With the 2010s behind us, we’ve made our 2020 predictions and we’re looking forward to the coming of a new decade. While we always try our best to protect ourselves against micro-trends that pull designers one way then the other, we anticipate that the industry will keep moving in bold, innovative directions. We put some of our team to the task of predicting what comes next in the world of food, drink, retail and experience design.   

Polly Methley, Senior Interior Designer

Food traceability

With a growing obsession with the ‘farm-to-plate’ concept, 2020 will see this go further by being able to trace and track our food’s entire journey through the entire supply chain.

Consumers demand more transparency in every food category, so the time come for us not only to be provided with the dietary information of produce/consumables as well as transparency on how the perfectly ripe blueberries have made their way into our shopping basket.

Not only will we watch our Amazon deliveries make their way to us from the Amazon warehouse via an app, we might also be able to trace the semi-skimmed organic milk enjoyed on our cereal. As well as in grocery stores, food hall/ food market retail concepts could make explicit the supply chains used by their vendors. 

Dan Higgott, Associate Director, Client Services and New Business

Vegan and plant-based

Is there a long-term shift in consumption habits?  Or a bubble, similar to early 2000s organic produce growth, which stalled and then slipped back to a lower percentage of consumer market share after the 2008/9 financial crisis.  To put this into perspective, 24% of all new products launched in 2019 were plant-based.  Is there really that much demand, or will there be a correction in 2020?

Unpackaged and packaging-free

While Waitrose trumpeted their successful trial in Oxford with a commitment to expand and roll-out this range to more stores, Iceland’s trial in Liverpool ended after three months due to a reduction in sales of fresh produce by 30% and increased food wastage.  An indication of the complexity and challenges retailers have to win over consumers in the UK and change long-term purchasing habits.  I anticipate a five year shift.

Ollie Corrin, Head of CADA Asia


With the majority of millennials valuing experiences over material goods, it’s clear why eatertainment concepts are on the rise. Instead of companies selling a physical commodity, experience providers sell the personal, intangible, and memorable, and in a world orientated around Instagram and Facebook, it’s easy to see why these concepts are successful.

The restaurant industry, in particular, has had a head start in the “experience economy”, as diners have always expected restaurants to provide a personalized, oftentimes theatrical experience compared with tangible goods, and with the experience concepts we are seeing being the launched on a global scale, the expectations of customers are being raised even further.

Lynn Harris, Associate Director, 2D


Shoppers are becoming more aware of how their consumption patterns effect the planet. So thanks to government-backed targets on plastic reduction, and shopper morals kicking in, retailers will continue to trial and implement new forms of sustainability in their offers.

We’re starting to see the emergence of circular approaches, meaning that the entire life cycle of a product is better accounted for, and communicated directly to consumers – from manufacture to distribution to sitting on shelf to shipping to being disposed of properly.

Retailers will also experiment with new product and interior materials that are better for the planet. For example, we’ll start to see different forms of convenience packaging that are more guilt-free and more self-serve. Consumers will learn more about retailers’ operations so they can make more informed decisions about which brands to trust and products to buy. Social media will play a huge part in all of this.

Tom Rhodes, Marketing and Communications Manager

Analogue to digital retail

Once upon a time, retail was about going to a shop to buy something you need. Now, you can do that online. So why go to the shops? Retailers make all sorts of excuses about why their concepts are no longer fit for purpose, but ultimately, it’s because they’re not offering an experience that adds some sort of additional value for the customer.

To resolve this, stores have gone from analogue, single-purpose spaces in which to purchase things, to digital environments with multiple purposes. From eating and drinking to socialising to education to entertainment – stores are finding new ways to capture customer loyalty.

We’ve got meetings in the coming weeks with commercial property developers who are trying to understand how to get ahead of customer expectations. If you’d like to speak with us about our 2020 predictions and the trends that are likely to stick around for this year and continue into the future, get in touch.

Let's work together

Get in touch

Latest Insights