10 food trends that are set to take off in Singapore in 2020

From hybrid spirits to heritage dishes, here are the food and drink trends taking over next year.

Illustration of upcoming food trends.
  • Alison Goh
  • November 2019

2019 was the year of plant-based meat and boba everything. What will the F&B scene look like in 2020? These industry insiders weigh in on the trends you might be seeing everywhere next year.

1. Cold brew coffee collabs

Illustration of iced coffee.
“In the US, Alfred Coffee collaborated with candy brand Sugarfina to produce cold brew bourbon-flavoured gummy bears.”

Jasper Jek, Co-founder of Super Simple opens in new window

“We’ve noticed a growing number of cold brew coffee brands collaborating with others to come up with new products, and I believe 2020 will be a huge year for this trend. For instance, Bootstrap Coffee opens in new window from Bali worked with [local craft beer company] The 1925 Brewing Co. opens in new window to develop a cold brew coffee beer.”

2. Plant-based food and drinks

Illustration of vegan burger.
“There’s been a rise of plant-based foods available to consumers, like Impossible Foods.”

Noelle Tan, Director of Sixth Sense PR opens in new window

“I think we’ll see more experimentation with plant-based foods and even plant-based drinks in 2020. I once had crackers at a restaurant that tasted just like prawn crackers, even though they were made of nutritional yeast. I can’t forget the taste even till this day!”

3. Black sugar

Illustration of brown sugar bubble tea.
“I think black sugar is going to break out from bubble tea and Asian desserts.”

Howard Lo, Founder of Empire Eats opens in new window

“We’ve been exploring black sugar at our restaurants because it’s healthier and tastier than white sugar and contains molasses, calcium, iron and other minerals. You’ll be seeing this ingredient a lot more on the menus of modern restaurants.”

4. Home-dining concepts

Illustration of a dining table with food.
“Food businesses used to sell mass-produced items. Today, patrons demand artisanal products at reasonable prices.”

Ming Tan, Executive Chef of JAM at Siri House opens in new window

“In Singapore, there’s been an explosion of home-dining concepts where restaurant-quality meals are provided in the comfort of a small, private setting. For example, you have a home chef like Yum Hwa of Ben Fatto 95 opens in new window who makes complex pasta dishes by hand. This is hard work for businesses, but great for consumers!”

READ MORE: The best private dining restaurants in Singapore opens in new window

5. Chef collabs

Illustration of collaborating chefs.
“Chef collaborations [give chefs more exposure], so they have a better chance of being voted into guides like Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants

Lennard Yeong, In-House Chef for Miele Singapore opens in new window

“Chef collaborations will continue to be a strong trend next year. They give regular diners the chance to taste food from an overseas guest chef they would not normally be able to try. I was very excited about the Odette opens in new window x Singlethread opens in new window farm meal held in September, because I’d never gotten the chance to visit Singlethread in California, and the collaboration was a chance for me to experience the chef’s food and philosophy.”

6. More diverse local produce

Illustration of strawberries.
“Even strawberries are being grown in Singapore now!”

Eric Neo, Chef at InterContinental Singapore opens in new window and President of the Singapore Chefs’ Association opens in new window

“As sustainability and farm-to-table concepts continue to gain popularity in Singapore’s food scene, we’ll be seeing a more diverse selection of local produce. I attended an event by Enterprise Singapore and was pleased to find out that more local farmers are growing fruits and vegetables to meet demand.”

7. Hybrid spirits

Illustration of cocktail.
“These are truly exciting times in the spirits industry.”

Michel Lu, Executive Chairman of Revolver Asia opens in new window, Global Kitchens opens in new window and The Orientalist Spirits opens in new window

“We’ll be seeing new hybrid spirits that don’t fit within the traditional formats. Ketel One, for instance, has launched a new range of products called Ketel One Botanical opens in new window that sits between vodka and gin but cannot technically be called either.”

8. Natural ingredients in desserts

Illustration of various desserts.
“We’ve noticed that our customers are increasingly health-conscious and willing to pay more for options that are better for their bodies.”

Janice Wong, Chef-Artist and Founder of Janice Wong Singapore opens in new window

“In the making of desserts, there will be a rising use of natural ingredients like spirulina, stevia and acai, and fresh ingredients that have gone through minimal food processing.”

9. Homegrown whiskies

Illustration of whisky bottle.
"'The first whisky in Singapore’ is a great accolade for any brand to be associated with.”

Kevin Ngan, Founder of The General Brewing Co. opens in new window

“I’m expecting a substantial growth in locally distilled spirits. Gin was the first salvo from Singaporean distilleries but once this segment gains a good foothold, they will start to expand their portfolio. A good number of gin makers are just holding out while their whisky matures.”

10. Traditional and heritage foods

Illustration of local desserts.
“Many Singaporeans now travel extensively; while discovering other cultures, they may have realised that we have a treasure trove in our own backyard.”

Jeremy Nguee, Culinary Consultant and Chef-Owner of Preparazzi opens in new window

“I’m predicting more interest in traditional and heritage foods. This year, events such as the Kueh Kueh Symposium and Kueh Appreciation Day saw huge turnouts, and new brands selling traditional cakes like Mrs Kueh opens in new window have also been attracting lots of customers.”

READ MORE: A chef shares her fave restaurants in Singapore opens in new window