Trends In The New Decade
We're at the start of a new decade. What does 2020 hold for us in the realm of food and beverage? Let's take a look.
Lavender, rose, chamomile, and jasmine have been used in cooking for centuries. More recently, they've become mainstream showing up in bakery products, ice creams, cocktails, and more. New florals are appearing in kitchens and restaurants and include orange blossom, hibiscus, elderflower, and cherry blossom. Look for these flavors especially in the spring and summer.
Coffees, teas, cookies, cakes, syrups, and more are prime targets for the floral invasion. The term Sakura, which is Japanese for cherry blossom, is beginning to show up on menus across the country. You can find some of these flavors in our syrups section.
Flavors including spices, herbs, roots, and other parts of the plant are coming into vogue. Especially in this new time of minimizing waste, chefs, mixologists, and others are looking for ways to use the entire plant. People are also looking to food for the health aspects.
Watch for spices like turmeric, cardamom, and cumin to be called out in food and beverage for their anti-inflammatory benefits. We've already seen chai recipes [link] featuring turmeric.
With the wide acceptance of meditation and other practices to support mental health (color books, anyone?), expect well-known flavors like ginseng and little known flavorings like bitter ashwagandha and tulsi to show up on menus. Kombucha tea is the leading new beverage trend found in restaurants, coffee shops, and even convenience stores.
Growth On the food front, we've been watching plant-based foods grow in popularity. With Beyond and Impossible brands bringing more red meat type alternatives and options like jackfruit and seitan showing up next to tofu, tempeh, and bean-based proteins, meat-free meals are becoming much more interesting. Umami-rich flavors (you know, that meaty flavor found in soy sauce and miso) keeps growing. Even mushrooms, all kinds of mushrooms, are taking a spin in the spotlight. You can find these edible fungi in all sorts of food and beverage, even coffee.
Spicy food is nothing new. Working with new peppers and combining them with other flavors for a complex flavor palate is, however. Many chefs are choosing to move away from extreme heat and combining milder chiles with flavors like cinnamon and reducing heat further with sugar and honey. Regardless of what heat level is present, expect to see the type of pepper called out on the menu.
Sour flavors including tart and tangy are building in popularity. It's not really surprising as Millennials and Gen Z come of age. Remember those super sour candies that were all the rage? Sour Patch Kids and Atomic Warheads were and still are favorite candies with these younger generations (Gen X, too, to be honest) which is driving sour IPAs with the sour hops pushing the flavor envelope.
Other sour flavors are coming to the surface with yuzu being the newest on the scene and old favorite citrus flavors of orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lime enjoying the limelight (pun not intended). Other flavors to watch for are pomelo, kumquat, and tangerine.
It's not just flavors from the Gen Z and Millennial age groups that are popular today. Cotton candy, birthday cake, popsicles, cookie dough, s'mores, cereal milk, and more are nostalgic flavors that hearken back to Gen X and Baby Boomer childhoods. Though they may have been around for a while, they are growing in popularity. You can find them in coffee flavors and mixology recipes.
Not a typical color in the food world, blue has risen to new heights lately. Blueberry is the most common, but butterfly pea flower has joined the menu. This sweet flower is made into a syrup that is incorporated into drinks, candies, and desserts.
Though not a flavor per se, a new beverage trend that is growing in popularity is the alcohol-free segment. Menus are increasingly featuring more than sodas, coffees, teas, and juices for those who abstain for whatever reason. Once called "mocktails" (now taboo), these alcohol-free drinks are crafted with the same care as the finest cocktails. Spirits companies have gotten into the act with distilled, zero-proof alternatives to gin and whiskey.
Which trends to you enjoy? Which can you leave behind? What isn't on the list you expected to see?