2019 was a big year for vegan food. We saw the rise of plant-based menu items in major restaurants including McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC. Consumer appetites for vegan food seem to show no sign of slowing, either. And 2020 is poised to bring a whole lot more plants to a whole lot more plates. And in delicious and innovative ways. Here are our top 10 food trend predictions for 2020.
1. Biggest Meat Trend: Plant-Based Chicken
If 2019 was the year of the vegan burger, 2020 is poised to be the year of vegan chicken. Whichever way you like it — fried, wings, or nugs — the vegan chicken revolution is coming. Chains like KFC and A&W are already experimenting with vegan chicken but you can expect to see it everywhere else, too, soon enough. (Check out our complete guide to vegan chicken brands and recipes here for more inspo.)
2. Biggest Dairy Trend: Oats (Again)
Fact: anything meat or milk can do, oats can do just as good and even better. It was our top dairy trend for 2019 and it’s back for 2020. But this year, it’s more than just milk. While Oatly has already started the unstoppable infiltration into latte cups across the planet, oats are finding their way into a number of other items. Swedish brand Halsa is making a name for itself in the yogurt alternative market. And now with help from Stonyfield Yogurt founder Gary Hirshberg. And select Taco Bell locations are now serving meat made from Oats. That’s right, oat meat. It cooks and tastes just like traditional beef but without the consequences. You can read more about oat meat here.
3. Biggest Fast-Food Trend: More Meat + Cheese!
While 2019 was certainly overflowing with vegan fast food options, 2020 is going to see even more inventive menu items and more restaurant chains jumping into the mix. Expect more burgers like Impossible or Beyond. Expect vegan chicken and sausages. But the biggest runaway fast-food hit in 2020 might just be vegan cheese. As chains saw significant success with vegan meat in 2019, consumers want fully vegan options like vegan cheeseburgers and vegan pizza. Chains like Domino’s and Pizza Hut have already been adding vegan cheese in the EU and Australia with much success. Could American shops be next? (Definitely.)
4. Biggest Trend to Watch: Vegan Egg
Scrambled, fried, quiche, even vegan versions of hard-boiled eggs will be on more plates in 2020 than ever before. And this isn’t just scrambled eggy-style tofu — brands like JUST and Follow Your Heart are revolutionizing the egg market with vegan alternatives that look, cook, and taste just like eggs. Tim Hortons has already been trialing vegan egg patties from JUST in select Canadian locations. And with chains like Dunkin’ launching vegan breakfast sausage, a vegan egg patty sandwich in the U.S. might not be that far off.
5. Biggest Vegan Buzz Category: Cheese
What’s more perfect than a wedge of stinky, creamy, pungent cheese? In 2020, the answer will be only this, I guarantee: vegan cheese, and lots of it. Get ready because the future will be meltable. While we’re certainly going to see more quick cheese options on burgers and pizzas, it’s just the tip of the giant wedge ahead. From small-batch producers making brie, cheddar, and gouda, to spreadable cream cheeses and crumbly feta and ricotta. Get those cheeseboards ready!
6. Biggest Snack Trend: Dairy-Free Chocolate
2019 saw Nestlé’s dark chocolate Aero and Mars’ vegan Galaxy bars hit shelves. But those won’t be the only option for fans of dairy-free chocolate. Just like 2019 was brimming with dairy-free ice cream products, 2020 will see the same on the chocolate front and then some. Halloween can’t get here soon enough!
7. Biggest Dessert Trend: Vegan Bakeries
Sure, there are lots of vegan baked goods available already. But there will be more. And good things carbs are back in fashion because fresh crusty bread and croissants, brioche, those addictive macarons, and everything in between, is coming. You won’t have to go to specialty bakeries anymore. Vegan baked goods will be everywhere in 2020.
8. Biggest Vegan Cuisine Trend: French Food
It may seem hard to imagine vegan versions of French classics like foie gras or beef bourguignon. But anything can be made vegan these days and top chefs are already embracing the trend. You can now get vegan foie gras in restaurants like Brooklyn’s Sans. French chef Jean-Georges has increased vegan options at his Los Angeles restaurant. Ladurée Bakery in Beverly Hills has gone fully vegan, too, thanks to plant-based chef Matthew Kenney. There are so many vegan restaurants in the City of Light that now you can eat a different one daily. Check out our top vegan Paris restaurant picks here.
9. Biggest Innovation: Bean-Based Products
Beans are nothing new to vegan cuisine. But they’re going high-tech. Vegan burgers made with fava beans? Yogurt from peas? Eggs from mung beans? Cheese puffs from garbanzos? Lentil noodles? Yep. And much more. The popular Beyond Burger is already pea-based and the company is looking to other bean-based protein sources for future product development. And you’ll see beans all across the supermarket aisles and fast-food menus as innovative food-tech startups reimagine meat and dairy through the humble bean. Haven’t tried them yet? 2020 is your year.
10. Biggest Veggie Trend: Green Is Back
Vegetables have seen a lot of trends in recent years, mainly just being back on plates. But the trends got funky, like whole root-to-stem cooking. Purples were all the rage in for a while. Cauliflower is now in everything from bread and pasta to pizza crusts. But for the purist, 2020 is going to be a most excellent year because green is back. It’s the new-old-new again. And greens are better than ever. From simple salad greens like baby kale and arugula to hardier collards and chicory. And keep an eye for greens like peas and broccoli, and of course, the might Brussel sprout, taking center plate as 2020 is going green. Are you?