Global Food Forums and its related websites (Clean Label, Protein Trends & Technologies and Sweetener Systems) again provide an annual list of “top food trends lists” with a 2021 Top Food Trends addition. Here we offer a look at various predictions for 2021 and beyond. Click on each headline below for more detailed information from the list source. MORE TO COME!
See 2021 trend predictions below from: ADM, Big 7 Travel, Food Network, Grubhub, Innova Market Research,Institute of Food Technologists, Kroger, Lux Research, Specialty Food Association, Spoonshot, Whole Foods
Also see other Top Food Trends Lists
- 2020 List of Top Food Trends Lists
- 2019 – Part 1 List of Top Food Trends Lists
- 2019 – Part 2 List of Top Food Trends Lists
- 2018 List of Top Food Trends Lists
- 2017 List of Top Food Trends Lists
- 2016 List of Top Food Trends Lists
- 2015 List of Top Food Trends Lists
1. Futureproof Foods – From immune defense to mood management, consumers are increasingly looking for flavor and functionality in their favorite foods and beverages, especially as the nation continues to navigate a public health crisis.
2. Seeking Comfort – Easy-to-prepare comfort foods are on the rise as consumers look to balance convenience and quick preparation times with flavorful meal options.
3. Ketotarian Foods – High-protein eating styles like keto have skyrocketed in popularity…Enter the “ketotarian” diet: a plant-based spin on traditional keto guidelines.
4. Global Flavors and Restaurant Favorites Hit Home – According to 84.51°, Kroger’s data and analytics subsidiary, more than 60% of Kroger shoppers are spending more time cooking at home. This trend will only accelerate in 2021, as consumers spice up their weekly routines by experimenting with global flavors and recipes…
5. Mushroom Mania – 2021 will be a breakout year for mushrooms. Consumers should expect to see mushrooms play a starring role in a variety of new products in 2021, including blended plant-based proteins, condiments, spices, seasonings and more.
6. For the Planet – According to a recent survey from 84.51°, 35% of Kroger shoppers strongly agree they are more conscious of food waste since the onset of COVID-19 and more than half plan to continue taking steps to limit food waste after the pandemic.
7. Fresh Innovation – Forget Silicon Valley — consumers can find the latest emerging technology in their local produce aisles. From no-cry onions to in-store hydroponic farms to plant-based coatings like Apeel™ that extend the shelf life of produce, shoppers will see more innovative solutions launch in the coming year…
An analysis of orders from over 30 million diners in 2020 may provide clues to 2021 trends. “During a year of change, diners turn to comfort foods, caffeine, and an array of other beverages while staying in.” Click on the link for much more information, including beverages.
Top Orders of 2020
- Spicy chicken sandwich: 318% more popular
- Chicken burrito bowl: 299% more popular
- Chicken wings: 287% more popular
- Waffle fries: 221% more popular
- Cold brew coffee: 206% more popular
- Steak quesadilla: 164% more popular
- Iced latte: 157% more popular
- Fish and chips: 146% more popular
- Strawberry shake: 131% more popular
- Roast beef sandwich: 126% more popular
- Acai bowl: 353% more popular
- Frozen mocha: 336% more popular
- Chorizo burrito: 304% more popular
- Potato pancake: 264% more popular
- Strawberry banana smoothie: 216% more popular
- Jalapeno popper: 277% more popular
- Pizza puff: 232% more popular
- Buffalo chicken pizza: 226% more popular
- Cinnamon rolls: 210% more popular
- French fries: 629% more popular
- Onion rings: 566% more popular
- Gluten-free tater tots: 544% more popular
- Thai chili brussel sprouts: 389% more popular
- Elote: 375% more popular
- Apple pie: 330% more popular
- Hot fudge sundae: 273% more popular
- Caramel creme brulee : 137% more popular
- Italian ice: 129% more popular
- Chocolate chip cannoli: 109% more popular
1. Breadfruit, the New Superfood? – Breadfruit, which can be eaten on its own or dried and ground into a gluten-free flour, has the potential to improve worldwide food security and mitigate diabetes, according to the researchers. As a nutritious staple food, breadfruit could make inroads in food sustainability for many populations
2. Front-of-Package Labels Promote Nutrition – In examining products with “Facts Up Front” (FOP) nutrition labels, the researchers looked specifically at two things. For food categories with at least one product labeled in the FOP style, researchers evaluated differences in the nutritional quality of all products in the category, both before and after adoption of the FOP labels.
3. Climate Change May Help Improve Rice Yields – Climate change has extended the growing season for rice in Japan, resulting in a potential increase in yields when the practice of ratooning is employed. A study investigated rice ratooning, a practice that involves cutting rice above ground and allowing it to regrow.
4. 3D Printing of Milk-Based Products – Researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design have developed a method to perform direct ink writing 3D printing of milk-based products at room temperature while maintaining temperature-sensitive nutrients.
1. Chickpeas – Chickpeas check a lot of 2021’s trend-right boxes: they’re versatile, inexpensive and a great wayadd plant-based protein to all kinds of meals.
