An explosion of flavour is set to hit the UK food scene in 2020, driven by advances in experiential dining, a range of global flavours, developments in sustainability and technology, as well as unusual and authentic cooking methods coming to the forefront.
A range of sub-trends and ingredients have been distilled into five mega trends that operators should keep front of mind for the coming year:
Feed the Senses
Following a food revolution in the noughties and the rise of casual dining and pop-up food experiences in the 2010s, the 2020s will be all about interactive dining experiences and feeding the senses. A full spectrum of experiential dining will grow, from immersive experiences using theatre and music, through to subtle use of light, smell and sound to heighten diners’ enjoyment.
Communal dining will continue to grow in popularity as shared meals that encourage interaction pique interest. Tabletop cooking with colourful dishes and sharing plates will bring interactive meals out of market halls and street food spaces, and onto restaurant tables.
- Sticks, skewers and dipping – We’ll see skewers piled high with added textures, flavours and colours
- Sharing is caring – Sharing is a great way to try lots of different dishes, tastes and flavours
- Eat the rainbow – Colour (or the lack of) is still a key trend. Foods can be black as night or as bright as the milky way
Products to look out for: Coconut Skewered Prawns, Rainbow Layer Cakes and Caramelised Onion Bloomer
Ingredients to try out: Beetroot and hibiscus
Thanks to technology creating a more globally connected world, our eyes have been opened to niche cuisines and ingredients that many have not experienced before. Flavours from countries and regions such as Lebanon, the Pacific Islands and Australasia all look set to make an appearance on menus in 2020.
The Simply Global trend is making global cuisine more accessible using authentic ingredients to create fusion dishes that incorporate more than one cuisine, developing food without borders. Chilli will feature heavily in many dishes – from the fiery fragrance used in many Asian dishes, through to smoky heat from South America.
- Flavours of the Pacific – Taking inspiration from the diverse range of cuisines from the islands of the Pacific Ocean
- Middle Eastern – The Middle Eastern trend continues with more regional staples gaining popularity, such as Israeli, Yemeni and Jewish
- Authentic Indian – We’re seeing a move to lighter, fresher and more authentic dishes
- Extreme Americana – This is all about creating new American-fusion dishes using the best ingredients
- World Heat and Global Fusion: Featuring dishes filled with fragrance and heat, to regional Asian influences including casual Japanese dishes, or regional Thai and Vietnamese
Products to look out for: Gochujang Paste and Bang Bang Chicken
Ingredients to try out: Tahini, miso, chai, yuzu and chimichurri
With ‘eco-anxiety’ taking hold of society there will continue to be a heavy focus on the health of the planet. As vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian diets become the norm rather than the exception, we’ll start to see vegetables hogging the spotlight. Creative root-to-stem recipes that utilise the whole plant will drive focus. Meanwhile, ‘dirty vegan’ food will continue to gain popularity as non-meat eaters look for indulgent and delicious plant-based alternatives.
When it comes to consuming meat and fish, ensuring the whole animal is used will be of utmost importance to help minimise food wastage. Expect to see unusual cuts of meat make an appearance on menus along with an increased interest in offal.
- Dirty vegan – With meat alternatives improving all the time, indulgent vegan dishes are easy to create
- Waste not – As we all try to say farewell to plastic and food waste, chefs are getting creative with leftovers and making the most of root-to-leaf cooking
- Centre plate veg – Vegetables themselves are now being focused on as the centre of plate
- Go nuts – Alternative ‘mylks’ are rapidly transforming the dairy scene, in both drinks and dishes
- Gut health – This year we see a clear shift in mind-sets towards food and drink offering functional health benefits
- On the bone – If we want to eat meat and fish, we need to respect the animal and use everything that it offers from nose-to-tail
Products to look out for: BBQ Pulled Jackfruit, Kombucha and Smoked Tofu
Ingredients to try out: Banana blossom, nut butters and kimchi
The skills of chefs, mixologists and baristas will be tested in 2020, as unusual cooking and preparation techniques make their way from haute cuisine, into mainstream food culture. Expect to see a rise in pickled and cured gut-friendly dish elements, as well as blackened and burnt food from high-temperature cooking over a fire. With this, comes complex flavours and textures which will delight our ever-evolving palate. For example, for Bidfood’s 2020 trends event, Yarde Farm created ice cream desserts personalised to attendee’s tastes, such as Red Mozzarella Crumble Gelato and Rose & White Chocolate Gelato.
- Raw – This trend is light and fresh, but will need a great level of skill to prepare these delicacies
- Pickled and cured – Beginning with the growing interest in gut health, pickling and curing are now trending as fantastic ways to add colours and flavour explosions to any plate
- Blackened and burnt – Blackened and burnt creates great new levels of flavour profiles
- Fried – It’s all about maximum texture with this trend
- Sweet vs. savoury – As health concerns focus in on sugar, our palates are gradually becoming used to flavours that aren’t so sweet
Products to look out for: Blackened Peppered Beef, Biotiful Kefir and Street Food Pastes
Ingredients to try out: Harissa and sauerkraut
Beyond the Basics
Whilst new and unusual flavours and experiences will be popular in 2020, with uncertain environmental and political times, many diners will be looking for ways to anchor themselves to the familiar. Food and drink that evokes feelings of nostalgia will be popular, with basic well-known dishes such as toast, eggs, salads and sandwiches being given gourmet makeovers using the very best in quality ingredients.
- Humble toast – There is nothing simpler than a slice of toast, but using the very best ingredients can elevate it to something rather special
- Crazy croissants – Sweet or savoury, these new style croissants are over-filled and brightly coloured
- Egg-cellent – Boiled or fried? Shakshuka or tea-stained? Duck or pheasant? 2020 is the year that all types of eggs and egg dishes will take centre stage
- Back to British – Nostalgia is bigger than ever and foods from by-gone eras are being brought back to the present
- Sando fever – Take the very best bread and then fill it with the best ingredients you can find
- Breakfast grown up – Breakfast and brunch dishes don’t just have to be eaten in the morning, they are now appearing across all eating occasions
- Super salads – Wave goodbye to basic Greek salads or a classic Waldorf, in 2020 salads will be bigger and better, and eaten all year round
Products to look out for: Orange Spiced French Toast and Nordic Bread
Ingredients to try out: Spirulina powder and coloured croissant doughs
Commenting on their 2020 trend predictions, Lucy Pedrick, Head of Insights and Customer Experience at Bidfood, said: “The last 10 years have brought about huge change in the way we eat and what we eat, and we can only expect this to accelerate in the next decade. We’re particularly excited about the Feed the Senses trend that we’ve identified, as dining increasingly becomes about the whole experience. We’re looking forward to assisting our partners with menu ideas, recipes and information about new ingredients to help make 2020 the best year for the UK food scene yet.”
Interested to know what food trend you’ll most enjoy? Take Bidfood’s 2020 trends quiz to find out: www.bidfood.co.uk/2020-food-trends-quiz.