23 January 2020

IP trends for 2020: innovation in the food industry

In line with recent public appetite for healthier living and sustainability, the expected trends for 2020 focus mainly on foods that improve our health and help the planet. This article highlights some of these industry trends for the coming year.


‘Seacuterie’ attracted significant media attention in the summer of 2019 and has steadily gained momentum ever since. For anyone who has yet to come across seacuterie, the trend is similar to charcuterie but involves pickling, fermenting, smoking and/or aging seafood, and the use of superfood sea vegetables (such as kelp, seaweed and algae). As this trend has become more popular, chefs around the world (and some supermarkets, such as Waitrose) have produced more interesting and innovative seafood creations, such as octopus salami/ ‘sea-lami’, scallop mortadella and seafood sausages. In addition, and in line with a more environmentally-friendly customer base, the seacuterie trend looks to reduce waste by using every part of the fish (‘gills-to-fin’ cooking). We look forward to seeing the new seafood creations which will emerge in 2020, but in the meantime, fish-eye chips anyone?

CBD-based foods

It has been difficult to miss the ever increasing variety of CBD-based products and their popularity with consumers. In recent years, the consumer perception of CBD (cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound found in the flower of the cannabis plant) has become more positive and is now viewed as a ‘trendy’ new superfood ingredient which could help to treat/relieve a number of medical ailments, such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, pain, stress and anxiety. This shift in consumer perception with respect to CBD-based products is due, at least in part, to the increasing amounts of medical research on the effects of CBD and the increased publicity of the health benefits associated with the compound.

Accordingly, many well-known companies across the globe have been quick to respond to this development, for example companies such as Nestlé, Diageo, Starbucks are either currently producing or researching CBD-based products for release in the food and drink market, even Ben & Jerry’s has announced that it has produced a CBD ice cream!

Whilst this trend is now reasonably well established, we would expect to see many more new and exciting CBD-based foods and drink products in the coming year.

Meat alternatives

2019 certainly was the ‘year of the vegan’, with numerous companies investing heavily in producing new and innovative vegan-friendly meat substitutes, which look and even taste like meat. In particular, Spanish company, Nova Meat, disclosed a method of 3D printing meat-free products in order to create a texture closer to that of unprocessed meat. In addition, 2019 saw meat-free burgers take over the fast-food restaurants, with Beyond Meat joining forces with McDonald’s and Impossible Burger teaming up with Burger King to provide vegan burgers to the masses. 

In view of the significant success of this trend in 2019, and the ever-increasing number of consumers looking to take on vegan/vegetarian lifestyles (with 300,000 people signed up to take part in Veganuary this year), we would expect companies to continue their research into improved and exciting vegan products throughout 2020. In fact, following the success of the vegan sausage roll, Greggs launched its new vegan Steak Bake on 2 January 2020, containing Quorn, onions and meat-free gravy – which has already received positive reviews!

This article was first published in Food & Drink Network UK’s Industry Insight journal in January 2020.

Laura Clews
Managing Associate