More meat alternatives and CBD products: The biggest food trends for 2020

It’s a new year, the perfect time to refresh your palate.

Food trends get recycled and revamped year-after-year and experts say this year will be no different.

From the success of brands like Beyond Meat to food delivery services changing the type of meals we eat out, 2020 will also be a year of changes.

Below, registered dietitians share their top food trend forecasts for 2020.

Food for the brain

“We all know that food impacts our physical health but research on our food choices and mental health is a promising area,” said registered dietitian Anar Allidina of Anar Allidina Nutrition.

She says research already shows a strong connection between our gut health and our brain.

4:10 How healthy are meatless meats?How healthy are meatless meats?

“Foods to ease anxiety, depression, mood, improve memory and decrease chronic conditions of Alzheimer’s and dementia will likely be a focus in 2020.”

And besides food, she says specific nutrients to support our brain like omega-3s, magnesium, vitamin D, B vitamins and food sources that contain these nutrients for brain health will be more mainstream.

Look out for more CBD

Registered dietitian Desiree Nielsen says with the second wave of cannabis legalization in Canada, we may see more CBD-based products.

“I am looking forward to seeing how the range of functional CBD products expands,” Nielsen said. “In the U.S., the market has exploded and hemp-based CBD is everywhere from tinctures to iced beverages.”

Allidina also says she expects to see an increase of CBD products, connected to mental health.

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“I think there will be a rise in CBD foods available to help people manage anxiety,” she said. “There are some food companies that have CBD-fortified foods and beverages but get ready to see more of this in 2020.”

Plant-based foods are still popular

2019 was undoubtedly the year of plant-based foods, experts say.

“We will continue to see growth in meat-alternatives both in retail and food service in 2020,” said registered dietitian and host of the Morrocco Real Food Adventure Shahzadi Devje. “We could see a meat-alternative spurn with renewed enthusiasm for ‘real’ vegetables, fruits and legumes.

“I’d love consumers to embrace wholesome seasonal produce and get cooking with their families and communities.”

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Nielsen agrees.

“We will see normalization of plant-based proteins on menus and at the grocery store,” she told Global News.

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“As a dietitian, I am hoping that as the trend matures, we will see a renewed interest in whole food proteins such as chickpeas, tofu and lentils. I am starting to see tofu offered on the plant-based menu items at some of the major chain restaurants.”

Sustainability, traceability and transparency

Nielsen says sustainability, traceability and transparency will move deeper into our food consciousness.

“As we’ve seen with the fast fashion industry, we can be incredibly removed from what we consume, the same goes with food,” she said.

Imported foods like cashews, bananas, palm oil, coconut products or even avocados have all been highlighted as foods that may come at an “increased social or environmental cost,” she said.

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“I think that consumers will start asking food manufacturers for more sustainable and conscious products.”

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Shopping smarter for groceries

Reports already suggest food will cost more in Canada in 2020, and Nielsen says this will push consumers to spend differently at stores and online.

One of the largest price changes, she adds, will be the price of vegetables.

“I think that price consciousness will affect purchasing decisions, meaning that Canadians will be looking for ways to save, perhaps eating out less and watching for sales at the grocery store.”

Fusion cooking at home

Devje says Canadians will continue being more adventurous in the kitchen.

“I think consumers, especially the younger generation, are looking to develop their palates with new, exciting and diverse flavours,” she said.

4:06 Breaking down meat alternative mythsBreaking down meat alternative myths

“I’m always on the hunt for a unique dining experience to share with family and friends. And I’m looking forward to seeing more of this in 2020.”

Fermented grains

Because of the no-carb movement, people are likely to shy away from breads and grain products, said registered dietitian Jessica Tong.

“However, we’re seeing that grains that undergo slow-fermentation are more digestible and are less likely to cause bloating,” she said. “The flavour is subtly tangy, less sour than sourdough. Local bakeries are using fermented grains to make breads come back into style.”

Pop-up restos

Tong also sees more pop-up restaurants.

“Pop-up restaurants put together by chefs and food experts to showcase seasonal ingredients and local specialties,” she said. “Dinner with a View is coming to Vancouver, which not only features food, but a terrarium to reflect the earth that our food comes from.”

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Tong predicts in 2020, more people are focusing on planet-to-plate as opposed to just what’s tasty and convenient.

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