2021 has been a monumental year for the food and beverage industry. The trends and food insights we have witnessed this year have been intriguing and path-breaking. Major supply chain disruptions have ensued in the aftermath of Covid-19 and the resulting lockdowns. Consumers have been rushing to stock their pantries and refrigerators. Food businesses have been scrambling to stay afloat, coping with the enhanced food safety norms. It has certainly been a whirlwind of a journey so far!
Let us analyze the 5 culinary trends that have ruled this year:-
- Food for Healing
The surging demand for immunity-boosting foods is evident, as the Covid-19 fear looms large. But foods with multiple other health benefits are also experiencing high sales volume in 2021. Food insights show that apart from immunity-building, the following wellness requirements trending amongst food shoppers:-
- Heart-healthy foods
- Foods that are beneficial for Diabetics and Hypertension patients
- Calming/sleep-inducing/mood-uplifting foods
- Foods to help counter stress and anxiety
- Thriving Market for Probiotics and Prebiotics
Data analysts have predicted a massive surge in demand for fermented food and drinks. In the US alone, there has been a record sale of fortified yogurts, probiotic vegan coffee creamers, vitamin-enriched cheese sticks, ready-to-drink fermented tea, lactobacillus-infused sodas, and probiotic mixes for home-baking. In Asian countries, the traditional fermented specialties are being repackaged and marketed to suit the tastes of the new generation. Age-old fermented drinks, in particular, are making a comeback. These include Boza, Kombucha, Kefir, Sima, and so on.
- Food products customized as per diet plans or allergens
The vegan revolution is gloriously taking the food industry in its stride. Global sustainability awareness is urging meat-eaters to switch to plant-based diets. But vegan food is not the only fast-selling category. Custom-made food products to exclude certain allergens or stick to specific diets are in high demand, such as:-
- Gluten-free snacks and baking products
- Non-GMO fruits and veggies
- Cage-free Eggs
- Dairy Products from grass-fed, farm cows
- Keto Meal Kits
- Dairy-free Milk, Butter, and Cream
- Sugar-free Beverages
- Organic foods (free of pesticides, fertilizers, preservatives, and flavouring)
- Improved Taste of Mock Meats
When vegetarian sausages and meat chops were first introduced about a decade ago, the inauthentic taste, high pricing, and odd flavour repelled most customers. The scenario has completely changed in 2021. Lab-grown meats taste far more delicious, authentic, flavourful, and have been priced suitably to match customer expectations. Furthermore, they are excellent sources of protein, minus the saturated fats associated with red meat. This has resulted in many avid meat-eaters to successfully switch over to both flexitarian and vegetarian diets. Even leading fast food joints are coming up with plant-based meat options to cater to the sizable vegan market segment.
- Meal Kits to Ease out Cooking
People have been confined to their homes for a large part of 2021. They have had no choice but to rely on home-cooked meals. To ease the burden of cooking on working professionals and parents, various meal kits have come to the forefront. The bestsellers in this category include:-
- Special, nutrients-fortified, and ready-to-cook meals and snacks for children
- Plant-based sauces for homemade meals like Pasta and Veggie Bakes
- Organic, frozen veggies and fruits
- Vegan dinner mixes in a wide range of cuisines
- Healthy Baking Kits for home-baking
Keeping a Close Watch
Keeping a close watch on the latest food service trends is crucial for the success of food and beverage businesses. With increasing competition, choosy customers, and a tough regulatory environment, capitalizing on the right trends at the right time can help scale up your business.