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Ringing in the new year and new decade brings along with it a renewed focus on healthy eating and healthy habits for you and your family, as well as some of the hottest food trends in 2020.

Whether you consider yourself a bona fide foodie and home chef who doesn’t mind spending a little extra time in the kitchen like me or a mom who is all about simple meal prep hacks and easy, healthy dinners, experts say these food trends are expected to impact the foods we buy and the types of meals we serve our families, and may even change how we think about food and diets altogether.

This week, The International Food Information Council (IFIC),

a non-profit organization that focuses on science-based information on health, food safety and nutrition for the public good, just released their list of food trends in 2020, using consumer survey data. Here’s what they found.

HOTTEST FOOD TRENDS IN 2020

1. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY WILL DICTATE FOOD CHOICES

Environmental sustainability has become a buzzword in recent years but the definition can vary widely.

According to the Journal of Environmental Sustainability, the definition of environmental sustainability is:

“a condition of balance, resilience, and interconnectedness that allows human society to satisfy its needs while neither exceeding the capacity of its supporting ecosystems to continue to regenerate the services necessary to meet those needs nor by our actions diminishing biological diversity.”

Whew.

I’m no expert when it comes to the environment, but when we talk about food, environmental sustainability might mean eating more plant-based protein or buying meat closer to home.

Still, there’s a lot of confusion on the consumer front.

According to IFIC’s survey, 63 percent of people said it’s hard to know whether the food choices they make are environmentally sustainable.

Among people in that group, two-thirds said environmental sustainability would have a great impact on their food choices if it were easier to know.

The survey also found that consumers think labeling of various product ingredients and attributes, production methods, and food packaging are factors that are related to environmental sustainability. Terms like soil health, regenerative agriculture, or “giving back to the land,” are also among the food trends in 2020.

2. PLANT-BASED DIET RECIPES WILL BECOME MORE POPULAR

Consumers are paying more attention than ever before about the role our food system plays in climate change, such as the effects of agricultural production, food waste and how goods are transported.

Related: 10 Tips To Reduce Food Waste When Feeding Kids

As a result, plant-based diets will continue to become one of the hottest food trends in 2020.

Yet what a plant-based diet actually looks like is a different story.

Here’s what people think a plant-based diet is:

  • A vegan diet (32%)
  • A diet that emphasizes minimally-processed foods that come from plants, and includes limited consumption of animal meat, eggs and dairy (30%)
  • A vegetarian diet that avoids animal meat (20%)
  • A diet in which you try to get as many fruits and vegetables as possible, with no limit on animal meat, eggs and dairy (8%)

The real definition of a plant-based diet? According to the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology:

“A plant-based diet consists of all minimally processed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, herbs, and spices and excludes all animal products, including red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products.”

3. INTUITIVE EATING TIPS WILL BE MORE WIDESPREAD

Experts say fad diets and those that prioritize rapid weight loss will become less popular, while intuitive eating will continue to gain awareness and be one of the hottest food trends in 2020.

The concept of intuitive eating was first introduced way back in 1995 by registered dietitian-nutritionists (RDN) Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch with their book, Intuitive Eating, 4th Edition: An Anti-Diet Revolutionary Approach.

Instead of labeling foods “good” or “bad,” intuitive eating focuses on how food makes you feel, your hunger and satiety cues, and having a healthy relationship with food.

As it turns out, a majority of millennials in particular, are familiar with intuitive eating—49% of people aged 18-34 know what it is.

As a nation that’s facing multiple health epidemics including obesity, type-2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and many of whom struggle with emotional eating, I think that while we still need to think about what and how much we’re eating, the trend of intuitive eating is great way to teach healthy eating habits to our kids.

Related: Childhood Obesity: Are Parents To Blame?

4. AMERICAN FOOD WILL GET A FACELIFT

The amount of non-dairy milks like almond, soy, coconut and rice have surged in recent years as people have grown concerned about the dangers of dairy or simply because they can’t tolerate it.

In 2020, expect to see more brands rolling out oat milk and incorporating oat milk into their products.

Also, be on the lookout for more companies bringing plant-based foods that taste like and have similar benefits of meat.

Cell-based meat will also become more widely available for average consumers.

According to the Good Food Institute, cell-based meat (also known as clean meat or cultured meat) is:

“…genuine animal meat that can replicate the sensory and nutritional profile of conventionally produced meat because it’s comprised of the same cell types and arranged in the same three-dimensional structure as animal tissue. It isn’t imitation or synthetic meat; it’s actual meat that is grown from cells outside of an animal.”

Research shows compared to conventional beef, cell-based beef is estimated to reduce land use by more than 95%, climate change emissions by 74% to 87%, and nutrient pollution by 94%.

5. TRUSTED FOOD BRANDS AND INGREDIENTS WILL BE MORE IMPORTANT

In 2020, American consumers will make food purchasing decisions based on the brands and ingredients they’re familiar with.

According to IFIC’s survey, 70% of people say trust in a brand has at least some impact on the foods and beverages they buy, but age was also a factor.

While 85% of those 65 and older said trust impacted their purchasing decisions, only 66% of younger consumers agreed.

What’s more, 63% of consumers said recognizing food ingredients had at least some impact on what they choose to purchase.

As a result, the new Nutrition Facts labels, which will continue to be rolled out through 2021, will become even more important as people look for ingredients they’re looking to consume or avoid. 

Author Details
Julie Revelant teaches parents how to raise children who are healthy, adventurous eaters. Through blog posts and videos, her goal is to shift the conversation from short-term, problem picky eating to lifelong, healthy eating and healthy futures. As a health journalist, Julie\'s has written for FoxNews.com, FIRST for Women and Woman\'s World magazines, WhatToExpect.com, RD.com, TheBump.com, Care.com and Babble.com.

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