ACF chefs say 2020 will be dominated by plant-based, eco-friendly food trends

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he National Restaurant Association has published its annual 2020 What’s Hot report, forecasting the biggest foodservice trends of 2020. The report is the result of a survey of American Culinary Federation members, who make their food trend predictions at the end of each year.

This year’s report was based on a survey of over 600 ACF members, who were given a list of 133 different possible food trends and asked to rank how popular they will likely be over the coming months. There were a lot of new additions to the list this year, and some of the ingredients that were on fire in 2019 fell to the bottom of the list this time around.

Eco-friendly packaging made the top of the list for 2020, echoing last year’s inclusion of zero-waste cooking. Sustainable food has been a great focus in the industry recently, but it looks as though sustainable packaging is now catching up with it as items like compostable pizza boxes and corn-based plastics are gaining more attention.

kai-pilger-dwBZLRPhHjc-unsplash0Plant-based proteins came in at number two this year, after barely registering on the previous year’s list. 2019 was the year of the Impossible Whopper, the Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich, and other new faux meat offerings at national chains. Now that the general dining public is beginning to embrace these alternatives, 2020 could mean an even bigger explosion of plant-based meats on menus.

The third biggest trend that was identified in the report is delivery-friendly menu items. Food delivery services like UberEats and Grubhub are becoming staples for many diners who don’t have the time or desire to go out to a restaurant for their favorite foods. To meet this greater demand for restaurant food at home, more establishments are expected to create menus with more delivery-friendly foods. Anything can be delivered, technically, but not everything necessarily holds up well during the journey.

The top 10 overall trends for 2020 are:

  • Eco-friendly packaging
  • Plant-based proteins
  • Delivery-friendly menu items
  • Healthy bowls
  • Scratchmade
  • Creativity with catering
  • Revamped classic cocktails
  • Stress Relievers
  • Specialty burger blends
  • Unique cuts of beef and pork

Click here to read the full report.


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