Market & Trends

Aramark’s Top Chefs Name ‘Putting More Plants on the Plate’ as 2020’s #1 Megatrend

Aramark’s top chefs describe the four healthy food trends that consumers should expect this year. The 2020 megatrends that will influence the food decisions we make include putting more plants on the plate, sustainability and ethical sourcing, the return of the superfoods, and the globalization of flavors.

As more people focus on their general health and the environment, putting more plants on the plate is a natural way to reduce the amount of meat in a meal. These plant-based food choices include:

  • Milk alternatives: mainstream options like almond and soy milk will continue to be joined by more and more plant-based alternatives such as oat, cashew, and sunflower milk.
  • Flour alternatives: flour variations made from fruits and vegetables, like banana flour and split-pea flour will become more available.
  • Protein options: Mung bean, hemp seed, and avocado will have a moment in 2020.
  • Syrup swaps: More people are looking beyond honey to alternatives made from pomegranates, coconut, monk fruit, and more.
  • New butters and spreads: though high-quality, traditional butter is enjoying a resurgence, the marketplace will see new plant-based options from olives, avocados, almonds, and more.
© luigi giordano –

Consumers want to know the story behind their food. In addition to shorter ingredient lists, products will showcase how they match up with evolving values in a few key ways:

  • Plant inclusion: in addition to being good for you, plant-forward meals help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that harm our atmosphere. They also help preserve other vital resources like land, energy, and water.
  • Ethical sourcing: food labels go beyond nutritional information. Increasingly, they provide details on other practices like fairtrade, animal welfare, and local sourcing. Expect this trend to continue as more and more ingredients and products highlight additional information about where they came from, how they were grown or raised, and the individuals or communities who provided them.
  • Packaging: the concern the public has with plastic pollution is putting pressure on food companies to find sustainable alternatives. Whether it’s to-go boxes or at-home leftover containers, expect to see more of a move toward eco-friendly and reusable materials.

In 2020, there will be a renewed focus on the functional properties of food and what they can do for your body. These options include:

  • More products featuring berries and olive oil, both sources of antioxidants that fight disease and promote healthy aging. There are also foods thought to help improve and enhance cognitive function. A few examples are turmeric, wild blueberries, salmon, broccoli, walnuts, egg yolks, and seaweed.
  • The rise of healthy, indulgent snacks enriched with nutrient-dense foods. These better-for-you foods may have a dose of an added superfood, like spinach-based pasta. Another example is high-protein ice cream, which contains less sugar and fewer calories than the traditional scoop.
Superfood and healthy food on wooden background. Organic food.
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As international travel becomes more accessible there will be a globalization of flavors. The move includes:

  • New tastes and ingredients, used in unique combinations, with a greater focus on the flavor source. Instead of sweeping terms like “Mexican,” there might be references to regions, such as Veracruz, Oaxaca, or Yucatan. Similarly, “Southern” food may be identified as having roots in Appalachian, Lowcountry, or Creole cuisine.

“Exploring Aramark’s 2020 food megatrends can be a fun and delicious way to try new foods and incorporate plant-forward options into your diet, but there are no individual magic foods to make you healthier,” said American Heart Association Chief Medical Officer for Prevention Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., M.P.H., FAAFP. “For optimal health, consume a diet with a variety of foods, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and healthy protein.”

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