While we all hope that the worst of the pandemic is behind us, COVID-19 has forced consumers to think more about their lifestyle, and foodservice outlets and manufacturers to rethink their offerings. With health being a big focus during 2020, our prediction for 2021 food trends is the continual demand for products that promote good health and clean living.
2020 saw a continual growth in popularity and sales for plant-based products which promoted animal welfare and a vegan lifestyle. This trend is expected to continue growing in 2021 as manufacturers continue R&D and introduce new alternatives to meat products. Plant-based products as an animal alternative will go beyond the burger in 2021 with rising popularity of plant-based dairy products including cheeses, butter and ice cream.
The dairy category will see a big shake up with consumers more aware of alternatives hitting the market. To stay current, foodservice outlets and manufacturers must be willing to adapt and provide these alternatives as the consumer’s eating behaviour changes. Plant-based milk alternatives have been around for decades. Once the most consumed non-dairy milk products, soy milk, has taken a back seat to almond milk which continues to dominate the market. The recent emergence of oat milk and current buying behaviour suggests 2021 will see oat milk drastically increase in popularity in the foodservice industry. Oat milk has less impact on the environment compared to cow’s milk and interacts with coffee much in the way cow’s milk does. Its similarity with dairy milk makes oat milk an ideal alternative used in not only beverages but in food preparation.
Alternative cooking oils will be a thing in 2021. Move over vegetable oil and olive oil. A range of new oils have steadily risen in popularity over recent years including walnut and pumpkin seed oils which infuse an earthy, nutty flavour to dishes. Not only do these oils add flavour, but many of these oils are also said to have health benefits by having a positive effect on the skin and heart, lowering blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels.
Plant jerky is bringing vegan snacking to a whole new level by catering to the health-conscious consumer and offering an option to consume meat-like products without harming animals, minimising the impact on the environment and providing a greater nutritional punch. Plant-based jerky is the sustainable snack of the future and is helping to improve the way consumers eat.
The pandemic saw the hospitality industry adjust rapidly to restrictions in order to keep their businesses afloat during a turbulent time. Bringing food to consumers needed to become innovative and the answer to this was delivery-only cooking establishments known as ghost kitchens. A ghost kitchen is where consumers are unable to dine in and instead order through delivery apps including UberEats and Menulog. This new way of serving consumers is lower risk and cheaper than having a dine-in option.
Gut-friendly foods will continue to trend in 2021 as consumers become more educated on good digestive health and demand foods that provide some functional benefit. Gut-healthy options have extended well beyond yoghurt over the past few years. Kombucha, kefir, kimchi and miso are just a few foods packed with good bacteria, are versatile in food preparation, and has consumers lining up at food service outlets to get their fix.
Talk to your Distributor today to find out what selection of trending food and beverage items they have available.