The annual trends survey conducted among New Covent Garden Market’s traders has predicted that 2020 will see flavoursome fruits, a focus on British and a new wave of meat alternatives become diners most sought after requests on menus across the country.
According to Stan Gulas at market wholesaler Oui Chef, serving British grown produce is a trend which is set to peak in 2020 and by avoiding produce transported by air, he is able to provide chefs with a unique proposition. Stan reported that “spring greens, curly kale and variegated kale are all among his top sellers, as chefs can cook them in a number of different ways such as steamed, fried, baked, in stews or as a wrap.”
Martin Dykes of Nature’s Choice is another trader who is putting the emphasis on sustainably grown produce. “Opting for UK-grown produce is increasingly common among our customers, rather than just requesting the price and going for the cheaper, foreign option!
“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.”
When it comes to the fruits rising in popularity, vibrant colours are continuing to excite diners. Using blood orange, tangerine and kumquats offer a unique flavour experience and add colour to the plate. Looking at berries, more exotic varieties are in demand. Acai, goji and maqui berries are all becoming increasingly popular and caterers should consider tapping into the well-known health benefits, which diners are increasingly aware of.
The trend for plant-based and vegan dishes also shows no signs of slowing down and as Veganuary approaches, caterers should consider introducing dedicated vegan menus, if they have not already.
The traders on the market revealed how they are under increased demand for unique alternatives to meat, with the likes of banana blossom, the fleshy flower which grows at the end of a banana fruit, and frozen jackfruit being popular since they can be eaten raw or cooked.
Georgia Kington from Fresh Connect at New Covent Garden Market explained: “The focus is on serving better quality, but less meat on the plate and so we’re finding that premium veg is taking centre stage, 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.”