Discover 2020 food trends for your restaurant

Published 02.06.2020 - Last update 02.17.2020
top food trends

Discover 2020 food trends for your restaurant

To get off to a good start in 2020, TheFork & NellyRodi have teamed up to reveal the top 6 food trends of the year, drawn from 3 major food movements that will revolutionize what's on our plates in 2020: #foodmood, #foodcool & #foodgood.

Eating well has become increasingly important in today's society more and more customers are starting to question themselves when making restaurant reservations. It's no longer a question of satisfying a primary need for survival, our eating behaviours play a part in nourishing our soul, mind and heart, and at the same time we don't want to upset anyone around us, especially our planet.


Your customers are growing increasingly sensitive to the idea of wellness being related to what we eat, food is becoming the key to getting better and feeling good. Over 65,000 Instagram posts already include the hashtag #mindfood, often alongside #powerofpositivity. 

 The MindFood Trend

The #mindfood trend highlights the emotional role food plays in our daily lives. People are now interested in the benefits that our diet can provide us with beyond the purely functional aspects, and in the synergies that exist between our current frame of mind and the foods best suited to address it. 

Restaurants are starting to factor their customers' moods into their dishes more routinely in order to offer dishes that respond to their emotional needs at any given time, going well beyond detoxing or gluten-free options.

Some restaurants that are following this trend:

  • Millimeter Milligram Black Boudha in Seoul

  • The Souls philosophy in Copenhagen

  • Grow Healthy in Portugal


Consumers are driving a real shift in the restaurant industry, calling for it to be more sustainable, more ethical, modern and positive. Social responsibility and community involvement are at the heart of current priorities.

The Sustainable Food Trend

In response to a linear economy plagued by waste, pollution and widespread environmental damage, ethical approaches to cooking and food are becoming increasingly popular.

Faced with highly socially conscious consumers, chefs are now opening up their kitchens and being transparent about where their products come from. Reduce, recycle, reuse.

This is the mantra behind some restaurants, like the "Hunter Gatherer Manifesto" in Shanghai and zero waste bar "Nine Lives" in London, inspired by the "Sillo" restaurant in Australia and the "Zero Waste Bistro" in New York, a pop-up restaurant made from drinks cartons and recycled plastics.

The Foodtech & Smart Eating Trend

The foodtech sector grew worldwide by 43% in 2018 (source: AgFunder). For 70% of French people, technology now has its place at the table. Robot waiters in several Japanese restaurants, like the "Sushi Sun Magliana" in Rome, aren't even a surprise anymore.  

By 2023, it is estimated that the mobile app market will be worth over 16 million euros (Allied Market Research) and that personal monitoring & health checks will experience an unprecedented boom.

The "Hapifork" electronic fork, which monitors eating habits and vibrates when you eat too fast, is very much at the forefront of this trend.

There are also other innovations such as the Winnow system, for example, which uses a smart scale and camera to measure the amount and type of food thrown away by restaurants. Staff can then indicate the reasons why the food has been thrown away (mistake in the kitchen, unfinished plate, etc.). Careful analysis of this data allows decisive action to be taken to reduce food waste.

A restaurant and concept following this trend:

·        Damien Hirst's Pharmacy 2 Restaurant in London


But when it comes to food, it's not only about ethics and wellness, the restaurant scene in 2020 is set to reinvent itself by building bridges between culinary creativity, art, aesthetics and fashion. Watch out for a real explosion in this sector that's already reached its boiling point.

The Food Club Trend 

With rebellions against the tide of the widespread #healthyfood movements, people craving a sense of belonging to a community that shares the same passions, and highly personalized loyalty programs, food clubs are on the rise and becoming extremely popular.

There is a growing desire to break away from the mainstream and sometimes even exhibit non-conformist behaviour.

Just look at the "Filles à Côtelettes" (Chop Girls) club for meat lovers and the "Chokola Club" for #rebelsonly.

So keep this trend in mind when planning your seasonal menu, there is (still) something for everyone!

The Food Entertainement Trend

Welcome to the post-foodporn era.To surprise diners in an ultra-instagrammable world, culinary experiences are pushing the sensory envelope with virtual reality and ASMR.

The dining experience arouses all our senses in an exquisite, almost orgasmic journey of discovery, from the food on the plate to the restaurant itself!

The "Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland" hotel and restaurant, which is actually located under the sea, transforms your dinner into a unique, sensual and unforgettable immersive experience.

