Trend #1: Ugly Delicious
Perfection fatigue is real. We’re told how to look better, feel better, act better, save better, do better. It’s no wonder we crave authenticity and transparency.
For food, this translates to what top chef David Chang epitomized in his Netflix show: Ugly Delicious. Images of half-eaten dishes, dinner plates stacked up in a sink post-meal, kitchen messes, crumbs and wayward bits of food all illustrate the pleasure, process, and joy of cooking. We have the rise of the home cook, plus media brands like Bon Appetit—who has built a cult-like following in embracing the persona and realness of the kitchen—to thank for this trend. Food is honest, so embrace this trend in all its ugly, delicious glory.
Trend #2: Give Props to Props
Props are a key element in food photography. Increasingly, photographers are experimenting with unusual props that create abstract and high-concept food images, such as an unconventional take on the time-honored still-life which shows decomposing food instead. Like food, this trend sees photographers instilling a sense of play and fun into their images. Food is fun, so have fun creating images with it.
Trend #3: Food is Futuristic
The world is becoming futuristic. The images we take of food in the 2020s may reflect our changing reality.
What will this look like? Perhaps it’s heirloom seeds being preserved in a cryo chamber for future generations. It may be documentary-style images that call attention to wasteful—or alternatively, eco-friendly and sustainable—packaging. Perhaps it’s frozen food: as we look to convenience, reducing waste, and increasing our self-sufficiency in this next decade of uncertainty and turmoil, fresh, flash-frozen foods may replace what we think of the modern pantry.
Trend #4: Cannabis, But Delicious
Think infused olive oils, honey, seltzer water, and salt rather than brownies. As the Cannabiz trend continues to take off in 2020, we’ll see more ways in which we are elevating our food through cannabis. These days anything can be edible (especially if you use CBD-infused butter or olive oil). So, the spotlight on ethical brands and companies who make food-based cannabis products is critical.