Published On: 11/12/20192.9 min read

By Lisa Moore, Editorial Consultant


When looking at what the ‘next big thing’ will be in 2020, we’d decided to gloss over veganism as a ‘trend’ because, well, you know…it’s not as if you haven’t read about it 100s of times already in 2019.

And then we came across this in Mintel’s Global Consumer Trends 2030 report… in 2025 “red meat consumption will move from mainstream to luxury to taboo”. Fighting talk, we thought. But then we also read that at Waitrose vegan ready meal sales are doing so well they’ve overtaken their vegetarian counterparts for the first time. So you can see how we couldn’t ignore veganism in a future-gazing post.

However, despite it sometimes feeling like eating meat is a dying tradition, in fact best estimates still put the number of vegans in the UK well below 10%.

Perhaps more important is the spotlight it throws onto animal welfare. When consumers do buy meat, they increasingly want the best, according to Waitrose, which says hits on its animal welfare section of are up 32% and Tor Harris, Waitrose’ partner and head of corporate social responsibility says the group is seeing much more demand for meat produced to high welfare standards. “We’re seeing a more considered approach to meat. Because some people are eating less of it, when they do eat it, they want to make it count.”

Whole Foods Market believes that meat-plant blends might be the solution for meat reducers. Its Top 10 Food Trends for 2020 cites increasing numbers of food brands blending more plant-based products into meat for both health and animal/planet welfare purposes. It points to brands such as Applegate selling organic, grass-fed beef burgers blended with 30% organic mushrooms.

This more considered approach to food also accounts for the continued rise in demand for organic products. According to Mintel the total share of new, global food and drink launches with organic claims rose from 6% to 10% between August 2009 and July 2019. Europe is at the forefront of organic’s popularity with almost a fifth (17%) of all newly launched food and drink products carrying an organic claim.

Whole Foods Markets’ trends report also underlines a greater focus on how food is grown, pointing to ‘regenerative agriculture’ that places emphasis on how to use land and animal management practices to improve soil health and biodiversity and increase carbon capture.

When it comes to ingredient and flavour trends, no matter who we speak to and what we read, heat – i.e. chilli, seems to come up time and again. Whether it’s adding a kick to chocolate or depth to a cocktail, it seems we can’t get enough of it. Waitrose’ nutrition and health manager Moira Howie says that’s because chillies contain natural ‘feel good’ chemicals. Who knew?!

And that brings us to wellbeing. Yes, you’ve read and heard about this ‘trend’ many times over in 2019. However, we don’t think it is a trend. We think it’s now so embedded into consumer psyche that brands can’t afford to ignore it – from snack brands to spirits, hot beverages to bakery. Look out for more products containing turmeric, ginger and watermelon seeds to name but three in 2020.

And finally: looking a little beyond next year, John Vary, futurologist at the John Lewis Partnership, claims we’ll be using our DNA to ensure fully personalised meals, designed both for our physiological and emotional wellbeing. Bring it on!