2020 food and diet trends that are here to stay

Plant-based meat is an exciting food trend to emerge in 2020

2020 has been an extraordinary year… for all the wrong reasons. Here in Australia, we’ve been hit by extensive bushfires, drought and, of course, the coronavirus pandemic. But, there is also good news with exciting food and diet trends that have emerged and are hopefully here to stay. Say goodbye to the keto diet and hello to plant-based proteins and mindful eating.

Let’s take a look at the six new food innovations that you’ll be seeing a lot more of over the next few years… long after this annus horribilis has passed.


Collagen is the protein that is the main component of tendons, cartilage, bone and skin. It forms at least 30% of the protein in our bodies.

As we age, our collagen production slows, and that is when we start to see visible signs of ageing, like fine lines, wrinkles and thinning of hair. Using collagen to fight the signs of ageing is not novel. It has been used in topical creams for a number of years. And we are now seeing the rise of ingestible forms of collagen in the form of powders, shakes and capsules. However, evidence supporting the use of collagen supplements is limited, and more research needs to be undertaken before we support its use. It is predicted that the global collagen market will reach more than $US6.5 billion by 2025. Nevertheless, time will tell if we should be supplementing with collagen to help slow down the ageing process.

Collagen supplementsPlant-based proteins

The meat industry is facing an unprecedented level of disruption and competition due to the soaring growth of plant-based meat alternatives. The rapid acceleration of plant-based proteins or faux meats is showing no signs of abating.

Recent research conducted by Food Frontier found that plant-based meats across most categories have, on average, lower or comparable kilojoules and salt, higher or comparable protein. Additionally, they tend to be lower in fat and saturated fat. They also contain fibre, which is not found in meat. And according to the report faux meats have, on average, higher Health Star Ratings than their meat equivalents in most categories e.g. sausages, burgers etc.

Alternative proteins in the marketplace will continue to gain traction as awareness about the environmental, health and ethical impact of our food choices increases. This may very well be the decade of plant-based proteins.

Fermented foods

Fermentation is making a comeback in a big way! There is a growing demand for fermented foods because consumers view them as healthier and more natural products that deliver health benefits, particularly for our digestive health. The evidence also shows that fermented foods can help to keep our weight in check and improve our heart health.

Consumption of foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha is on the rise. Fermentation is an ode to the past, but it’s a trend that is certainly back in vogue. There are even calls for fermented foods to be included as an additional food group in the next issue of the dietary guidelines.


Prebiotic fibre

Prebiotic fibres escape normal digestive processes and help to stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the large bowel. These fibres are essentially fodder for the bacteria.

Some health benefits linked with a high prebiotic fibre intake include a greater diversity of gut bacteria, improved mineral absorption, possible protection against colon cancer and digestive disturbances, improved blood glucose and a reduction in inflammatory conditions.

Foods high in prebiotic fibre include onion, garlic, legumes, watermelon, rye bread, pasta, oats and cashews and pistachio nuts.

Consumers are certainly becoming more aware of the importance of including prebiotic fibre in the diet and are looking for more novel ways to boost their intake. A number of original products have been launched with the addition of prebiotic fibre. These products will no doubt become more prevalent in the years to come, especially as more research exploring their benefits is revealed. 

Mindful eating

Mindful eating relies on internal cues such as hunger and fullness, and other physical cues to guide us when making food choices. It is an established strategy that helps us to take back control of our eating habits. It can even help us to foster a better relationship with food and with our bodies.

At its core, mindful eating encourages us to eat slowly without distraction and non-judgment and helps us to distinguish between true hunger and non-hunger cues for eating. It rejects the old diet model that orders us to follow a strict and rigid eating pattern and a one-size-fits-all approach.

Mindful eating has been lauded by health professionals and practised by celebrities. It’s a welcome trend that is here to stay.

Indigenous foods

If you watched the most recent series of Masterchef you would have noticed ingredients like wattleseed, Kakadu plum, lemon myrtle and Davidson plum on the menu. Australian bush foods have been nourishing Indigenous Australians for thousands of years. And now, these ingredients are finally becoming more common and gaining the recognition they so richly deserve.

Australian native foods pack a nutritional punch. Kakadu plum, for example, has approximately five times more antioxidants than blueberries and almost 100 times more vitamin C than an orange. It also is a good source of vitamin E, iron, calcium, folate and magnesium.

Indigenous foods are finding their way into jams, smoothies, bliss balls and slices. We’ll be sure to see native Australian ingredients becoming much more commonplace in the next few years. Think muesli bars, dairy products, breakfast cereals and bread. They’re bound to appear soon on a café menu near you.

Davidson plums growing on trees

As much as things will always develop and change in the food and nutrition sector, some of these new and exciting trends are undoubtedly here to stay. Now, where can I get a collagen smoothie and a plant-based Rueben sandwich on rye bread with extra sauerkraut?

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