Top Food Trends For 2021
While we’re almost at the end of 2021, it’s become apparent that a lot of things have changed when it comes to the way we cook and eat.
Over the past year, many people have found that food is more important than ever – whether that means cooking new dishes, talking at home, ordering deliveries to shake up their routines – or whether government rules allow dining in restaurants to enjoy the experience.
In the food industry, where more people than ever have been forced to cook at home and get creative with their meals, a number of new food trends have been seen. As an example, many people know how easy and rewarding it is to bake homemade bread! Not only has that become super popular, we do not see that trend disappearing any time soon! [Sources: 4, 11]
COVID-19 has played an important role in many, if not all, of this years emerging food trends. As the world shifts to a health-oriented approach to food, the global pandemic has increased the desire for healthy, affordable food. Changes in the way people are socialised during the pandemic, global restaurant closures and a revised focus on health and home cooking are the driving forces behind some emerging food trends for 2021. [Sources: 8, 11]
As we enter a new paradigm after the pandemic, we’ve looked at industry reports and talked to some food, beverage and restaurant professionals to see what’s changing and what you can expect from food trends in 2021/2022. [Sources: 0, 8]
More people are cooking. And they’re cooking healthy.
In the face of increasing anxiety and depression worldwide, many people are beginning to seek food, or comfort food as a source of healing. Recipes such as courgette lasagne and ready meals such as cauliflower gnocchi are becoming increasingly common as more people seek to balance their high-carb favourites with low-carb alternatives. [Sources: 11]
We know that this nutritional trend has also lead to a new range of meat alternatives and interest in alternative sources of protein. Herbal products will continue to be in vogue in 2021 / 22: 28 percent of people say they eat more protein from plant sources due to the pandemic, according to IFIC. [Sources: 8, 9]
“We are seeing a huge increase in packaged products using neglected or underused parts or ingredients to reduce food waste. Processed foods are made from ingredients that may otherwise be food waste, helping to maximise the energy used in the production, transport and preparation of these foods. We are seeing a huge increase in packaging products that use neglected or underused parts or ingredients as a way to reduce food waste.” [Sources: 7, 8]
Kombucha is still cool
While the pandemic focuses on health concerns, consumers are looking for functional ingredients that will benefit their food and beverages. As awareness of the benefits of maintaining gut health grows, it is expected that gut-friendly foods such as pickling, fermentation, prebiotics and probiotics will become increasingly popular with customers. Fermented foods such as kombucha, which is rich in probiotics, can boost gut health. [Sources: 2, 6]
Drinking kombucha is still hot right now with more people buying Kombucha kits, and the trend will only intensify as more people become aware of the benefits and restaurants begin offering kombucha. [Sources: 2]
Baby food – the newest trend?
Baby food sometimes gets a bad name, but by the end of 2021/22 it’s likely we’ll see many new, healthy and tasty baby food products. Many companies have been responding to the need for more sustainable and ‘conscious’ products and it appears that new ranges of innovative products, dedicated to people who pay more attention to what they eat in the morning, is emerging, and they want that for their children too. Keep an eye out for that trend. [Sources: 6, 7, 8]
Eating in is the new eating out
In 2021/22, many of the trends we saw at the beginning of the year will continue as the COVID 19 pandemic continues. People have got into the habit of ordering groceries online and cooking at home, and the rise of Uber Eats and other delivery services means people are more likely to dine at home than eat out.
Basically, lockdowns worldwide have changed the way we eat and how we feel and across fast food companies and restaurants, businesses are expected to introduce more innovation to stay competitive, but forecasters also predict that new things like plant-based fish will become the norm. Predicting food trends is always a dubious exercise, but there’s that old adage ‘give the people what they want…’ The market has spoken, so demand has been created…..etc etc…….[Sources: 9, 13]
Food trends according to the officials
Every year, the Whole Foods Trends Council, which comprises more than 50 members of the Whole Foods Market team including local grocers, regional and global buyers and culinary experts, creates trend forecasts based on decades of experience and expertise in product sources, consumer preferences studies, front lines and emerging and existing brands. The Global Food Forum and the related websites Clean Label, Protein Trends, Technologies and Sweetener Systems offer an annual list of top food trends, and additionally a list of the top 2021 food trends worth checking out if you’re ready to head down the rabbit hole. If you’re more just a food participant, eat and enjoy! [Sources: 6, 10]
International food trendologist Liz Moskow has teamed up with innovation and intelligence platform Spoonshot to forecast and interpret how food trends will influence menu and product development and consumer behavior in 2021. Given the huge volume of data to study and the algorithmic connections that must be made, Liza’s predictions and interpretations of food trends are being equipped with a new level of organic intelligence. By capitalising on the hottest holiday trends, you can position your restaurant to be newsworthy and ensure that you stay relevant against growing competition to become more profitable. [Sources: 2, 3]
Let’s make it easy
And if you’re a simple foodologist or foodie like me, here’s my advice: Find food you like. Find food that makes you feel good. Eat food that aligns with your values and share it with people whose company you actually enjoy.
Life is short. Covid’s been tough. Don’t waste your time on people and food you don’t like. Create more joy and eat good food.
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