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What does 2020 have in store? Take a look at our predicted food and drinks trends for the year ahead...

1. Alcohol-free spirits

What do glamour-pusses Kate Moss and Anne Hathaway have in common, other than they’re both gorgeous? The answer is they are both also sober-curious... the polite way of saying ‘I’m trying to cut down on the booze’ – a growing, uber-popular trend among health-conscious millennials. Drinks manufacturers everywhere are tempting the ‘new dry’ with alcohol-free ‘spirits’ – with the category forecast to grow over 80% over the next few years.

2. Charcoal

Food is at the coal face... literally, as charcoal has become the must-use ingredient for top chefs and health gurus. Activated charcoal made from bamboo or coconut shell gives food an earthy, smoky taste and a fashionable dramatic look. Look out for it in pizza dough, ice cream and smoothies.

3. CBD oil

Next year might be time to try some mainstream marijuana. Corona-owned Constellation Brands have invested $4 billion in a Canadian marijuana company, while Heineken-owned brand Lagunitas is selling a sparkling water dosed with THC, the psychoactive ingredient in the wonder weed. For a safer bet, search out drinks containing CBD oil or try new dishes at hip London hangouts like Farmacy who serve ‘High Tea’... geddit? Or visit Farm Girl and try the ‘Happy Hot Chocolate’.

 

4. Sourdough loaves

If you need to work up an appetite then get baking your own sourdough loaf. This long labour-intensive process is being used as a therapeutic anecdote to screen time by many. To get started, you need a ‘starter’. A live-culture that you need to nurture and feed – much like the fluffy Furbies of old. Although, they didn’t deliver deliciously crusty loaves with that chewy, sour, tempting interior.

5. Root-to-tip eating

Fancy some potato peeling fritters served with coriander stalk chutney? Dishes like this are part of the new ‘root-to-tip’ eating trend, which ensures cooks throw nothing away. For inspiration on zero-waste cooking seek out healthy-cooking goddess Melissa Hemsley’s new book Eat Green which goes on sale in January.

6. Sustainable ingredients

Sustainable. Sustainable. Sustainable – a crucial trend in 2020. Ensuring that their menus only feature sustainable ingredients is part of the plan at many top restaurants with head chefs seeking out under-utilised resources often not considered palatable, or that haven’t been traditionally grown by farmers. These include wild garlic, wild leek and cashews.

 

7. Edible packaging

Eat the lot. No seriously. In an effort to reduce the staggering amount of single-use plastic we throw away, food manufacturers are producing products in edible packaging. From Diageo’s edible straws to Ooho water balls, that you swallow whole and sauce sachets from Just Eat made entirely of seaweed. This is surely the way to go?

8. Breakaway republic cuisine

Meet the ‘Stans!’ No, not Laurel, Baxter or... Morgan. But the cuisines from the mysterious and exotic Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan – not technically a Stan but just as exotic. These breakaway republics from the former Soviet Union are the leaders in fashionable new cuisines and will be showing us delicious ideas for noodles, pulses and aubergine as well as serving meat and fruity dishes with generous portions of chopped fresh herbs over everything!

9. Protein balls

It’s all a load of balls, it really is. If you want to eat for energy, then protein balls are the way to go. One source we looked at had 35 ideas for nutty, fruity, squidgy orbs of raw food goodness. I suppose you could say they’re naked nuts...or is that just plain rude? It really isn’t.

 

10. Low-sugar food

As part of the government’s drive to cut the nation’s sugar consumption, it’s vital we learn to live with less of the sweet stuff. Major brands are getting in on the act with cereal producer Jordans launching low-sugar granola, to Werther’s Originals offering sugar-free candies.

11. The mushroom of immortality

Trying to hold back the years? Then the Siberian Chaga mushroom, aka the ‘mushroom of immortality’, is the latest anti-ageing ingredient for your shopping list. It could well be the reason that getting-on-a-bit, Vladimir Putin, seems to have the vigour and vim of a man half his age. This fun-gi is touted to protect against premature ageing, memory loss as well as being a free-radical neutraliser.

12. Plant-based eating

This is the fastest-growing food trend we can remember. Online recipe searches for vegan ideas have doubled and sales of chilled vegan food has grown 25% this year alone. KFC recently launched ‘Beyond Fried Chicken’ in the states, a meat-free alternative made with soy and pea protein. And Greggs are planning to follow up that sausage roll...