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5 Food Trends to Be on the Lookout for This Year

The Fancy Food Show shined the spotlight on several food brands that are spearheading new trends.

Food brands are more creative than ever before and the Specialty Food Association Winter Fancy Food Show confirmed that there are many exciting food innovations on the brink of debuting if not already for sale. There also happens to be a few distinctive commonalities between several of the 80,000 products that were featured at the expo, and we're thinking these similarities foreshadow eminent food trends to come this year.

Here are the five food trends to look out for this year.

Oat milk may become the most popular milk alternative

endangered species oat milk chocolate bars
Courtesy of Endangered Species

Oat milk is sensational right now, and more and more brands are beginning to include the milk alternative in their products. For example, just recently Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts announced they would be adding oat milk-based lattes to their menus. Starbucks is testing out an Oatmilk Honey Latte in the midwest and Dunkin' is adding the Oatmilk Latte to its menu permanently.

Now, more niche brands such as Endangered Species Chocolate just launched a chocolate bar that replaces dairy milk with oat milk, allowing non-dairy eaters to have their delicious chocolate bar and eat it too. Miyoko's Creamery also launched spreadable cultured oat milk butter and Elmhurst debuted individual chocolate, vanilla, and blueberry flavored oat milk containers as well as oat-based creamers. One of the most well known Oat milk companies, Planet Oat, just announced that it's launching its first ice cream alternative, which will be available in six flavors, including coffee fudge swirl and blueberry oat crumble.

Plant-based innovations will amplify

longeve pea protein
Courtesy of Longeve

Speaking of oat milk replacing dairy, many other brands have emerged that are full-fledged plant-based. Beanfields, for example, recently announced it will be launching grain-free Vegan Cracklins made of beans, cassava flour, and chickpea protein instead of pork. You already know about Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger, but have you heard of Longéve? The company produces plant-based protein crumbles made from dehydrated, texturized pea protein. All you do is add water, season, and heat accordingly. And of course, if meat can be mimicked with plant-based foods, so can cheese. Urban Cheesecraft makes dairy-free, vegan, paleo, and gluten-free cheese made from white beans, nuts, seeds, and vegetables.

Related: The 15 Best Packaged Products That Prove Plant-Based Diets Can Be Delicious.

Functional tea may rise to stardom

numi sweet slumber
Courtesy of Numi

You've likely sipped on a decaffeinated tea to help wind down after a long day or a caffeinated variety such as earl grey to help kickstart your morning. Now, functional tea has jumped to the forefront, which can target gut health and relaxation. Numi Organic Tea, for example, recently launched Sweet Slumber, which, as you may gather from its name, helps to induce sleep. The blend consists of valerian root, chamomile, hop, lavender, and lemon balm leaf. In a similar vein, Vegan Rob's is now selling tea bags that geared toward helping those with anxiety and depression ease symptoms.

More packaged foods will showcase cuisine from around the globe

persian trail mix
Courtesy of Niloofar

There are many healthy frozen food brands out there such as Amy's, Saffron Road, and Deep Indian Kitchen that showcase cuisine from different parts of the world. However, this year you'll likely see more of this kind of representation throughout all of the shelves in the supermarket, not just the freezer aisle. For example, have you ever sampled a Persian-style trail mix? Niloofar sells just that—a mix of white mulberries, figs, golden berries, and pistachios.

There will be greater emphasis on sustainable packaging

ugly pickle
Ugly Pickle Co./Facebook

As the need for sustainable practices increases, the more we see food brands hopping on board and conceptualizing packaging for products that use less plastic and other non-biodegradable materials. The biggest trend in 2019 may have been the switch from plastic straws to paper and metal ones. In 2020, expect to see more environmentally-friendly packaging for ice cream pints and even tea. There are also brands that are looking to eliminate food waste such as Ugly Pickle Co. The California-based brand rescues bruised vegetables such as cucumbers, squash, and carrots and either pickles them or makes condiments out of them. Time to keep an eye out for these products next time you're shopping!

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That! Read more about Cheyenne