In its second report for New Zealand, United Fresh, the only pan-produce organisation in the country, has announced what it expects to be the top fresh produce consumption trends for 2020.

At the top of the list is a shift towards plant-based diets. Despite studies showing only 6-7 per cent of New Zealanders identify as vegetarian or vegan, United Fresh is expecting more market offerings that will “test our desire for lab grown meat and new innovative blends (like grains and mung beans)”.

With New Zealand’s zero carbon bill coming into effect in 2020, United Fresh has identified sustainable and regenerative agriculture to become more important in the industry. It’s anticipating consumers will seek out brands that support regenerative practices, which includes the reduction of unnecessary packaging.

The advent of new, small store formats is expected to make a mark both with local corner-store grocers and multinationals anticipated to enter the suburban markets.

Convenience has long been a key focus for consumers, and ready-to-eat, healthier options will eventually be available at on-the-go places, like petrol stations, according to United Fresh.

The rise of the ketogenic diet – a low carbohydrate approach – is expected to bring banana flour into prominence, alongside cauliflower flour and the already established alternatives, almond flour and coconut flour. This is bound to be good news for banana producers in Australia, with the ongoing challenge of repurposing fruit destined for landfill also high on the agenda.

Another key element listed in the food trends is ‘Instagrammable food’ – or produce / meals that can be photographed and shared online. This trend is expected to continue growing, however relatively new social media platform, TikTok, is likely to have a big influence on the market as well, with viral videos for exciting new food products, in place of influencer campaigns on Instagram, highlighted as an important new avenue for advertising.

Finally, a sense of adventure is a theme expected to play a big role this year. Consumers that want to get out of their comfort zone will be looking to try new flavours and textures, often from different cultures.

United Fresh highlighted West Africa as the newest source of exciting flavours, with tomatoes, onions, chilli peppers and ginger all likely winners should this be the case.