The healthy food retailer just released their predictions for next year's big food trends.

By Eating Well
October 22, 2019
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It feels like just yesterday we were eagerly awaiting fall's arrival, and now we're only just a few short months away from a brand-new year (and decade!). Whole Foods Market is already ahead of the game with their annual list of food trend predictions for 2020, offering us great insight into what our food and beverages will look like in the coming year.

More than 50 culinary experts, local foragers and global buyers on the Whole Foods Market team worked together to compile this report based on research, expertise and consumer preferences. From booze-free "booze" to tasty, wholesome snacks in the refrigerated section, here's what you can expect and get excited for in the world of healthy food & drink for 2020:

Related: Why a National Obsession with Hummus May Be Great for the Environment

Alcohol-Free Beverages

Alcohol-free or lower-ABV beverages have started to pop up in grocery stores and trendy bars across the country over the past few years. Whole Foods believes this is the year for making alternative booze more mainstream, anticipating reduced-alcohol beers and botanical-infused faux spirits will make their way onto your grocery lists this year. Check out 24 of our favorite mocktail recipes, here.

Flexitarian Protein Products

Meat-plant protein blends are becoming a hot new item for those who want to help the planet and their health by cutting back on meat (but maybe not giving it up altogether). Products like beef-and-mushroom burgers, chicken-and-pea protein nuggets and pork-and-lentil sausages taste great and help us follow a more nutritious diet. And, according to Whole Foods, our flexitarian friends can expect more of these protein blends to hit store shelves in the upcoming year. Discover the best and worst protein sources for both your health and the environment, here.

Unique Sugar Swaps

Honey and maple syrup are no longer the only mainstays of those looking to limit their refined sugar intake. Whole Foods predicts unique syrupy reductions from foods like dates, pomegranates and coconut will rise in popularity this year for baking, cooking and even sweetening your morning cup of joe. They also anticipate starchy syrups from foods like sweet potato and sorghum, a gluten-free grain, will become a popular new option for consumers. Check out our Buyer's Guide to Natural Sweeteners for more.

Redefining "Kids' Food"

Whole Foods' report cites 80% of millenials will have children by 2026, which means many parents are introducing their kids to healthier foods and expanding their palates with dishes from various cuisines. Food brands are taking note of this shift towards expanding the definition of kids' food beyond chicken fingers and macaroni and cheese to include healthier options like sushi and veggie-based pastas. Get inspired with Our Top Healthy Kids Lunch Ideas for School to help encourage nutritious yet tasty eating in your home.

Related: This App will Help Make Mealtime Easier for Parents of Picky Eaters

Everything-Flavored Butters & Spreads

We all have our favorite nut, seed and snack spreads, but that may change next year, as food companies are expanding their offerings beyond tahini and almond butter. Watermelon seed butters, sweet chickpea butters and new creamy vegan spreads are all expected to be popular snack options in the new year. Make your own at home with our favorite healthy dip & spread recipes.

Soy-Free Plant Proteins

While tofu scrambles and stir-fries are mainstays of many vegetarian (and omnivorous) diets, Whole Foods says the trendiest food brands are slowing down on soy protein products, seeking more innovative blends to help give consumers the plant protein they need. Mung beans, grains, hempseed, pumpkin and more will help expand the plant-based protein offerings out there, while being mindful of eliminating other food allergens. Learn more about the best plant-based protein sources, here.

Refrigerated Snacks

Consumers are seeking fresher, healthier food, and companies like Perfect Bar and Good Culture are creating snacks with whole ingredients that can be found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Healthy grab-and-go snacks like drinkable soups, nutrition bars and more will make snacking wisely ten times easier. Discover the 10 best snacks for losing weight, here.

West African-Inspired Flavors

West African flavors are showing up all over our food and beverage products—from indigenous superfoods like moringa powder to lesser-known whole grains like millet and teff. With subtle influences from the Middle East and Western Europe, West African food is rich and earthy, relying on foods like peanuts, tomatoes, lemongrass and onions as the foundation of some pretty incredible dishes. Our Sweet Potato-Peanut Bisque is inspired by West African cuisine and is a staff favorite.

Related: Six Healthy Recipes Starring Grains and Greens

Alternative Flours

Just when you thought there couldn't be any more new alternative flour options, Whole Foods predicts there will be no shortage of innovation in this area. Interesting options like banana, cauliflower, tigernut and seed flour blends will help bolster the protein and fiber content of your favorite baked goods in the coming year. Check out our guide to Flour Substitutes and How to Use Them for seamlessly incorporating them into your favorite recipes.

Climate-Conscious Companies

Whole Foods is counting on regenerative agriculture—farming and grazing in a way that restores degraded soil, improves land biodiversity and creating other long-lasting environmental benefits—to become a priority for many food and beverage companies in 2020. From ground beef to supplements to wine, expect a surge in more environmentally-friendly food and beverage products in the coming year. Check out our 2019 American Food Heroes to see which companies are leading the way in creating a more sustainable food system.

This article originally appeared on Eating Well by Lauren Wicks.

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