With the new year well and truly underway, here are the trends we’re expecting to continue throughout 2020…

1. Eco-buying

Gone are the days where consumers have no interest in where their meals are coming from, just as long as they taste good – we’re seeing a rise in consumers buying more consciously and wanting nutritious, high quality, and locally sourced ingredients. Findings from Drapers show that 69% of British consumers would be more likely to buy a product if it described the environmental impact it would have. Restaurants are taking this message to heart – we’re seeing more restaurants with open kitchens, allowing customers to see their meals prepared before their very eyes.

2. Cross-cultural meals

We aren’t talking about going to your local Italian, French, or Chinese restaurant, but meals that soften the distinction between which countries the ingredients and influences are originating from. Think of your two favourite dishes from other countries, but even better. Scarlet Opus, consumer & design trend forecasting experts, have seen a rise in the demand for cross-cultural meals. Chefs everywhere are beginning to hop on the trend of mixing elements from different cultures to give their consumers the most out of their meals. Some perfect pairings we hope to see this year include Mexican and Indian, Ecuadorian and Japanese, and even French and Nigerian!

3. Gut friendly

Wanting a happy and healthy gut shouldn’t be a trend, but gut-friendly ingredients that have been neglected in the past are on the up in 2020. Kimpton, one of the largest operators of global multiple concept restaurants and bars, has found a few obscure elements to be on the rise: ingredients such as ashwagandha, collagen peptides, nutritional yeast and seaweed, as well as high probiotic foods like kefir, kimchi, sourdough and – of course – kombucha. Happy gut = happy you, so be good to yourself this year by incorporating these probiotic and gut-friendly elements to your daily diet.

4. Subscription over ownership

More than ever, consumers desire the ability to have subscriptions in almost all aspects of their lives. Why? For the past fifty, sixty, even seventy years, status was established by what you had. The materialism movement is fizzling out as consumers are increasingly desiring experiences rather than physical possessions. As you scroll through your feeds, influencers pop up wearing different outfits each day. If you find yourself wondering “how big are their wardrobes to fit all of these clothes?!” we have the answer – and it’s simpler than you might think. Subscribing rather than owning frees the consumer from worrying about upkeep, declining value, and above all, clutter. Over the past seven years, subscription companies have seen a 300% jump in growth, according to Zuora’s Subscription Economy Index. Consumers crave products and services that keep up with their busy, fast-paced lives, and subscriptions are that answer to their prayers.

5. People trust people

Would you ever stay in an Airbnb without reading the reviews? How about sending your kids to a new school without researching opinions first? The sentiment of people trusting people is widespread, and it’s starting to make breakthroughs in business marketing operations. As the world becomes more and more digital, with internet business scams lurking in every corner, consumers are looking for real reviews, by real people, in real-time. Consumers don’t want to hear what the businesses have to say about their products; they’re looking for the opinions of genuine users. Hubspot found that 81% of consumers trust the advice of family and friends over businesses. Next time you make a purchase that you love, consider leaving a review to help out your fellow shoppers.

6. Voice ordering

Although we don’t have the traditional human-sized robots doing everything for us as we’d imagined we would by 2020, we do have something quite similar: our phones, laptops, tablets and even our watches now have the ability to make shopping hassle-free in order to keep up with our ever-changing lives. Siri, Alexa, and Google Home have opened the doors of trust for consumers to use voice to speak to technology, allowing them to get what they want with minimum effort. Although still a relatively new topic, voice ordering in the restaurant industry is set to be the next big thing. According to Juniper Research, the voice trend is enabled by digital voice assistants, which are predicted to grow to nearly 8 billion by 2023 compared to 1.5 billion devices of today. The use of voice activation has seen rapid growth in recent years and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon: in the upcoming decade, we can expect to hear an overwhelming number of consumers telling their Alexa, “hey Alexa, I’m hungry” and having their dinner delivered right to their doorstep, hassle-free.

7. Scan while you shop

As much as we love a proper queue, we don’t want to worry about it at the supermarket. Supermarkets have begun recognising the clutter and frustration that their customers experience at the end of their shopping experience and are looking to make a change. Stores like ASDA, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and even Waitrose have begun implementing scan and go transaction processes to make their customers happy. Last year, Sainsbury’s opened its first “scan and pay” only store where they’re testing the software and figuring out what needs to be improved. As customers love the scan and go, hassle-free model, we can expect to see more and more big retailers adopting this style.

8. Electric delivery bikes
Whether you love or hate all of the UberEATS and Deliveroo drivers throughout London, they aren’t going anywhere! Drivers can be seen everywhere on their bikes and motorcycles as orders on the two platforms continue to rise. Are all of the motorbikes on the road sustainable, though? More and more drivers are making the switch to electric bikes to keep up with the ever-growing sustainability trend. Electric assistance allows delivery drivers to deliver more food, more quickly. We predict more delivery companies will be making the switch to electric bikes this year as they’re emission free, faster than traditional bikes, and affordable.

9. Personal interaction

As the world becomes more digital people are experiencing more business interactions with robots via telephone calls, chat boxes, and automatic replies. Although these methods are great, consumers don’t just want to be seen only as another money bag. Internet Retailing found that 69% of consumers desire a personalised experience, but less than 50% of brands are delivering. The younger generations truly value enriching and more engaging experiences with businesses, which can be accomplished through social media, websites, or thank you cards. Consumers desire brands with which they can form a life-long relationship and bond.

10. Vertical farming

Are you looking for fresh, sustainable vegetables that you know you can trust? Infarm, one of the world’s most advanced urban farming platforms, paired up with Marks & Spencer to fulfil the sustainability desires of consumers. Vertical farming in stores will be on the rise in the coming months and year – with this, customers will have the ability to watch vegetables grow in the supermarket and pick the ones that they want, ensuring that they know they are as fresh as it gets. Each unit uses 95% less water and 75% less fertilizer than the traditional agricultural process. Erez Galonska, co-founder and CEO of Infarm, looks to meet the needs of urban communities first in London and then across the United Kingdom. As more companies such as M&S invest millions into this new concept, we expect that others will be following in their footsteps.