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Tips & Trends

Top Food Trends for 2020

We asked seven Sysco chefs to predict what food and service trends will dominate in 2020. Here is a taste of their wisdom.

  • January 09, 2020
Diners using a foodservice kiosk to order a meal.

Neil Doherty

SENIOR DIRECTOR OF
CULINARY DEVELOPMENT
SYSCO CORPORATION
Robotics: As labor costs rise, it will become more economical to automate areas of our industry. Yesterday’s science fiction is today’s reality as advances in robotics are showing up in more foodservice operations:
• Touch-screen restaurant kiosks
• Computer-barista coffee and espresso machines
• Retail robotic bread baking
• Automated salad kiosks
• C-stores without attendants

Bryan Hudson

CULINARY CONSULTANT
SYSCO RALEIGH
Local and Sustainable: Hyperlocal sourcing is still a focus with chefs, as are the following moves toward more environmentally friendly food service:
• Better traceability of foods
• Less kitchen waste
• Eco-friendly to-go containers
• Single-service wipes made from natural ingredients like flaxseed
• Using “ugly” or imperfect produce in kitchens and retail outlets
• Sourcing from reliable, responsible and traceable suppliers

Kelly Bean

CULINARY CONSULTANT
SYSCO NASHVILLE
Protein Snacks: Consumers are looking for protein any way they can get it. Adding more protein-rich options to your menu—including plant-based meat alternatives and protein-based beverages—can keep diners coming back. Examples include:
• Low-carb, high-protein snacks
• Extra protein added to dishes and ingredients
• Grab-and-go snacks such as cheese, sausage and salami, cubed turkey or chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs and even kabobs

Benjamin Udave

MARKET CHEF
SYSCO LOS ANGELES
Regional Cuisine: Food is not all created equal, nor should it all taste the same. With the number of millennial and Gen Z diners continuing to rise, street food is huge, and regional ethnic cuisines need to be as authentic as possible. Some popular examples include:
• Middle Eastern
• North African
• Mexican: Norteño, Yucatán, Oaxacan
• Indian/Northern India
• Japanese/ramen by region
• Greek

Elizabeth Wheaton

CULINARY CONSULTANT
SYSCO BOSTON
Plant-Based: With plant-based trends on the rise, fantastic products are hitting the market. Sysco Simply’s Plant Based Meatless Burger Patty is a center-of-the-plate wonder. Other great plant-based alternatives include:
• Sysco Simply Plant Based products
• Raised & Rooted Nuggets Made From Plants*
• Ahimi tomato-based tuna
• Good Catch plant-based tuna

*Exclusive to Sysco’s Cutting Edge Solutions

Jason Knapp

CULINARY CONSULTANT
SYSCO ARKANSAS
Convenient Sous Vide: As sous vide cooking has entered mainstream kitchens, the struggle for chefs is paying for the extra labor and costly equipment. Now, the advent of convenient sous vide products makes it easy to cook a delicious meal of tender beef short ribs. Other great options for sous vide cooking include:
• Beef fillet
• Eggs
• Salmon
• Chicken breast
• Lobster tail

Jeffrey Cox

CULINARY CONSULTANT
SYSCO SEATTLE
Clean Label: What does “clean label” mean? Products that are made using as few, whole ingredients as possible. They should also be less processed and recognizable by consumers as “better for you.” Diners today are focused on eating wholesome, nutritious foods, and menus are offering more:
• Vegetables
• Whole grains
• Fruits
• Alternative proteins
• Globally sourced spices
• Healthy oils