A new year brings reflection, predictions, plans — and, hopefully, healthier shopping carts. (Well, at least until we notice all the Valentine's Day candy lining the shelves.) And with every passing year, there are new food trends to try. (Remember when kale wasn't even a thing?)
At the forefront of foodie trends is Whole Foods Market, with its annual list of food trend predictions for the year ahead. The list is curated by a culinary army of about 50 Whole Foods Market team members, according to a release, from buyers to product sourcing experts to local foragers. Translation: They're the ones who said White Claw would be a thing long before your cousin insisted you try it over the holidays.
So whether your meal planning needs a reboot or you just want to be in the know about what you'll be craving next, shop the food trends that are expected to be big in 2020.
Reaching for gluten-free flours to avoid gluten isn't the point anymore — it's now about choosing flours that offer extra protein or fiber, regardless of whether you can tolerate gluten or not. And while we're all familiar with almond flour, the new kids on the baking block are items like cauliflower flour, tiger nut flour and other alternative flours.
BakeGood Cauliflower Flour Blend, 2 pounds ($14.99; amazon.com)
You're familiar with things like cauliflower pizza crust and cauliflower crackers, but now you can buy cauliflower flour in bulk to make your own nutritious versions.
Roots Tiger Nut Flatbread Pizza Crust Mix ($12.85; amazon.com)
Tiger nuts aren't actually nuts, they're ancient root vegetables. The really interesting thing about fiber-packed tiger nut flour is that tiger nuts are a "resistant starch"— meaning they slow down digestion, keeping you fuller for longer.
Refrigerated 'fresh' snacks
Foods that need to go in the fridge often mean less preservatives and additives, which is why, for many healthy eaters, the snack aisle isn't in the middle of the grocery store — it's the coolers on the perimeter. From bars to soups, prepared snacks in single-serve sizes are moving away from bagged carbs and becoming more like something healthy that Mom packed for you.
Nona Lim Heat & Sip Cups Variety Pack ($38.99; amazon.com)
Made from scratch in small batches and with fresh ingredients, these soups and bone broths are shipped frozen and come in a wide variety of flavors.
Perfect Bar Original Refrigerated Protein Bar in Peanut Butter (24 Bars) ($64.56; amazon.com)
With about 17 grams of protein (but no whey or soy), these gluten-free, organic, non-GMO bars have a cookie-dough-like texture that many health nuts rave about. They'll need to be stored in the fridge but can last up to a week once you take one out.
According to Whole Foods, many of today's parents are inclined to introduce their kids to more adventurous foods. (Fun fact: Whole Foods says that by 2026, 80% of millennials will have children.) The foodie spirit swings both ways, too — kids are seeing their peers on cooking competitions and are having cafeteria conversations of their own about what's what.
GimMe Snacks Organic Roasted Seaweed in Sea Salt (Pack of 20) ($14.79; amazon.com)
If you've ever bought a single pack, you know how easy it is to inhale these super-thin and tasty pieces of seaweed. Kids are gobbling them up, too — which is a far better choice than many other chips or crackers they want.
Serenity Kids Baby Food, Wild-Caught Coho Salmon with Organic Butternut Squash and Beets (6-pack) ($23.95; amazon.com)
You could say it's a bit pricey for baby food. Or you could say it's a small price to pay to start 'em young toward being adventurous eaters.
Depolarizing the meat debate
Meat versus fake meat — can't we all just get along? We will in 2020, says Whole Foods. While plant-based meatless "meat" products have skyrocketed over the years, "real" meat lovers can finally calm down and enjoy their animal products while getting a dose of vegetables, too. Technically dubbed "blended meat," these are products with both meat and meatless ingredients in them. Look for items like Applegate's The Great Organic Blended Burger (available to Prime members through Prime Now) and Lika Plus's Blended Burger on your next grocery store run.
West African foods
Lesser-known superfoods and earthy flavors are becoming more popular—and many of them are traditionally West African foods and ingredients. Food brands are finding inspiration from West Africa by using ingredients like moringa, tamarind, fonio, teff, millet, sorghum and more.