2. Plant Jerky – Plant-based jerky will be one of the choice snack foods of 2021. Dried and jerky-style fruits and veggies are more shelf-stable, while still providing lots of nutrients — and flavour.
3. Whole Grains – Less-processed grains like millet, barley and teff, and wheat varieties like spelt and farro offer comforting carbs that are full of fibre and nutrients like iron.
4. Big Breakfasts – Since more people are working from home, plenty of people are trading in their morning commute time for cooking time — which means a serious win for breakfast lovers.
5. Kombucha, With a Twist – Kombucha will take the place of hard seltzer in our adult hearts (and cups). Fermented foods like kombucha are rich in probiotics, which can give your gut health a boost.
6. Savoury Sauerkraut – You can make your own cabbage-based sauerkraut or add store-bought varieties to enhance your recipes with a fermented, probiotic-rich touch of tang.
7. Embracing Other Oils – As oils that were previously harder to find — like walnut oil, pumpkin seed oil and sunflower seed oil — become more common, they’ll offer fresh ways to experiment with different savoury flavours and properties.
8. Cup-Free Caffeine Boosts – Coffee is going beyond the mug with coffee-flavour boosting everything from granola to yogurts to even alcoholic drinks.
9. Upcycling – We’ll start seeing more products that use parts of common ingredients that would otherwise end up as food waste — like chips made from food pulp or baking flour made from upcycled soybean pulp.
10. Snack Time – Good news for snack lovers: spending more time at home may also impact when we eat throughout the day. If you don’t love prepping a full midday meal, embracing epic snack plates could be your 2021 go-to.
1. Vitamins and Supplements – Suppliers are incorporating functional ingredients like vitamin C, mushrooms and adaptogens to foster a calm headspace and support the immune system.
2. Hard ‘Boozy’ Kombucha – Consumers are also expected to be more interested in low/no alcohol drinks and health drinks. Restaurants can take advantage of this by offering beverages such as low-sugar soft drinks, organic kombucha or juices and low-alcohol options.
3. New Meat Alternatives – A recent report claimed that by 2040, 60% of the meat consumed will either be plant-based or lab-grown. This also ties into new consumer behaviour post-Covid-19, which shows a move away from meat towards seemingly ‘healthier’ options.
4. Upcycled Foods – Upcycled foods, made from ingredients that would have otherwise been food waste, help to maximise the energy used to produce, transport and prepare that ingredient.
5. CBD…Everything – From CBD Coffee to bakery products, snacks, soups, and even alcoholic drinks, experts seem to think that CBD-infused everything is going to be hot in 2021. That’s great news for those looking to lower their stress and anxiety levels.
6. Coffee Beyond the Cup – You can now get your coffee fix in the form of coffee-flavored bars and granolas, smoothie boosters and booze, even coffee yogurt. You can get your java fix in so, so many new forms. Exciting!
7. Elevated Baby Food – Baby food gets a bad rep, but 2021 will see lots of new, healthy and delicious baby food products.
8. New Types of Oil – Walnut and pumpkin seed oils give a delicious nutty flavour, while sunflower seed oil is hitting the shelves in a bunch of new products and is versatile enough to use at high temps or in salad dressing.
9. Celebrity Alcohol Brands – Ryan Reynolds has his gin, George Clooney has tequila and Kylie Minogue recently launched her second rosé wine. 2021 will see even more celebs release alcohol brands under their name.
10. Chickpeas, Chickpeas, and More Chickpeas… – Rich in fiber and plant-based protein, chickpeas are the new cauliflower. 2021 will be the year of the chickpea, no doubt.
11. Fruit and Vegetable Jerky – The produce is dried at the peak freshness to preserve nutrients and yumminess. Suppliers are also spicing things up with finishes of chili, salt, ginger and cacao drizzle.
12. Innovative Meal Kits & Food Delivery – Meal kits and food delivery will continue to be popular. Consumers will stick to the trend of eating at home, enjoying a diverse range of take out options and cook-at-home restaurant meal kits.
13. Classic Comfort Foods – When we’re feeling down, comfort food never fails to hit the spot. Home treats like mom used to make will continue to be a key trend. We bet that cosy dishes such as hearty pies, mac and cheese, stews and cobblers will make a huge impact on menus.
14. Spice it Up! – With more than 200 types of spices across the globe, we predict that spicy food and chilli sauces will be a big hit in 2021.
15. Sophisticated, Less Sweet Desserts – One of the key food trends for 2021 will be the rise of the ‘sophisticated’ dessert, with a mix of bitter elements. Think: dark bitter chocolate, salty flavours, subtle milk desserts, green tea ice cream and ginger flavours.
Back to the Top
The Specialty Food Association’s Trendspotter Panel has identified trend predictions for 2021, noting COVID-19’s massive disruption to the food and beverage industry.
1. Eating/Cooking at Home — The reality of at-home meal preparation and consumption will stay with us in 2021 but has also brought about several sub-trends.
> Sub-trend 1. Restaurant Food in the Home Kitchen. With economic concerns not easing and the potential for more lockdowns during the upcoming winter, consumers are looking to replicate restaurant experiences in the home kitchen.
