When it comes to the most popular food trends of the past 10 years, there’s no doubt that convenience, variety and healthier meal options have taken centre stage. There’s been an explosion of meat-free alternatives (think plant-based burgers and meals) on the market, plus plenty of milk alternatives to have in your “insta-worthy” breakfast bowl.
Then there’s been the rise of cauliflower pizzas and gluten-free breads, snacks and meals, plus smoothies packed with exotic superfoods such as matcha, turmeric and bee pollen. And we can’t forget the hundreds of tutorials we’ve seen on how to make bone broth and Kombucha.
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Which food trends will last?
The question is, which food trends will stay, and which will go in 2020 and beyond? We asked a panel of expert dietitians and ADSA (Association for Dietetics in South Africa) spokespeople to highlight some of the significant food trends that are likely to shape our thinking and our choices over the next decade.
Plant-based diets are here to stay
In the US, January 2020 kicked off with the first plant-based, major awards dinner being served up to the stars at the Golden Globes.
This wasn’t a surprise. Globally, more of the rich and famous have revealed their plant-based lifestyles, and with health documentaries such as Forks Over Knives and The Game Changers making waves, it’s evident that plant-based eating is gaining popularity every day.
Registered dietitian, Kelly Scholtz says: “An affordable diet in the average SA household is already very much plant-based, with small amounts of meat, chicken or fish used when possible, with beans, peas, lentils and foods like milk and eggs providing alternative and good sources of protein.
It’s already clear that restaurants and retailers in South Africa are stocking more meat alternatives and vegetarian and vegan products in support of this plant-based trend, which suggests that there’s more demand for plant-based options from consumers.”
Another ADSA spokesperson, Cath Day, says: “In my view, every vegetable and fruit is a rock star as they’re fresh, unprocessed and loaded with vitamins, minerals, polyphenols and fibre; making them a nutritionally dense food option. Therefore, the message, ‘eat your fruits and vegetables’, will never go out of style in the nutrition world.
Pulses are also fabulous for plant-based eating. They’re the edible seeds of plants in the legume family and are low in fat and high in protein and fibre. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours, and include dry beans, dry broad beans, dry peas, chickpeas, cow peas, pigeon peas and lentils.
Pulses promote the health of the planet too as they:
- Promote sustainable agriculture
- Decrease greenhouse gases
- Increase soil health
- Use less water than other crops.
Alcohol? Not so much…
Globally, there’s been a steady rise of non-alcoholic drinks on the shelves, as well as new kinds of alcohol abstinence programmes on social media. The truth is, global alcohol consumption has declined, and some top alcohol producers are increasingly focused on developing non-alcoholic options.
Could this become a trend in SA in 2020? Registered Dietitian, Retha Harmse says, “With alcohol being a non-nutrient and high in kilojoules, a whopping 29 kilojoules per gram, it’s no secret that alcohol abstinence is a good thing for your health and waistline. With the worldwide focus on moving towards healthier behaviours and habits, I do hope that alcohol consumption in SA will decrease in the new decade.”
“Free from” alternatives are on the rise
Walk down any supermarket aisle and you’ll notice plenty of sugar-free, dairy-free, fat-free or gluten-free options on the shelves. This food trend isn’t going anywhere as consumers worldwide are demanding more options. While variety is never a bad thing and it’s always advisable to avoid too much sugar and trans fats, more and more people are relying on Google to self-diagnose themselves as lactose intolerant or gluten intolerant and this isn’t ideal.
Retha says, “Unfortunately, many people self-diagnose intolerances and implement unnecessarily restrictive diets without professional advice. Besides being a lot of trouble, dietary exclusions can be very expensive; possibly cause nutrient deficiencies; and might be the origin of an eating disorder.”
Rather than starting the latest fad diet, ask your dietitian for advice. You’ll get a better, sustainable eating plan that takes your medical history and lifestyle into account.
Sustainability of the planet will matter more and more
Extreme weather conditions and species extinction aside, the greatest impact of a disrupted climate will be on human food production and food availability. The world’s agricultural system as it is, depends on the stability of the earth’s climate.
The good news is that the choices we make prompt businesses to produce foods with sustainability in mind. This effect is already evident in many ways. Some examples include:
- Reducing the use of plastic bags and packaging
- Sustainable fishing logos on certified fish products
- Calls for more humane treatment of animals
- Commitments to using sustainable sources of palm oil.
There’s also likely to be a passive or unavoidable change in behaviour in future – even for those who aren’t fully on board with sustainable food choices, because many food products could become more expensive if they’re not sustainably produced, or if extreme drought and other climate change makes production more challenging for farmers,” explains Kelly.
Intuitive eating will drive healthier food choices
“With the shift towards mindfulness and intuitive eating, people are feeling less societal pressure to look a certain way, and are embracing their natural curves,” says Retha Harmse. This is because the spotlight has shifted to healthy eating and living because you love your body, rather than trying to achieve the impossible skinny, waif look.
Feeling good about yourself also means taking more steps to live a healthier lifestyle, such as:
- Exercising for at least 30 minutes most days of the week
- Choosing healthy meals and snacks over processed, sugary foods
- Getting enough rest and sleep
- Managing stress at home and at work
- Avoiding smoking and unhealthy habits
- Having a purpose and being happy
To find a dietitian in your area visit ADSA
Compiled by Writer, Tammy Jacks