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2020 is going to be a banner year in the food service industry with many new food and beverage offerings. Here’s a roundup of the Top 10 dining trends for 2020.

#1 The Plant Ecosystem

Over the past few years many people have made the switch from meat and
dairy to plant-based foods. Meat and dairy flavors are now being replaced
with flavours from non meant and dairy products such as soy, peas, cashews, and almonds, tempeh, mushrooms and beans. This does not mean that traditional proteins are going away anytime soon but you will see an increase of plant-based food concepts. Plant based menus are blooming!

#2 Cannabis

It is no surprise that Cannabis is one of the fastest growing categories for
products of all kinds. CBD is the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis so it will not get you high but can help with pain, anxiety and lack of sleep, or so they claim. CBD drinks have become very popular and come in the form of waters, teas, and wine. Snacks of all kinds abound from chocolate bars to lavender almonds to lemon poppy seed cookies and whipped CBD infused honey, the list just continues to grow exponentially.

#3 Snacks

Chips have always been considered an unhealthy snack option but these
days new and better for you snacks are emerging. Using ingredients like
chickpeas, beets, quinoa, and kale, these snacks make snacking healthier even if you eat the whole bag! They may not be the most appealing aesthetically, but they effectively satisfy snack cravings.

#4 Fruit

The newest go-to meat substitute is jackfruit. Already being used as an
alternative for barbecue pulled pork, jackfruit is a southeast Asian fruit that is a great source of iron, calcium, and B vitamins. The texture of jackfruit mimics the texture of pulled pork and will soon become a force in the food industry as a meat alternative.

#5 Dairy

The current favorites of almond and soy, have been challenged by a new entry, oat milk. It’s great in coffee and other beverages and stores can barely keep it in stock. Watch for a series of oat milk products to hit the market and for coffee shops to begin offering it as an option.

#6 Beverages

Consumers who are concerned about sugar but still want to satisfy their
craving for carbonation are turning to flavoured sparkling water, and the
choices are growing exponentially. All of the big beverage brands are getting in on this trend. Consumers are open to exploring more unique fruit flavor varieties, including bergamot orange, yuzu, makrut lime, pomelo, Meyer lemon, and blood orange. For a few years now, drinks and supplements containing collagen — a protein that provides the structure for our skin and organs — have been growing quickly.

#7 Sustainability in Packaging

As you have seen in the news climate change, disappearing rainforests and
plastics in the ocean are dominant topics. Consumers are now demanding
sustainability especially in packaging. It can be as simple as replacing Styrofoam and plastic for paper or bamboo or cotton, or buying ingredients from sustainable sources, sustainability in food and packaging will be a key trend to watch for in 2020.

#8 Snack Balls!

Balls are in! No, not baseballs, snack balls. They are little round balls made of ingredients such as dates, nuts, peanut butter and coconut rolled into a ball, and sold in a package. These are geared towards the keto and paleo market, but they are being consumed by everyone. You will see them popping up in all sorts of food stores and cafes. There are oat balls for breakfast, balls of protein made for energy and others. These are great
afternoon, pre or post workout treats.

#9 Eat-ertainment

Dining out is more than just eating. From the moment a reservation is made
to leaving the restaurant, the consumer has a series of mini experiences that impacts whether they return or not. As more and more people move away from collecting things and toward gaining experiences, restaurants must look for ways to provide a memorable experiences from check in to check out. Serving good food is simply not good enough anymore, the dining experience should offer such things as rewards, adventure,
fun, surprise and entertainment in order to connect with the emotional needs of customers.

#10 Convenience

Thanks to the ever-increasing pace of life, the meal delivery service market is expected to grow by 15% through 2020. Meal delivery, in the form of a onetime order or of a box of ingredients are predicted to grow significantly in 2020 as are convenient, eat-on-the-go food. Additionally, some brands even have in store portals where customers can pick up their food after having made and paid for an online order. This significantly reduces labour costs. Expect to see this trend grow as consumers who are time strapped demand products that are healthy and ready to eat. 2020 is going to be very interesting in the foodservice industry as food and beverage manufacturers and vendors are constantly creating new and different options for consumers to learn about and enjoy!

Lori Karpman is president of Lori Karpman & Company, A full
service firm providing a full range of consulting and legal services.

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