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Food for Thought in 2020

Jamie Allebach
Jamie Allebach Chief Executive & Creative Officer

There’s lots of great things happening in the world of food. Innovation is at an all-time high. Brands are working hard to clean-up their labels and ingredients. Sustainability is top-of-mind. And, better-for-you, healthier foods continue to grow.

Here’s some food for thought on where I see things going in 2020:

Plant-Based Foods are Here to Stay

I think that it’s safe to say that plant-based foods have definitely shifted from micro to macro, in the world of trends.

It would have been easy to shrug off burgers, after a few years, but it’s gone way beyond burgers, now (no pun intended). If fact, it’s gone far beyond the meat category.

There are plant-based snacks, pasta, soups, frozen meals, pizza crust, even dairy. It’s everywhere.

Major brands have introduced new plant-based lines and every time you turn around, there’s a new, emerging brand popping up on-shelf.

This category is only going to continue to grow. If plant-based offerings aren’t in your innovation pipeline—you’re seriously behind.

The Function Junction

As a society, we are rethinking food. Part of that process is getting back to the idea that food is fuel. It has a purpose and function.

Whereas food will always remain a great comfort in times of need, consumers are also looking for real functional benefits.

Protein is continuing to trend up. That’s why we’re seeing protein infused snacks, drinks, and foods. Protein is being added to basic everyday foods, because consumers want the functional benefits of protein.

Everything is being infused with CBD. Seeds are being added to foods—not for taste—but for function. Food is being enriched with vitamins. Beneficial oils are being used to enhance foods.

Functionality in foods is going to continue to be a major driver in 2020. How can you take advantage of this in your category?

Let’s Get Real

Real ingredients are where it’s at. If there are names that you can’t pronounce in your ingredient list—we need to talk.

I can’t express how important this is for the continued growth of your brand. GenX started leading the way on this in the late 90’s, but millennials have taken it to a whole new level.

Even if you have an “OK” ingredient list, but it’s long…chances are you’re getting overlooked. New consumers will give it a glance, and if it looks daunting—they’re going to bail.

Real ingredients. Real food. Consumers want to be able to recognize and feel comfortable about what’s in the food they are eating.

The scrutiny of nutritional facts is only going to get stronger—short, clean, real ingredients are where brands have to be going.

Ok, that’s a wrap on my “Food for Thought” for the coming year. Would love to hear your thoughts and comments, or feel free to email me at

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