Move over highly processed foods and empty calorie carbs, and make room for plant-based protein and nutrition-packed grains. These are just some of the food items that registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) predict consumers will be seeking out in the New Year.

Pollock Communications, New York, teamed up with Today’s Dietition magazine, Spring City, Pa., to produce its annual "What's Trending in Nutrition" survey. The study, which surveyed 1,259 RDNs, revealed the hottest food and nutrition trends to look for in 2020, including the keto diet, fermented foods, non-dairy milks and plant proteins, among others. This year, green tea pushes out coconut products from the Top 10 superfoods list, while a "healthy" label holds strong as a leading consumer purchase driver, surpassing cost and taste yet again.

Top 10 superfoods for 2020

Powerhouse foods that provide desirable benefits from boosting gut health to blunting inflammation bookend this year's Top 10 list, with fermented foods – like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi and miso – at the No. 1 spot and flavonoid-rich green tea at No. 10. Non-dairy milks move up on the list to the No. 8 spot, underscoring the growing popularity of plant-based swaps.

Here's the full list of superfood predictions for 2020: 

  1. Fermented foods, like yogurt and kefir
  2. Avocado
  3. Seeds
  4. Exotic fruit, like acai and golden berries
  5. Ancient grains
  6. Blueberries
  7. Nuts
  8. Non-dairy milks
  9. Beets
  10. Green tea

Top 10 consumer purchase drivers

The survey results reveal consistency in the Millennial-driven search for foods that fit their health and wellness lifestyles. When asked what motivates consumer food purchase decision, the findings show what food manufacturers should focus on to win these customers. Convenience, cost and taste have always been key, but for two years in a row now, "healthy" is second only to convenience, and tops cost and taste.

Here's a look at the list of Top 10 purchase drivers for 2020:

  1. Convenience
  2. Healthy
  3. Cost
  4. Taste
  5. Natural
  6. Clean label
  7. Organic
  8. Gluten-free
  9. Non-GMO
  10. Dairy-free

"The 2020 survey results send a clear and consistent message. Consumers want to live healthier lives," says Louise Pollock, president of Pollock Communications. "They have access to an incredible amount of health information, and they view food as a way to meet their health and wellness goals. Consumers are taking control of their health in ways they never did before, forcing the food industry to evolve and food companies to innovate in response to consumer demand." 

Keto is king

With the ketogenic (keto) diet reigning at the No. 1 spot again in 2020, this diet trend looks like it's here to stay, followed by intermittent fasting and clean eating. While these diet trends may not be endorsed by all RDNs, it's clear that consumers have no issue with elimination diets – scrapping foods they believe won't help them meet their health, wellness and weight loss goals. Moderation is making way for deprivation. RDNs agree that consumers will be significantly reducing carbohydrates, grains and sugar in favor of vegetables, fat and meat in the coming year.