With more pressure on multi-nationals and consumer behaviour affecting climate change we researched the food trends that are shaping the food industry in 2019 and what to expect more of in 2020.

Sustainable and plant based solutions are on the increase, but how quick is Malta in adopting these sustainable food trends in the marketplace and in our kitchens?

1. Mainstreaming Organic Foods:

Organic food sales will continue to rise with the increase of availability in major retailers and the increased consumer support to local organic farmers.

We caught up with Emanuela De Giorgio, founder and farmer at The Veg Box Malta who told us, “The demand for organic food is increasing in Malta from people of all walks of life… but out of this we must remember to source local supply. Without realising, out of selfishness to want organic food, by sourcing It from abroad, we will destroy our local agriculture sector. So we must encourage more organic farmers to continue their work and satisfy the local demand. We must also encourage more young farmers to go back to the land and convert their land into organic farming and pesticide-free farming, otherwise this knowledge will be lost.”

On the international front, the industry has seen multi-nationals buying out sustainable food companies as did Unilever acquiring companies like Mae Terra and The Vegetarian Butcher. The organic sections are going to expand but let’s continue to push for in-season local products.

2. Plant-based foods:

Many foodies and vegans have jumped on the Malta meat-free week earlier this month flooding our social media feeds with delicious and creative vegan dishes tantalising even the meat-eaters taste buds! With Veganuary around the corner expect to see more plant-based foods hitting stores and menus at your favourite restaurants. The trend is growing – whether it be for animal rights or health concerns – we are seeing higher conversions to plant based diets across the globe. Here is some veg-based recipe inspiration from our own foodies.

3. Sustainable Packaging Solutions:

The plastic-free movement is catching on in every corner of the globe. Manufacturers and retailers are being demanded to ditch the plastic and find alternative solutions whilst consumers are being requested to bring their own with a rise in zero-waste and bulk shopping retailers. We have seen the rise of innovative plant-based packaging as adopted by brands like Corona.

4. Faux Meat & Jackfruit:

Whilst the fake meat industry is booming and became a local craze in Malta during the last BBQ summer season, there’s been a lot of backlash on faux meat products due to its nutrient value and the fact that its factory produced still contributes to carbon emissions and energy usage. On the other hand, Jackfruit is the “new kid in town” – this versatile fruit has been used as a meat alternative in Asia for centuries! Its texture, when cooked, resembles pulled pork and that’s why it has gained popularity. The smelly fruit (not to be confused with Durian) contains vitamins and minerals and is also high in protein, calcium and iron, making it a viable meat-alternative to try. Here’s more on jackfruit as a meat alternative.

5. Frozen treats with avocado, hummus and coconut water:

Freezers at major supermarkets are likely to display a new selection of nutritious frozen treats. According to Whole Foods trends report, the new kids on the block will offer alternatives to the classic vanilla ice cream with bases like avocado, hummus and coconut water. Keep an eye out on the speciality frozen section for some interesting treats.

6. Organic Wine:

Maltese leading wine producers Marsovin launched their first organic wine whilst other newbies on the market like Roots Natural Wine are working with independent Italian farmers to spread the natural wine culture on the Maltese Islands.

7. Fat is Phat:

Some credit goes to the gaining popularity of the Keto-diet who are bringing plant-based fats back to the plate where one can eat an abundance of nuts and seeds and avocado. We can’t argue here, for decades we’ve been told that plant-based fats are phat so stock up!

8. Coconut water will have competition:

Coconut water has taken centre stage on supermarket shelves for the best hydration, hangover cure and more. This year we will see the addition and spread of more plant-based drinks like aloe vera, cactus and maple water!

9. The rise of nut and seed butters and milk:

There’s no secret of our love for nuts. The dairy industry has been in the limelight for its ill practices with animals as well as its environmental impact the industry has to offer us consumers hormone filled dairy products that are dangerous for consumption. The classic peanut butter is being replaced with pumpkin seed or cashew seed butters and the classic cow’s milk is being replaced with oats milk, almond milk, hemp milk, cashew milk … you name it!

The industry is led by the growing power of Millenials demanding change for better living and a more sustainable environment, but sustainable choices are now catching on with Gen Zs. A boom of young influencers and activists have launched themselves on social media sharing tips, recipes and more on how to adopt sustainable, plant-based and vegan lifestyles.

5 Maltese Instagram Accounts to follow:

Food and Travel
Vegan and Sustainable Living
Plant based Food

Vegan Lifestyle
Sustainable Lifestyle

Keep an eye out for local pop ups and events like the Eco Market Malta.

More sustainable foods trends in 2020 from Forbes