Nature Nate's Popped Sorghum, 5 Ounces ($8.99; amazon.com)
Sorghum has a nutritional profile that's similar to quinoa (think fiber and protein). Here, it's popped and flavored with avocado oil and sea salt—that's it.
Yolélé Fonio African Super Grain, 2.25 Pounds ($22.99, amazon.com)
Another gluten-free West African grain to try is fonio, which is in the millet family and similar in texture to couscous.
As more people identify soy as an allergen and not the answer to their dietary dreams, the king of the plant-based movement has been dethroned. Meat alternatives, condiments, protein powders and more are all employing replacement ingredients to maintain (and often improve) their texture, taste and nutritional profiles. See ya, soy.
Ocean's Halo Organic Soy-Free Teriyaki Sauce, 2 Bottles ($15.99; amazon.com)
Level up your next stir-fry or chicken dish with this teriyaki sauce that's also gluten-free.
Whether you're "sober curious" or want to imbibe all night and not feel the hurt tomorrow, this trend comes in two forms: There are the alcohol-inspired-but-non-alcoholic beverages you can drink straight from the can or bottle, and then there are the products meant to be used in place of alcohol and with a mixer. The latter is newer to the scene, thanks to beverage makers using distilling methods usually reserved for alcohol. The result: Gin and tonics without the gin, martinis without the vodka and more.
Ritual Gin Alternative ($25; amazon.com)
Made with spices and distilled flavors like juniper, angelica root and lemongrass, this zero-proof gin is ideal when you want to feel a bit of that burn you usually get from alcohol.
Hoplark HopTea Mixed Pack, 12 16-Ounce Cans ($39; amazon.com)
This sparkling tea is usually about $2.50 per can at Whole Foods, and you can order a variety case online — or one specific flavor if you find one you love. Some have caffeine, some don't, but they all have a bold dose of hops to recreate the taste you're craving.
Superfood butters and spreads
Going beyond almond butter isn't new — but that just means there's even more expectation to get creative with spreads and butters. Whether your spread of choice is made of watermelon seeds or pili nuts, this trend is coupled with the higher standard of using only responsibly sourced palm oil or eliminating the ingredient's use altogether.
FBOMB Nut Butter 10-Pack in Salted Chocolate Macadamia ($24.99; amazon.com)
These 1-ounce packets are packed with healthy fats and only 2 grams of sugar, making them a delicious snack to throw in your tote or gym bag for when you need a tasty and nutritious treat.
88 Acres Roasted Watermelon Seed Butter, 2 14-Ounce Jars ($26.99; amazon.com)
The subtle roasted flavor adds a nice twist to your morning oatmeal or smoothie. (Psst! This same brand also makes dark chocolate sunflower seed butter. Just sayin'.)
Syrups made from fruit sources or even starches are the latest way to add sweetness to everything from cookies to coffee to meat glazes. They're usually more concentrated and offer an alternative to refined sugar in dishes and drinks.
D'vash Organic Sweet Potato Nectar, 16.6 Ounces ($12.99; amazon.com)
If you like the deep flavor of molasses or honey, this nectar is worth a try, drizzled over pancakes or used to marinate chicken.
Swerve Sweetener Bakers Bundle, Granular and Confectioners, 2 12-Ounce Packages ($14.99; amazon.com)
With nearly 2,000 ratings averaging 5 stars, this nonglycemic sugar replacement reportedly doesn't have the aftertaste of other sugar alternatives. It's also a one-for-one substitute for sugar, making it an extra-easy replacement.
Choosing brands that work with farmers and other partners that prioritize regenerative practices is one way to help the environment. Regenerative agriculture can mean a few things, but it typically refers to managing levels of carbon by improving biodiversity and restoring soil. Whole Foods items from companies currently using regenerative agricultural practices include White Oak Pastures grassfed ground beef, Zack's Mighty Tortilla Chips and Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam cheese.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed prices at the time of publication.