Emerging dishes and ingredients to watch out for in 2020

From ajvar from Serbia to khachapuri from Georgia, Food Spark’s resident food development expert, Sparkie, delves into five interesting foods that could appear on UK shelves this year.

18 February 2020
condimentsingredientsNPDrestaurantsstreet foodsupermarkets


One of the most popular of Turkish mezzes in the country itself, often as an accompaniment for dishes, ezme is a spicy tomato-based ‘salad’, with onion, chillies and green herbs.

Why are we interested?

According to August’s Market Growth Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners, the number of Turkish and Middle Eastern restaurants in the UK increased by more than 60% to a combined 668 in 2019, with one of the hottest recent openings in London being a Turkish bakery, Oklava Bakery and Wine.

As Middle Eastern/Mediterranean flavours and concepts continue to increase in popularity, could lesser known dishes such as the ezme side dish represent new opportunities for development teams looking to engage and attract the eternally curious consumer in the new decade?


Sparkie says…

If we were going to put our finger on cuisine that could have growth potential in 2020 then Turkish would definitely be one of them.

Consumers already have a taste for the staples, and they have been around and modified in both retail and restaurants for many years. The cuisine is relatively simple but good food that would be easy for consumers to pick up.

As far as I’m aware, there hasn't ever been much of an effort to expand the selection beyond kebabs and the like, but they do sell well enough to have had this much longevity.

With that and the current trend for authentic cuisines, now might be a good time to introduce the side dishes and condiments that go alongside them to see if consumers might be receptive.



These gnocchi-type dumplings are essentially rolled balls of ricotta cheese in semolina. A popular dish in its native Italy and altogether versatile, gnudis have very little presence in mainstream restaurants and even less in retail.

Why are we interested?

Over the last month, the gnudi has come up more than once as an ingredient worth considering, first by Steve Parle of Pastaio (who said he would like to have them as a dish in his Westfield outpost in the near future) and, most recently, by Ambra Papa of Petersham Nurseries.

She told Food Spark that her gnudi dishes have been incredibly popular and she expects to see them appear on more menus in the UK in 2020. 


Sparkie says…

While Gnudi appears to be one of the ideal foods for expanding a cuisine that consumers are currently familiar with, there has been very little that has crossed our news feed about it. With the growing trend for authentic cuisine, however, I would expect some movement on this soon if there hasn't been already.



A traditional Georgian dish of leavened bread with a dippable cheese and egg centre. Khachapuri came on our radar via Gurdeep Loyal, head of trends at Marks & Spencer.

Why are we interested?

Loyal scours UK markets, restaurants and markets every day, looking for potential trends both present and future. He recently visited London bakery Lily Vanilli and posted a collection of Khachapuri on his Instagram feed.

With flavours from the Caucasus on the rise, could the Georgian street food staple hit the big time in 2020?


Sparkie says…

Khachapuri made a big storm on social media a little while ago but that storm seems to have died down. It prompted grand ideas that Georgian food was going to be a huge trend, but I think it might have been seen as a gamble in uncertain times and as such has faded away where retail is concerned.

In the more metropolitan cities, it still seems to be a fairly popular restaurant dish though so it could make a comeback.



A pepper-based condiment originally from the Balkans in Southeast Europe. Particularly popular in Serbia (it is sometimes known as Serbian vegetable caviar), ajvar is primarily made with roasted bell peppers and aubergine (which are cooked until the skin is black), with sunflower oil, lemon and regional seasoning later blended through.

Why are we interested?

Food Spark has been keeping an eye on condiments and marinades lately due to a number of notable retail releases over the past year. These include the healthy fast-food chain Leon launching their first range of sauces and oils into Sainsbury’s at the tail end of 2019, and Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen unleashing the UK’s first plant-based condiments range for Veganuary.

With consumers clearly warming to new authentic cuisines across retail and restaurants, could be something of a gateway dish to potential interest in flavours from a largely unexplored gastronomic region?


Sparkie says…

Condiments are a good way to get a little taste of an unfamiliar cuisine for those that are curious. Ajvar is one that hasn't shown up to us yet, but it definitely seems to have its merits.

It seemed to have a little social media spurt back in 2013 so maybe it is time for it to have another look but with it being an absolutely new cuisine to people it might need a bit of a hard sell for retail although they might well follow a powerful showing in restaurants.


Shishito peppers

A sweet, East Asian green pepper, popular as snacks in both Japan and Korea.

Why are we interested?

Over the past few years, padrón peppers have become a popular starter/nibble in the restaurant space, with shishito peppers a very similar proposition.

Considering the potential growth of cuisines from the Asia Pacific region, specifically Japanese, this year, could shishito peppers be part of menu development discussions in the near future, and eventually, the wider retail space?


Sparkie says…

Shishito peppers are having some coverage on social media at the moment so there does seem to be some current potential there, but I am not entirely sure what that means just yet.

Effectively branding an ingredient and getting it well known can push it into the premium end of things without much effort so if this little trend on social media continues it might be valuable to start utilising them in both retail and restaurants as the recognition grows.

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