Some restaurants that are following this trend:

●          Chef Français Paul Pairet (Jury Top Chef 2020) and his UltraViolet restaurant in Shanghai

●          Swedish restaurant The Alchemist “Under the dome” located in a planetarium and run by Chef Rasmus Munk

●          Svart Hotel & restaurant in Norway, the first restaurant in the world with a positive energy footprint in 2021

6 Culinary Delights

Visual, aesthetic, creative, sensory, artistic, food is a veritable playground where the rules of classical cuisine are profoundly challenged! 25% of French people are tempted by more creative restaurants, be it visual or taste based creativity, using insects, fluorescent dishes or other unusual concepts.

Indulge in the infinite world of culinary creativity! Dare to stand out from the crowd, take your restaurant concept to the limit and become a local/global leader, let your vision of food speak for itself and rewrite the rules.

Some restaurants that are following this trend:

·        Banana Haruki_IG in Korea

·        ON NOM kitchen , in Melbourne with a desserts only menu

·       Christina Tosi's milk bar

9 inspirational ideas for your restaurant in 2020

1 - Herbs

Lemon balm is good for relaxation and digestion, and was historically highly prized in the court of Louis XIV in the form of lemon balm liqueur, and it is once again gaining popularity. In cocktails, herbal teas, desserts or soups, chefs and bartenders are clamouring for it to surprise and delight their customers, why not you?

2 - Liquorice, a retro flavour

Antésite, a French liquorice-based drink created in 1898, is the ultimate wellness drink, and is enjoying a revival in 2020. Why? Because it's made from 100% natural ingredients, is free of colourings and additives, and when mixed with water is the perfect thirst quencher for liquorice lovers, nostalgic for liquorice sticks or sweets.

3 - Using ancient or traditional varieties of wheat

In response to gluten intolerance and the desire to produce bread on a non-industrial scale, old-fashioned/traditional flours are making a comeback in bakeries, as well as in luxury hotels like the Bristol Paris, which is going as far as installing a mill in its basement to produce 100% natural flour and bread.

Lupin seeds, the next big thing in aperitifs?

Following the trend for old-fashioned snacks, lupin seeds are making an appearance with aperitifs and in salads, surprisingly these little golden nuggets have as much protein as red meat.

5 - Comfort food like Granny used to make

Nothing will delight your customers more than good old-fashioned dishes synonymous with fond childhood memories, yoghurt cake with chocolate icing, fruit tart with homemade shortcrust pastry, hearty winter stew, pasta bake with delicious cheese... 

6 - Spice it up

Put a little spice bar on each table, not only will they look good but your customers will also be able to season their dishes to suit their own preferences.

7- Unusual ingredients

Fermented milk with gourmet Déglet Nour dates, Pandan leaves, Asian celtuce, chaga mushrooms, so many ingredients that you might not be familiar with but that will soon appear on our plates to amaze your taste buds; why not on your menu too?

8- Charcoal, sesame and black garlic

Black is inspirational, even fascinating, and can now be found on our plates. It adds intensity to bread, pastries, ice cream, buns and drinks. Ride the wave of this trend and let Chef conjure up wonders with charcoal, black sesame or black garlic...

The new international gastronomic scenes

While top Asian cuisine has mainly been found in China and Japan, ultra-trendy culinary venues have appeared in new locations frequented by a more targeted clientele: Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taiwan, Paris... This cuisine is particularly well known for its ability to create hybrid concepts, such as the "Remix Menu" at the Parisian restaurant "Tontine" founded by a young Vietnamese chef.

In the Middle East, Israeli cuisine is gaining in popularity, backed by a generation of Israeli chefs who travel the world showcasing its uniquely seasoned flavours. Jerusalem-born chef Assaf Granit, for example, has just opened his second restaurant, "Shabour", in Paris.

Finally, Martinique has recently come back into the spotlight thanks to chef Marcel Ravin, who has just earned his first star, the only star held by a chef from Martinique. 


Not part of our community yet? It's the perfect time to join us!Click here and join the foodtech movement, use the booking button on your social media, and enjoy a host of other features that will help you streamline your restaurant management.

*Study carried out in December 2019 with 305 participating TheFork users.   

Methodology: NellyRodi methodology is based on a detailed and exhaustive analysis of customers, society and marketing & creative trends in order to enable our users to better understand the world in which they are operating. For TheFork, the agency has identified the major trends that are set to push boundaries in the restaurant industry. Through conversational research made possible by social media and a particular focus on early indications of culinary innovations, we have identified the drivers of desirability in a socially aware and re-energized industry.   




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