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Coffee, cakes and gelato, here are some of the hottest trends for 2020

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MILAN, Italy – The end of every year is a time to take stock of the sector and look ahead to the trends for the next twelve months: what will we be consuming in 2020? We looked at three strong sectors at Host: pastry, bread and coffee, examining various pieces of research to try and work out what the most interesting or most current trends are. This is what we discovered.

What do a cake with several tiers constructed like a jewellery item and featuring the most lavish ingredients and textures, and a vegan dessert of flowers and herbs, made with simple ingredients and without refined sugar have in common? Very little on the face of it.

But they are both a pleasure to eat, even though they are made in quite different ways. This is perhaps one way of summing up the trends for 2020: there won’t be any straightforward ones.

Or rather, there will be, but they will be interchangeable, they won’t appeal to a person on ideological grounds, but will appeal to the same person in different ways at different times.

Put another way, the awareness of “ethical” consumption will grow, but indulgence won’t disappear: we all need the occasional special treat in our busy lives.

These are trends that are being seen across various sectors and summed up in various slogans.

“Blissful Indulgence”, for example: the pursuit of moments that reduce stress and anxiety – something we get a lot of in this day and age – through personalised cakes or desserts that are a delight and let us forget about the real world for a moment.

“Enlightened Eating”, meanwhile, will reflect the desire for food that is not just tasty, but also made without artificial ingredients and with plenty of good nutrients that feed our bodies well and support a healthy lifestyle. For ourselves and for our planet.

Then there is the “authentic human connection” that E.M.Forster talked about, which we seek out to combat our sense of alienation from mass production and technology that often seem to be taking over our lives so completely.

We also saw it at HostMilano, with the massive presence of technologies that make the most of raw materials carefully chosen for their genuineness, like flour made from ancient grains, those from the ethnic traditions of far-off lands or a prized single-origin coffee.

In the years to come, more work will be done to create even healthier alternative types of flour, rich in protein or other wholesome nutritional elements. And we will even see bread and cakes made from cauliflower or banana flour, tiger nuts or fibre-rich seeds.

The “Instagrammability” factor will continue, especially for confectionery items. We are now so used to all the exciting colours and different shapes and sizes, we can no longer live without images of them. Moulds and 3D printers will become the pastry chef and the bread bakers’ friends – and those two professions will increasingly overlap as the search goes on for the best looking and best tasting products.

As for coffee, it is clear that ancient product caters perfectly to the demands of modern consumers. Even Italians are now starting to relaise, however slowly, what a complex beverage it is. More and more companies are offering alternative-extraction or slow-brew coffee types alongside the traditional approaches to coffee time.

The popularity of Cold Brew coffee will continue in various kinds of preparation, in mixology and in the culinary creations of the more attentive chefs. And we might also see a growth in the popularity of a range launched by Starbucks: coffee combined with superfoods, for example in the ever-popular smoothies. One example is pumpkin coffee: tasty, healthy and with an exciting new touch of colour.