Annabel Langbein talks food trends and sustainability in 2020
Stepping into a new decade, there’s always a sense of resetting and rebooting. It’s a time when we ask ourselves where are we going, what’s the vision, how are we going to get there? In the food world, the trend-spotters have gazed into their crystal balls and made their predictions. So what do we have to look forward to in 2020?
Food containing cannabidiol (a nonintoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp, also known as CBD) will apparently be big, with CBD-infused drinks leading the charge (they contain no psychoactives so you don’t get high). Plant-based menus will continue to grow in popularity, as will healthy snacks. Oat milk is on the rise, and sparkling water and non-alcoholic drinks are hot. For reasons to do with Instagram, brightly coloured food is getting more popular (go figure!).
Creamy vegan spreads, such as chickpea butter, macadamia butter and watermelon seed butter, are becoming increasingly popular as a means to eliminate the use of palm oil and the associated issues of deforestation. Regenerative agriculture will continue to draw attention as a way to improve soil health and help fight climate change.
Not surprisingly, sustainability is THE buzzword, and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future as consumers face up to climate change and the effects of plastic on our ecosystems. We can look forward to clever recycling solutions, such as a bio-skin food wrap made from food waste, which protects food and makes it last longer.
The single fastest-growing trend in the USA right now is for non-GMO food. This is great news for New Zealand, as we remain one of the very few places in the world without any GMOs in our food chain.
Before Christmas, at a two-day boot camp at the Hirshberg Entrepreneurship Institute in Auckland focused on business-building strategies for domestic and export markets, I got the opportunity to meet Corinne Shindelar, CEO of the US $2B Independent Natural Foods Retailers Association. “How do we know,” she asked, “that GMO food is ‘sustainable’? How do we know there won’t be health issues going forward? Look at glyphosate. There are so many challenges of buying into new technologies, people have no understanding of consequence.”
She believes New Zealand is in a unique position to lead the world in environmental stewardship and net zero impact systems, and that we have an incredible opportunity to put our science and technology resources into addressing and creating more non-GMO sustainable growing and living solutions. “I expect safe, real, clean, ethical food from New Zealand, the New Zealand brand is all about this. I simply can’t get enough of these products in my own country.”
It’s been said before that we are the ‘new lucky country’. A vision of New Zealand leading the world in sustainable food production and reaping the benefits of being the premium, non-GMO food basket of the world is a future we can all feel excited about. Our time is now.