Taste of Home Names the Food Trends Headed for Your Kitchen in 2020
Our Test Kitchen experts predict that you’ll be noticing these food trends in 2020.
Taste of Home’s 2020 Food Trends
For more than 25 years, Taste of Home‘s audience has been sharing their recipes with us, giving us unique insight into what’s in heavy rotation with home cooks across the country. For our 2020 Food Trends report, we used those recipes, along with information we gathered from food and beverage shows, our key contributors, and industry and culinary experts to arrive at this baker’s dozen of trends you’ll be seeing in 2020.
Living the Snack Life
While mains, sides and desserts have dominated recipe submissions for years, one new recipe category is seeing explosive growth—snacks. Millennials are definitely leading the way as this generation is the most likely of all to snack four or more times per day. Instead of just reaching for a bag of chips when on the go, these snackers are seeking out quick bites that will scratch the itch for new flavors and sometimes serve as a meal replacement. Snack recipes we’re seeing include bolder, more adventurous flavors in all categories: sweet, savory, spicy, sour and umami. Snacks with the flavors of coffee, alcoholic beverages and international cuisine are also popping to the forefront of this trend.
All-Day Meal Planning
As schedules fill up and time for cooking becomes a luxury, many individuals and families are making meal planning part of their weekly routine, and it isn’t just dinners. By planning ahead and prepping all or parts of meals in advance, it’s easy to have home-cooked, nutritious foods at any time. Freezing full meals or individually prepping portions to heat up later makes it simple for everyone to grab and go. School and work lunches have moved beyond the brown bag into stylish, perfectly portioned reusable containers to make the most of leftovers and to cut down on waste. Even breakfast can happen in a snap with make-ahead breakfast sandwiches and overnight oats.
More than ever, people today are thinking about everything they put into their bodies to enhance their physical, mental and overall health. With the popularity of plant-based foods and “free-from” diets that remove gluten or dairy, people are looking to lighten up however they can. The recipes we receive at Taste of Home are becoming more reflective of these eating trends as our audience also looks to lighten up without sacrificing flavor. Our recipe submitters are finding that they can make delicious foods a little bit healthier with some simple swaps like Greek yogurt for sour cream or applesauce for eggs.
Everything Old Is New Again
There’s just something about the dishes made by your mom and grandma that always seem to taste just a little bit better. It is no surprise, then, that our audience loves to showcase the recipes passed down through generations in their families—sometimes holding faithful to the recipe and sometimes changing them up just a little bit for the times. Either way, vintage, heirloom recipes have a big place in the hearts and kitchens of our audience. Vintage recipes are among the most popular content we produce month after month as home cooks come back to the classics in full force. Sunday dinners, slow-cooked stews and simple, yet decadent, desserts are winning over longtime cooks and those new to the kitchen.
Flip through Instagram or Pinterest for just a few minutes and you’ll see what’s happening in the world of baking and desserts. It isn’t just about tasting delicious anymore, although that’s still important, of course. Today’s treats are a feast for the eyes, with bakers making cakes with a surprise river of candy inside or cookies that layer over each other to create a snow-globe effect. Adorable, bite-size treats are taking their place beside outrageous ice cream flavors like balsamic strawberry or chai with pink peppercorn. More than ever, bakers today are looking to take their creations and make them uniquely their own.
Getting into the Spirit
Taking traditional drinks and making them more exciting is providing a new outlet for those who like to experiment with flavors in their beverages. With easy additions of new spices, herbs and condiments, an ordinary drink quickly becomes extraordinary. How about a Rosemary Strawberry Daiquiri or Pumpkin Pie Jell-O Shot? Nonalcoholic drinks also are hot, with bars dedicated to the sober life opening up around the country. Fresh flavors blend together to make mocktails so sophisticated you won’t miss the alcohol.
Global Cuisines and Spices
Move over, Italian and Mexican food. The hottest cuisines today are Asian—think East Asian, Middle Eastern and Indian. Expect to see flavors from these parts of the world show up in all sorts of foods, providing a new take on the classics. Traditional Asian flavors like kimchi and miso are gaining popularity for their taste and health benefits. Indian naan and chutneys are going mainstream, as are Middle Eastern sauces like tahini and yogurt-garlic. Just about all of these products can be found in grocery stores across the US, and our audience is using them to update their favorite recipes, like Grilled Pineapple Chimichurri Chicken or Char Siu Pork in a slow cooker.
Doing It for the ‘Gram
Millions of Instagrammers love nothing more than to show off what they’re doing in their kitchens. These home cooks and bakers pay attention to the quality of their images and craft their posts with well-photographed food that looks delicious, natural and, most of all, attainable. Many are moving away from using filters to showcase their kitchen creations and instead posting their “no-filter” food that are attractive enough as-is, no need for enhancements. Authenticity, not perfection, is the goal. If you don’t already, follow us on Instagram for a steady stream of deliciousness.
Cooking Fast with Flavor
Our audience is no different than the rest of America—they love the convenience of pressure cookers and air fryers. Recipes that call for an Instant Pot, air fryer or other type of multicooker are on the rise as we all look for ways to make delicious meals fast. Many recipes that used to take all day in a slow cooker can be recreated in just minutes using a different device. Air fryers also deliver with health benefits as they call for less oil to be used to get that crispy perfection.
Kitchens Get Smart
Today’s home cooks aren’t just looking to get food on the table faster; they want to make the process smarter. Smart technology is hitting the kitchen in many ways in both large and small appliances. Smart refrigerators let you see inside by just tapping the outside and smart kitchen garbage cans scan bar codes as you throw things away to let you know what you need to add to your shopping list. Digital helpers like Alexa and Google Assistant make it possible to order groceries with just your voice. Turn on your faucet without ever touching it. Our audience is looking for all of these devices to make life easier, and the technology will just keep spreading to more items.
You name it, CBD is in it (or will be). From morning coffee to evening cocktails, from bottled water to ice cream, CBD is everywhere. CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of more than 100 chemical compounds derived from the hemp plant. It is said to support a sense of peace and wellness in people, but is not designed to get you high. CBD shops are popping up all over the U.S., offering everything from CBD-infused oils and lotions to foods with the substance in it. CBD is currently not FDA-approved, but that hasn’t slowed the pace of products adding it as an ingredient. Will home cooks take up the charge? We’ll see in 2020.
When it comes to feeding the youngest among us, parents are scrapping spoon feeding and allowing babies six months and older to feed themselves using baby-led weaning approved foods. This trend introduces solid foods at a time when parents traditionally would transition to pureed baby food. The thinking is that this approach helps babies learn to chew, swallow, develop motor control skills and helps them be aware of how much they’re putting into their mouths. It sets the stage for parents and kids eating the same thing at the dinner table, which can take some stress out of mealtime.
The Rise of [New Ingredient] in Taste of Home Recipes
Our Taste of Home audience is rarely swayed by fad ingredients, so when we see new things being used regularly in recipes, we know they’re here to stay. The top new ingredients we are seeing on consistent basis are: oat milk and other alternative milks, fermented foods (such as kimchi, kombucha and miso), jackfruit, edible flowers and gochujang (Korean chili paste).