Healthy Food Trends for 2020

Remember oat milk, cauliflower pizza and probiotic foods? They were all major healthy food trends of 2019. It was also a big year for meat alternatives, low-carb eats, and more vegan-friendly products than ever before. But what will this year bring in the way of food? Here’s an insight on what type of foods you’ll be tucking into (or completely ignoring!) in 2020.

Low-sugar chocolate

‘We’ve seen a big increase in dark chocolate’s value sales. People see it as healthier – higher cocoa, lower sugar content,’ says Emma Weinbren, features editor at The Grocer. That benefits ethical dark chocolate makers such as Doisy & Dam, while – possibly to deter any ‘snack tax’ – big brands like Nestlé (who have launched Milkybar Wowsomes) and Cadbury (30% less sugar Dairy Milk) are also innovating hard in the reduced-sugar realm. Emma adds, ‘They see that as a real area of development.’

A new era of mocktails

While “Dry January” is a popular way to start the year on a healthier note, more and more people are jumping on the booze-free train year-round these days. “Millennials and Gen Z are drinking less in general,” says Moon author of How What You Eat Can Lead To A Longer, Happier Life. “It was only a matter of time before someone came up with a creative solution. Enter ‘zero-proof’ drinks.”

More and more brands are introducing alcohol-free spirits, wines, and beers. Plus, countless restaurants and bars around the country are including mocktails on their menus, and there are even some non-alcoholic bars opening up across the country, according to Yelp’s 2020 Trend Forecast Report.

You’ll learn the term “nootropics”

“As of 2020, we’re just one short decade away from every Baby Boomer being retirement age,” says Moon. As a result, “people are increasingly concerned about brain health and staying sharp.” That’s where nootropics may be able to help.

Nootropics are foods and compounds that help improve brain function, including memory and cognitive function, experts claim. They come in supplement or drug form, but there are also a number of nootropic foods that boost cognitive health, like turmeric, wild blueberries, salmon, broccoli, walnuts, egg yolks, and seaweed.

More non-dairy milk alternatives

2019 was certainly the year of oat milk and with so much of the population switching to a vegan or plant-based diet, the need for alternative milk doesn’t look like slowing down in 2020. Almond, sunflower, cashew, walnut and, one of the best nut milk options on the market, comes from indulgent macadamia nuts. There’s even pea milk, made from yellow split peas, which is the next big plant milk, predicts senior Ocado buyer Anthony Sharpe, because, ‘it has one of the lowest environmental footprints’.

Gut feeling

M&S is focusing on ‘digestive wellness’, with a wider range of probiotic food and drink beyond kefir and kombucha. ‘There are probiotics in everything – we’ve even tried probiotic crisps,’ says Emma Weinbren. ‘In March, we got stats from Kantar that more than 40% of kefir is consumed by over-65s. People think it’s a cool millennial drink but it’s the older generation driving it.’


The science is inconclusive, particularly in relation to food and drink containing low doses, but CBD (or cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabis plant extract, touted for its potential to alleviate pain and anxiety) is a hot ingredient. It’s available in a variety of forms including gin, hummus and ice cream. ‘Every week, we get sent a new sparkling CBD drink,’ says Daniel Woolfson, drinks expert at The Grocer.

The unstoppable rise of plant food

Unilever-backed Dutch brand The Vegetarian Butcher recently launched its soy sausages, burgers and nuggets in Tesco. At both a micro and macro level, meat-free eating is a trend which, says April Preston, director of product development at M&S, ‘has shown absolutely no sign of slowing down. Our customers are adopting flexitarian lifestyles and we’ve a pipeline of new plant-based products planned, including a no-chicken Kiev.’


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