It’s the year 2020. Wow, let that sink in for a second. Being a kid, we imagined the world today as something we find in a science fiction novel, or at least in an episode of The Jetsons.

And while the portable briefcase turned flying car hasn’t come to fruition just yet, there are many technological advancements we actually got right.

Smartwatches and videophones? Yep.

Drones? Of course.

Treadmills for dogs? Duh!

Robots living among us? Totally a thing.

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When it comes to food, we simply can’t pop a pill in the microwave that’ll miraculously turn into a full course meal (you know it’s a matter of time). Let’s think about the last decade and how much food has changed, how we consume meals and for that matter, how we get our food. Rehydratable food packets aren’t here (it’ll be around soon enough), but in its place, we have on-demand meal kits. Pre-packaged ingredients and recipes perfectly portioned are delivered right to your doorstep in a box. Speaking of delivery, ordering out is no longer reserved for pizza and Chinese food. Craving a delicious dish from your favorite sit-down restaurant? Have it brought to you with the touch of a button thanks to the power of food delivery apps.

On the other hand, if you’re up for grabbing a bite to eat, you may be inclined to order a dish that’s, let say, #instaworthy. Instagram, the popular photo and video-sharing social app that launched in the 2010s and has over a billion monthly users, transformed the food eating experience. In the olden days (2005 was so long ago!), we rummaged through the junk drawer like an obstacle course, searching high and low for any sign of a food menu. If we were fortunate enough to find a menu and something sounded appetizing, we went there.

Today, we scroll and scroll through our newsfeed and if we see something we like, especially food, we get in the car and go. Instagram has resolved the mystery and deciphered from what sounds good and what looks good to eat. Plus, many chefs and food brands in the digital age have built their reputations thanks to the social media giant. Have you explored the Blue Wolf Tavern Instagram feed (another shameless plug)?

Food Predictions for 2020 and Beyond
Most importantly, let’s not forget about the many foods and drinks that have brought us joy and filling stomachs in the decade that was the 2010s: sliders, microbrews, pumpkin spice took over the world, kale, ramen is back, plant-based meat (AKA: impossible burger), street toast, avocado toast (brunch has totally become a FOMO event) and the list goes on and on. Looking back, food really did undergo a major transformation. So as we embark on a new decade, what trends can we expect to satisfy our appetites?

BOO! GHOST KITCHENS ARE HERE
It’s not as scary as they sound, we promise. Ghost kitchens, also known as cloud or virtual kitchens, are a strip-down commercial cooking space with no dine-in option. A clutter-free, open space allows a restaurant to churn out more food at a much lower cost. This concept isn’t limited to just restaurants; caterers and even fast-food chains can rent out space designed to make food specifically for catering or delivery.

WINNER, WINNER, HOT CHICKEN DINNER
Not just any chicken, we’re talking Nashville Hot Chicken. When we think of a fried, crispy bird, the first thing that comes to mind is good ole Kentucky (you know the rest). And Nashville doesn’t strike us as having the hottest climate, despite our lack of weather predicting experience. Regardless of those two factors, Nashville Hot Chicken is catching the food scene on fire (pun definitely intended). This spicy chicken dish is popping up on menus at local eateries and chain restaurants all across the country, meaning you don’t have to hop in the car and make an impromptu trip to Tennessee (beautiful state, definitely worth a visit).

PANCAKES WILL BE STACKING UP (literally)
We’ve come to know and love the flapjack for its consistency and taste, and a food we can enjoy at any time of day (pancakes at 2 am are the best). While the appearance hasn’t changed much (thin and round), it’s about to reach new heights. Thanks to our friends in Japan, we now have soufflé pancakes. Originated in the early 2010s and making its debut in the U.S. in 2018, these behemoth breakfast treats are unlike any pancake you’ve ever encountered. Rising, yes, rising above the plate, soufflé pancakes include your basic ingredients: eggs, flour and milk. The trick here is adding extra egg whites to ensure its distinctive height. 2020 and beyond, soufflé pancakes will be worth the snap and share on the ‘gram.

CHEERS TO MOCKTAILS!
The 2010s gave the craft beer scene life; the 2020s may be the decade that makes a toast to mocktails. Having the look and feel of a cocktail, but with one big exception: no alcohol. These zero-proof concoctions incorporate delicious juice and tea blends making for a tasty drink without the hangover. Mocktails are gaining popularity and are now at the top of the drink menu in some of the world’s most famous restaurants and bars. In fact, Heineken recently released its first alcohol-free beer. We’ll have to see if “dry happy hour” becomes a trend in the 2020s.