The Food Trends That Defined 2020

This has been a year to say the least. We all know the words by now – ‘unprecedented’, ‘exhausting’, ‘trying times’ – but one thing that kept many of us going was food. Many of the food trends for 2020 have a different feel to previous years. With restaurants closed for the majority of the year and many of us working from home, there’s been a sharp shift towards comfort food and home cooking.

Whether you embraced making your own sourdough and banana bread, or got through the year by ordering takeaways, take a look at our list and see if you recognise any of the top food trends for 2020.

Sourdough bread

‘Bread recipe’ was the number one searched for recipe in the UK according to Google Trends, with ‘sourdough starter recipe’ coming in at number eight. While many of us tried our hand at different types of bread, sourdough was one of the most popular.

Bread has been a staple of our diets since the Stone Age, which partly explains why people find it so comforting. Baking is also thought to bring psychological benefits, including comfort and stress relief. The act of kneading the dough is relaxing in itself, plus there’s nothing like the smell of fresh bread.

Plant-based foods

A meat-free (or meat reduced) diet is a trend which saw no sign of slowing down in 2020, as we embraced meatless burgers, sausages, mince and much more. A vast increase in options, plus concerns about climate change and the environment, mean that more people than ever before are embracing a vegetarian or ‘flexitarian’ diet.

There are now meatless options for almost any food you can think of, including no-chicken kievs, beetroot burgers that look like the real thing, bacon, ham and even meatless ‘steak’.

Banana bread

If you weren’t making sourdough, chances are you were making banana bread. It’s popularity is likely due to the reasons listed for sourdough above, plus banana bread is almost foolproof to make. It’s the perfect way to use up any overripe bananas you have lying around and it can also be customised to suit your tastes. If you’re bored sick of the original recipe, try adding peanut butter, chocolate chips, raspberries or coconut.

Restaurant takeaways

The simple pleasure of going out for a meal was banned or heavily restricted for much of this year, so many of us opted for the next best thing. Nationwide chains and local restaurants alike upped their takeaway offerings to ensure that customers could still enjoy delicious food from the comfort of their own home.

Some restaurants offered full meal kits for those wanting a halfway point between home cooking and a professional meal. Options were endless, including three course meals, tasting menus and kits with accompanying wine pairings. Many restaurants offered takeaway Sunday roasts for those who couldn’t face cooking another meal at home, or fast food kits to recreate your favourite burgers.

Cocktails at home

The concept of time got very confused this year, especially with so many people working, living and homeschooling from the same place. Cocktail hour was one way to break up the monotony and searches including ‘frozen cocktail recipes’ grew by over 5000% this year.

2020 even coined its own cocktail, the ‘quarantini’, which can be made from whatever you’ve got lying around at the back of the cupboard. Those who were feeling ambitious even tried their hand at home brewing, with the search for ‘how to make cider at home’ also growing by over 5000%.

Homemade fast food

As well as a significant increase in takeaway orders, 2020 saw a huge rise in people attempting to recreate their favourite fast food at home. Online searches for ‘fakeaway’ recipes saw a huge increase, including searches for ‘homemade sweet and sour sauce’ and ‘how to make southern fried chicken’.

Some popular corporations even released their own ‘secret recipes’, including Ikea, who released a recipe for people to recreate their iconic meatballs at home.

Zero waste

Shortages of ingredients (including the much-sought after pasta and flour), plus growing environmental concerns, led many people to reduce their food waste during 2020. Increased time at home also highlighted how much food we’ve wasted in the past, but one study found that 48% of people were throwing away less food this year.

More time spent at home has also meant more time to devote to meal prep for many people and there’s also been a rise in searches for which food can be frozen. Less of a food ‘trend’ and more a positive cooking habit, a move towards zero waste is one movement we should embrace as we enter the new year. It also led to some more creative dishes, as people swapped or substituted ingredients based on what they had left. You never know, you might discover a tweak that makes your favourite dish even more delicious.

Dalgona coffee

This whipped drink made its first appearance back in January, when South Korean actor Jung Il Woo uploaded a video of him trying the beverage to his YouTube channel. Since then the craze has spread around the world, with millions of people trying to recreate the drink at home.

Dalgona coffee can be served hot or cold and is made by whipping equal proportions of instant coffee powder, sugar and hot water until creamy. This mixture is then dollopped on top of hot or cold milk to create a delicious, velvety alternative to a latte or cappuccino.

Spaghetti bolognese

The first few weeks of lockdown saw shortages of pasta and tinned tomatoes in supermarkets across the UK, as people eagerly stocked up on these store cupboard essentials. Like sourdough and banana bread, bolognese is a comforting classic that many people took time to perfect during lockdown.

Recipes vary, but a traditional bolognese is made using beef mince slowly braised in a rich tomato sauce with onions, carrots, garlic and celery. Some recipes call for additions including bacon, basil and even milk, to add depth of flavour. Vegetarians and vegans can enjoy bolognese too; simply swap the beef mince for a plant-based alternative.


This noodle soup is another dish that was perfectly suited to lockdown. Comforting, versatile and with flavours that remind us of far flung places, ramen continued to be very popular throughout 2020. There’s a number of variations, but most ramen dishes use wheat noodles served in a meat or fish based broth. The dish is then flavoured with soy sauce or miso and topped with sliced beef or pork, a boiled egg and sliced spring onion.

Wholesale foods and dairy products for 2021 and beyond – from Freshways

Food is one simple pleasure that truly united us this year, so if you’re looking for wholesale food and dairy products for your business as we enter 2021, get in touch with the team at Freshways. We’re proud to offer a range of high quality dairy products to customers throughout London, Wales and across the UK. We work with businesses of all sizes, from small local cafes, through to large hotels and restaurants, so we’re confident that we’ve got the products to suit you.

From a wide selection of cheeses, to yoghurt, cream, butter and milk, our products are made using  cows exclusively farmed in the UK, for the freshest, most reliable produce. If you’re looking for something a little different, we also offer bakery products, jam and wholesale juice, alongside products from many leading brands. For more information about our products or to discuss your requirements, don’t hesitate to give us a call today or get in contact via the website.