Over the past several years, culinary trends have continued to lean toward better for you (BFY) foods that promote healthier lifestyles without sacrificing flavor. 2019 saw ingredients like plant-based dairy, CBD, and alternative sweeteners grab the attention of consumers across the country, as restaurants, bars, and brands looked toward natural, clean ingredients that appealed to consumers’ desire for overall well-being. With health awareness at an all-time high, many of 2019 trends will further expand in the New Year, becoming even more mainstream.

PART 1: What Food and Beverage Brands Can Expect in Healthy January

Healthy January is currently in full swing, and the perception of the “health halo” – a term used to describe clever marketing and buzzwords’ effect on viewing a food or beverage as healthy – is an overarching theme across branding today. In 2020, expect this health halo to further impact consumers’ decisions, specifically within Confectionery, Dairy, and Sweet categories. As Healthy January grows in popularity, chefs, mixologists, and packaged brands should take note of the flavor trends affecting these categories and the roles they will play this month and beyond.


Fruity, herbal and floral flavors are making even more of an impact in 2020. People are looking for high quality BFY foods utilizing natural ingredients and natural flavors which make them feel good. This year cannabis will continue to play a role within the confectionery industry with CBD edibles like gummies, candies, and chocolate. While more herbal remedies and floral notes will find their way into snacks, desserts, and candy.

Additionally, keep an eye out for florals like hibiscus, lavender, and elderflower stealing the spotlight. We’ll also see an increase in alternative flours such as apple, green banana, cauliflower, and tigernut. With the gluten-free product market expecting major growth through 2026 according to a Cision Report, gluten-free products are becoming incredibly innovative. These fruit and vegetable “super flours” are taking over the baking aisles of supermarkets as well as finding their way into snack foods such as chips and crackers. The wheat alternatives are rich in nutrients like protein, fiber, and antioxidants, and are naturally gluten free.

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The growth in vegan and plant-based diets had a mighty impact on food and beverage in 2019, but the industry will feel its effects more than ever in 2020. Dairy alternatives will hold a place of prominence, as brands’ plant-based options move past milk and deeper into other areas such as yogurt, ice cream, butter, and creamer. For example Chobani, the brand most known for their Greek yogurt, recently launched a line of batch-made oat products including milks and yogurt blends. Furthermore, brands are taking non-traditional milks even further, with cashew milk growing in popularity, as well as options like pecan milk. Vegan brand Malk makes a cold-pressed Maple Pecan Malk, boasting the use of simple and organic ingredients for a refreshing taste and healthier indulgence.


The “fight on sugar” rages on in 2020, as reducing sugar intake remains a major priority for consumers. Artificial sweeteners and low-calorie sugars like Splenda, Stevia, and Allulose have surged in popularity as people desire healthier ways to combat sugar cravings. To further meet this need, brands are utilizing a greater assortment of innovative sugar alternatives and syrups to sweeten their products. Fruits and vegetables are gaining traction as sweet sources, like monk fruit, beets, pomegranate, and sweet potato. Natural, whole foods such as these are not only naturally sweet, they’re considered more nutritious options. Additionally, alternative waters like cactus and maple have proven popular as non-traditional sugar replacements, as noted in our 2019 Sprouting Sweet trend forecast. These low-sugar options taste great and also avoid giving food and beverage products that fake taste common with some artificial sweeteners.

When it comes to healthy foods, knowledge is power. More than ever, consumers believe in the connection between food and overall well-being. It is imperative for brands to keep watch on health trends and factor them into their offerings for 2020 and beyond. The Health January occasion offers a prime opportunity to capitalize on health and wellness trends with limited time offer (LTO) confectionery, dairy or sweet products that consumers can build into their resolutions.

This series is backed by our Seasonality Initiative where we help our customers develop pipelines of new concepts and flavor ideas for the seasons and major occasions like the Healthy January.

When most folks think of seasonality it’s normally in preparation of Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall; but when consumers, more specifically foodies, think of seasonality it is usually in anticipation of pumpkin spice lattes or breast cancer pink cookies. At Symrise we are constantly looking for ways to innovate and that means going beyond the scope of normal. It also means not only looking for inspiration within, but outside of the box — our box being the food and beverage space.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about our initiative please contact us.

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