GAINESVILLE, Fla. — No one could have predicted the kind of year 2020 has been. But in late 2019, when UF/IFAS experts were asked to predict the top food and garden trends for the coming year, they made some startlingly accurate predictions.
Today, these trends are no longer forecasts but facts of life in a year characterized by a global pandemic and a record number of hurricanes and tropical storms.
Looking back: What our experts got right about 2020
Drive-thru grocery shopping
More than a convenience, grocery delivery and curbside pickup have become a popular choice for minimizing person-to-person contact.
With extra time at home and concerns about the food supply, people everywhere started their own vegetable gardens in 2020.
These were already popular pre-2020, but when restaurants temporarily closed, meal kits were there to help people transition to cooking more meals at home.
Landscaping for natural disasters
With record-high hurricane activity this year, you can bet many people have been factoring these storms into how they design their home landscapes.
Looking forward: What will be hot in 2021
While no one has a crystal ball to tell us what 2021 will bring, our experts have identified some trends to look for in the next twelve months.
Fermented foods with probiotics
Kimchi, kombucha, miso, yogurt and other foods made with the help of bacteria will continue to rise in popularity as interest in gut health grows.
Cooking comfort foods at home
In a world filled with uncertainty, sometimes it’s familiar foods that keep us grounded. Look for a return to classic dishes in home cooking.
According to the Florida Department of Citrus, orange juice consumption spiked in April 2020 and remained well above average for the rest of the year. Several factors, such as people eating more meals at home and purchasing more food from grocery stores, appear to be driving this trend.
Fruit trees in your backyard
In line with 2020’s edible gardens, more homeowners are planting fruit trees in their yards as a way to have more fresh fruit on hand. Consumers are eager for tropical fruit varieties and citrus. UF/IFAS-bred citrus backyard varieties developed to be tolerant to citrus greening disease are anticipated for 2021.
Gardening for stress relief
In 2020, many new gardeners discovered that, in addition to providing fresh produce and curb appeal, gardening is also a great way to get exercise and relieve stress. Expect more to embrace these benefits in the coming year. Learn more about the therapeutic qualities of gardening.
Also called roselle, red sorrel or Jamaica sorrel, this relative of okra is becoming a popular addition to the garden, both for its looks and taste. Its cranberry colored blooms have visual appeal and feature in a variety of recipes for jams, sauces and teas. Learn more about Florida cranberry’s horticultural and culinary characteristics.
–Samantha Murray, UF/IFAS