Healthy Diet Trends 2020
The food industry today looks a lot different than the one of yesteryear. Fast-casual (not to be confused with fast food) is huge. A tap of your iPhone will conjure your next meal. Even McDonald’s is trying to keep up, going as far as to consider incorporating kale into their menu. Here’s a closer look at the healthy food trends you can expect to see more of in 2020.
An evolving definition of “healthy”
Not that long ago, fat was considered the number one enemy of anyone who wanted to be healthy and maintain their desired weight. However, fat is back in a big way after being misunderstood for decades. Most consumers now recognize fat as a nutrient-dense type of fuel that does not, on its own, make us fat.
We expect to see the public understanding of “healthy” shift in other ways, too. As our understanding of food and how it relates to health increases, we will continue to dispel myths about what is and isn’t good for our bodies. Restaurants need to be prepared to cater to the more educated customer. With so many diet fads constantly in and out of the spotlight, food service businesses will need to be able to offer a wide variety of options to suit lots of different dietary approaches.
Bacteria is in; chemicals are out
Increasingly, people are interested in knowing what’s in the food they eat. Today’s consumer is much more aware of the prevalence of artificial additives, and there’s a growing movement to return food to more natural states. Food companies and restaurants are listening; many major brands have already removed ingredients such as artificial colors, preservatives, and sweeteners from their menus.
Meanwhile, pre- and probiotics are on the radar more and more, with science backing up their benefits when it comes to gut health. Adding certain bacteria to foods is believed to support the digestive system, a highly important system that has been too long ignored by the food industry. We expect to see an explosion of food products filled with good bacteria to help alleviate everything from skin problems to digestive issues.
A growing focus on sustainability
Sustainability is an area that garners more and more attention with each passing year. In the coming year, more restaurants will use more sustainable ingredients to appease their environmentally-conscious customers. Replacing some produce with more sustainable options can make a significant difference when it comes to health factors as well as protecting the environment.
Food waste is another area of change we’re seeing. Americans waste billions of dollars’ worth of food every year, a sad fact that many consumers are becoming aware of and working to change. New companies are popping up all over whose goal it is to divert food from landfills to hungry mouths.
Finally, we’re seeing many modern advances in food take place on the farm. Smarter soil, new sensors on equipment, and other changes are helping farmers monitor field conditions, understand their soil composition, and achieve better outcomes. We expect the science of soil to have a more significant impact on our understanding of crop production, soil fertility, and the nutrient content of the food we eat, factors that will be more important than ever as consumers become more and more health-conscious.