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lucy waverman

A cook displays a steamed dumpling with OmniPork plant-based meat at the VeggieWorld fair in Beijing on Nov. 8, 2019.JASON LEE/Reuters

Gold-flaked chicken wings. Rainbow-coloured everything. Ice cream dyed black with activated charcoal.

There have been some crazy food trends in recent years and it seems they have more to do with looking good on Instagram than anything else.

But some trends are more substantial. Here is my highly personal list of what we’ll see in 2020.

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Faux “meats” will be even bigger, with the introduction of plant-based shrimp and chicken. Although this is an obvious trend, it is one with which I have difficulty. While convenient, these are still processed foods and we do not always know what goes into them. Make your own veggie burger instead of eating fake meat.

Keep an eye out for new alternative diets. Trying to distinguish between them is not always easy. There is keto and an even newer keto called “clean keto.” Paleo, gluten free, low carb, no carb and the new favourite intermittent fasting. It gets harder to have a dinner party when you must deal with everyone’s food restrictions.

Sour flavours are the fresh approach to seasoning. Vinegar, rhubarb and tamarind will be featured. Vinegar will be used as a finishing drizzle on both sweet and savoury foods. Savoury oatmeal made with bone broth, a double whammy of healthiness, is the new breakfast food. Savoury ingredients are also featured in desserts, with spices such as black pepper, chilies, star anise and sesame being highlighted.

Ingredients such as makrut lime leaves, black garlic, pandan leaves and shiso will appear in dishes that are not Asian-based. Black garlic adds a funky taste to salad dressings and sauces. New seeds, including lotus, waterlily and basil, raise the bar when tossed over finished dishes.

Ingredients for your health are also in the spotlight: think alternative milks, nutritional yeast, seaweed and collagen peptides, which are supposed to be anti-aging. Try popcorn infused with collagen. Fermented foods (kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut) with gut-healthy side effects are now the norm rather than a trend.

Although there are many alternative flours on the shelves, more keep arriving. Banana flour, made with green bananas, is the latest. The University of Guelph received a large grant from the Walmart Foundation to develop a method for turning food waste into value-added supplements that could be incorporated into foods. The banana flour study is one result.

With the legalization of cannabis, look for CBD-laced drinks and food on menus. The draw is the potential for CBD to calm anxiety and inflammation while enjoying dinner.

The no-alcohol culture is growing, especially with people on special diets. Look for mocktails to get increasingly creative. Seedlip, non alcoholic spirits, for example, is perfect for home use mixed with juices and sodas.

Collaborative cooking will be a big draw. The restaurant, chef, farmer, distiller and even an artist will give dinners together, immersing the diner in all aspects of the meal. Dine and learn.

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