while in 2020 the topic will mature and evolve, confusion still surrounds the exact definition of sustainability, IFIC said.
For several years, the foundation’s annual Food and Health Survey asked whether sustainability was a factor in consumers’ food and beverage purchasing decisions. Between 2012 and 2018, that number ranged between 35% and 41% of consumers. However, when the 2019 Survey asked whether “environmental sustainability” was a factor in purchase choices, that number dropped to 27%, indicating that consumers’ notions of sustainability extend beyond just the environment, IFIC said.
When it comes to environmental sustainability, consumers are eager to know and do more. According to the 2019 Food and Health Survey, 63% said it is hard to tell whether the food choices they make are environmentally sustainable. Among that group, nearly two-thirds (63%) say environmental sustainability would have a more significant influence on their preferences if it were easier to know. Consumers also consider factors such as the labelling of various product ingredients and attributes, along with production methods and food packaging, to be under the sustainability umbrella. Also, expect concepts like soil health and regenerative agriculture — “giving back to the land” rather than just conserving resources—to gain traction in 2020.

A New Climate for ‘What We Eat’
In 2020, consumers will become more concerned about the role the food system plays in climate change, such as the effects of agricultural production, food waste and transportation of goods. Environmental concerns will continue to drive greater adoption of plant-based diets. However, consumers' conceptions of plant-based diets vary. About one-third (32%) of consumers say a plant-based diet is a vegan diet. In contrast, another 30% define it as a diet that emphasizes minimally processed foods that come from plants, with limited consumption of animal meat, eggs and dairy.
Another one in five (20%) believe it to be a vegetarian diet that avoids animal meat. In contrast, 8% say it is a diet in which you try to get as many fruits and vegetables as possible, with no limit on consuming animal meat, eggs and dairy.

Intuitive Eating and the “Un-Diet”
In 2020, expect consumers to consider new ideas about how and why they eat, said IFIC. Fad diets and get-thin-quick regimens will continue to lose popularity, supplanted by more holistic and sustainable concepts like intuitive eating, which rejects many of the tenets of fad diets like “good foods” and “bad foods.” The “un-diet” will focus less on food restrictions and more on natural cues our body gives us, like when we are full, and on healthier relationships with food overall. Millennial consumers increasingly consider health as more than just a number on a scale. IFIC’s 2019 Food and Health Survey found that 49% of those age 18-34 are familiar with mindful and intuitive eating, while only 27% of consumers over 50 have heard of the terms.

More food alternatives
Lastly, food producers will continue to develop more alternative options for consumers who don't want to drink milk or eat dairy products — so expect milk alternatives like soy, almond, coconut, rice, and oat milk into more products. Also, food companies are poised to make more progress towards plant-based products that more closely mimic the taste and other positive attributes of meat. IFIC said cell-based meat will become more and more viable, and closer to within reach of average consumers. (Image from Pixabay)

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