New Covent Garden Market has predicted 2020's top trends will be flavoursome fruits, a focus on British and a new wave of meat alternatives.
The market's annual Fruit and Vegetable Trends Report 2020 is based on qualitative trader insights, with its wholesalers representing some of the foremost experts.
Last year's trend for coloured veg is set to continue, with plates poised to be brightened by a bumper crop of rainbow chard, mixed Chantenay carrots and purple sprouting broccoli.
An increased use of blood orange, tangerine and kumquats will offer a unique flavour experience and add more colour to plates. When it comes to berries, fresh acai, goji and maqui berries are all becoming increasingly popular with diners seeking them out for their health benefits.
According to Stan Gulas at market wholesaler Oui Chef, restaurants are increasingly priding themselves on serving British-grown produce, a trend which is set to peak in 2020.
Martin Dykes (pictured below), at New Covent Garden Market's Nature's Choice, added: "Customers are opting for UK-grown produce, rather than just requesting the price. Along with the likes of British-grown red and white chicory and Westland crisp leaf, I predict that we'll start marketing our own nectarines and peaches in 2020. We now have trees from France planted in the UK, and with the stone fruit season starting earlier by one day each year, the fruit has longer to ripen during the summer."
According to the report, the trend for plant-based and vegan dishes shows no signs of slowing down and many restaurants, cafés, bars and independent eateries are predicted to introduce dedicated vegan menus, leading to increased demand for the market's traders to offer unique alternatives to meat. Banana blossom, the fleshy flower which grows at the end of a banana fruit, is one such alternative, along with newly frozen jackfruit.
Commenting on the rise of vegan menus, Georgia Kington from Fresh Connect at New Covent Garden Market said: "Our customers want to be the first to showcase a new ingredient on their menus. Chefs are serving better quality, but less meat on their plates, so we find they are looking to fill the plate with premium veg instead, which appeals to diners cutting down their meat intake. People are also looking to make more sustainable food choices, which means we're having to think carefully about everything from the fruit and veg we stock, to how we get it from field to fork."