Five 2020 Food Trends to Look for from Boston-Based Food Experts

From plant-based to dairy-free, food trends change as fast as the season. Be on the lookout for these 2020 food trends in the new year.

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Buh-bye, soy milk. So long, avocado toast. And sayonara, celery juice. As we approach the turn of the decade and say goodbye to 2019, it’s time to let go of the old and welcome the new. As you’re coming up with your health and wellness resolutions for the new year, look to this list of 2020 food trends from Boston-based food experts (learn more about them here) to see what the scoop is on nutrition for next year. At first glance, there’s one theme throughout: Plants. But don’t take my word for it: Hear from the experts themselves below.

1. Plant-based diets 

Both Kelsey Riley, a local nurse, and Kathryn Foley, who runs the food Instagram Neatly Chopped, agree that we’re going to see a continuous and steady rise in plant-based diets, which can mean traditional vegetarian and vegan diets, but also others like ovo-vegetarianism and lacto-vegetarianism. No matter what you call it though, or even if you don’t label it at all, plant-based diets center around fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains. “There are many reasons people follow a plant-based diet, like health benefits, environmental sustainability, and animal rights,” Riley says. “With more and more education around these topics, we will continue to see people make this diet a part of their lifestyle.”

Foley agrees, saying the rise is mostly due to environmental reasons—people are starting to make big changes in the way they eat because it has a huge impact. “I think we are also going to see a rise of more mainstream ‘veggie recreated foods’ like the cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe’s,” she adds. “I’m starting to see larger grocery store brands catch on.” From cauliflower rice to pizza crusts made from veggies instead of flour, who knows which grain-heavy food will get a remake next?

2. Balance  

“The concept of balance is a trend that consistently has a spot at the dinner table and one that I know will continue to be present in 2020,” food blogger Mollie Drury tells me. “Everyone is in search of a delicious, satisfying meal that is both healthy and crave-worthy, especially during the busy work week.” One of the foods that is a staple in her home is the meatball. She explains that it’s extremely versatile, packed with protein, and makes a great weeknight dinner that balances flavors, health, and satiety all in one.

3. Low-carb and grain-free alternatives 

Registered dietitian Christina Zacchilli is all about a grain-free lifestyle. “We are seeing alternative baking flours, such as almond, coconut, and cassava on the rise,” she says. “Moving into 2020, we may even see ‘flours,’ such as ones made from cauliflower and cashews, making their way into our grocery carts.”

4. Whole foods and real ingredients

The Boston-based food blogger and MIT scientist behind Healthiful Bytes, Emily Chen, says the mindset of eating whole ingredient foods, meaning less-processed foods and more real ingredients, will continue to thrive in 2020. “More and more people are becoming informed about how the food they consume affects every other part of their lives, from their energy to their mood,” she says. “Personally, I love that there’s an online community [on Instagram] making eating healthy less of a chore, and more of a fun and accessible experience.”

5. Oat milk

If you haven’t tried it yet, this will be your year to get on the oat milk bandwagon. Food blogger Sues Anderson says you’ll forget about soy and almond milk, because this dairy-free milk alternative will be everywhere. “Rich in fiber and essential vitamins, oat milk is already a super popular dairy-free alternative at coffee shops and grocery stores,” she says. “Even amongst those who aren’t dairy-free and vegan. I predict that in 2020, we’ll be seeing more and more products made with oat milk, from ice cream to yogurt to coffee creamers.”