Spicy foods, stellar sarnies, flexi diets and planet-friendly eating are just some of the trends set to change the food scene in 2020. We look forward to what the new year has in store.
Hot hot hot!
Surveys have shown that a fifth of us are eating more spicy food than we used to. Perhaps thanks to the growing variety of chillies available to buy, from ancho and poblano chillies to fiery Scotch bonnets and Bird's Eye, all offering a spectrum of flavour. Try mulato and pasilla chillies in Rick Stein's Mexican Chicken Mole Poblano, which gives the sauce a dark roasted fruitiness with just a hint of heat. Or have a go at making your own Sweet Thai Chilli Sauce from The Hot Sauce Cookbook.
Never have we been more aware of how our food choices impact not only our health but the natural world around us, and that's showing itself in our eating habits. More people are choosing to reduce or cut out meat and fish, shown in the continued rise of vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian diets, while cutting food waste and seasonal eating is also on the up. 2020 will see a rise in cookbooks showing us how to eat more green (all while prioritising delicious flavour), whether that's cutting animal products, wasting less food or reducing plastic. Melissa Hemsley's new book, Eat Green, is the first of 2020's sustainable eating cookbooks, out in January.
Year of the Sandwich
Is 2020 really the year of the sandwich? It could well be. 2019 was all about the Insta-worthy Katsu Sando – a Japanese sandwich packed with delicious fillings from Iberico pork to katsu chicken – setting the stage for new, innovative takes on a good sarnie (and we're not talking BLTs).
West African food
West African ingredients, from moringa to tamarind are sneaking into the limelight, touted for their nutritional benefits, as well as cereal grains from sorghum to teff to millet. There's also a rise of interest in West African chefs and cooks with their takes on dishes from their home countries. Check out Rachel Ama's vegan take on her mum's favourite Sierra Leonean peanut stew.
Nut butter, move over
We may be familiar with nut butters that range from cashew to almond to peanut, but what about butters and spreads made from seeds and pulses? As more people seek vegan and palm oil alternatives to popular spreads, 2020 will see the rise of pumpkin butter and lentil spreads.
It's all in the soil! Carbon-cutting agriculture
Is cutting meat the only way to eat green? Not necessarily. With rising carbon emissions and warnings that the UK's soil fertility is set to run out, there's a growing movement of farmers seeking solutions to regenerate the soil and use it to store more carbon from the atmosphere through sustainable animal grazing – look out for more people talking about soil health in 2020 and what you can do to support small, local farms that are paving the way. In the meantime, learn how to eat the seasons and support pesticide-free farming with Abel & Cole's cookbook.
The new storecupboard fave: tahini
With the rise of Middle-Eastern cooking in recent years (thanks Ottolenghi, Honey & Co and Berber & Q among others...), tahini is becoming a firm storecupboard staple in the UK. Not only is it the core ingredient in houmous, tahini is wonderful in salad dressings, spread into sandwiches, added to cakes and biscuits, and drizzled over roasted vegetables.
Posh crumpets More of us are eating crumpets this year reports Waitrose, and for good reason too. Is there ever a bad time to gorge on hot crumpets with lashings of butter on top? Make your own at home very easily with this crumpet recipe.
The self care movement is set to rise, as meditation and mindfulness enters the mainstream and more of us take time to look after our mental health. Expect more cookbooks promoting nourishing, feel-good recipes shunning the restrictive diet labels. Check out Gemma Ogston's The Self Care Cookbook.
Thanks to documentaries like David Attenborough's Blue Planet, we're becoming more aware of the impact of single-use plastic on our planet. Now, zero waste shops are popping up all over the UK, selling ingredients, from beans and pulses to wine and cleaning products, without the polluting plastic.