> Sub-trend 2. Twists on Classics. Reimagining traditional recipes and products will keep consumers from becoming bored with their meals and snacks in the coming year.
> Sub-trend 3. Eatertainment. “These are serious times and with some areas still experiencing closures in theaters, stadiums, concert halls, and other entertainment venues, we are looking to have fun at home,” says Trendspotter Jonathan Deutsch of Drexel Food Core Lab at Drexel University.
2. Values-Based Buying. Consumers are becoming more conscious shoppers when choosing which brands to support with their food dollars. They are seeking out companies owned by women,..people of color, B Corps, sustainability-focused brands, and those with ethical labor practices.
3. Global Travels Without countries Leaving Home. With consumers sticking closer to home, global flavors offer culinary adventure in lieu of traveling, especially from less-familiar and regions.
4. Functional Ingredients. The pandemic also has put health concerns front and center and consumers will seek functional ingredients and benefits in their foods and beverages. Products that boost immunity and manage stress will be particularly in demand.
5. Plant-Based Continuing Revolution. More a movement than a trend, plant-based earns a spot on this year’s list for its burgeoning growth during COVID-19 and for new formats that continue to transform the food and beverage market.
6. Less Sugar and Natural Sugar. Tied to attention to health, consumers are counterbalancing their desires to treat themselves with products that offer low sugar or natural sugar. ”
7. Halva ‘Bout It. Following consumers’ growing interest over the past few years in tahini sauce, then black sesame flavoring ice creams and lattes, halva is re-emerging in the spotlight…a 3000-year-old, sesame seed-based Middle Eastern confection.
1. A More Proactive Approach to Nourishing the Body and Mind – ADM research found that 31% of consumers are purchasing more items tailored for their health, and 50% reported a preference for foods and beverages that naturally contain beneficial ingredients.
2. Sustainability Takes Center Stage – More than two-thirds (65%) of consumers said they want to have a positive impact on the environment through their everyday actions…a key reason why 32% of consumers buy sustainably produced items.
3. The Gut Microbiome Emerges as the Gateway to Wellness – Approximately 25% of global consumers suffer from digestive health issues. The pandemic has accelerated consumer interest in a more holistic approach to health, which includes a greater understanding of the foundational role the gut microbiome plays in an individual’s health.
4. Plant-Based Food Boom Expands Beyond the Bun – Globally, 56% of consumers are trying to eat more plant-based foods and beverages, pushing alternative proteins into an increasingly mainstream phenomenon.
5. Transparency Builds Consumer Trust – Consumers now expect food labels to provide greater transparency around the entire product life cycle. In fact, 26% of global consumers look for the country of origin on food and drink labels.
Innova Market Insights anticipates leading trends and provides rich data to support brands with prompting revival or acceleration post-COVID-19.
1. Transparency Triumphs – The Innova Consumer Survey 2020 reveals that six in ten global consumers are interested in learning more about where foods come from. Increasing transparency to meet evolving ethical, environmental and clean label consumer demands is key.
2. Plant-Forward – The Innova Consumer Survey 2020 indicated that the top four reasons for considering plant-based alternatives were health, diet variety, sustainability and taste.
3. Tailored to Fit – The Innova Consumer Survey 2020 showed that 64% of global consumers have found more ways to tailor their life and products to their individual style, beliefs and needs.
4. New Omnichannel Eating – As foodservice and retail domains increasingly overlap, consumers can eat what they want, when and where they want it. Traditional hospitality is getting edged out, particularly with COVID-19 giving consumers more time to stay at home and sharpen their own culinary prowess.
5. In Tune with Immune – Ongoing anxiety stemming from COVID-19 will encourage consumers to prioritize their immune health into 2021. According to the Innova Consumer Survey 2020, six out of ten global consumers are increasingly looking for food and beverage products that support their immune health…
6. Nutrition Hacking – Technology is addressing demands for food & beverage with enhanced nutritional value, sustainability or ethical impact. Also products striving to find out how to leverage best of both worlds (natural AND tech-driven).
7. Mood: The Next Occasion – NPD is seeing staggering grown and claims on pack that relate to specific mood platforms. There is the potential to capture consumers with emerging mood platforms (e.g., sleep is a new one).
8. Product Mashups: When Trends Collide – There is sustained popularity for hybrid innovation and F&B broadening dimensions of indulgent. Food service is a channel for hybrid innovation.
9. Modern Nostalgia – While global trends get a local makeover, regional stalwarts are brought into modern relevance. One example, global trends get a local makeover.
10. Age of the Influencer – In times when influencer endorsements are giving products a push, a slow shift to more reliable influencers is occurring. Expanding the diversity of influencers will drive trust and credibility. E.g. there now is a Food Science Babe.
In 2021, your fridge, pantry and fanny pack will be full of delicious, cutting-edge new snacks and staples. From mushroom broth to pancake bites, here’s a sneak peek at the latest in food innovation.
1. Well-Being Is Served – The lines are blurring between the supplement and grocery aisles… That means superfoods, probiotics, broths and sauerkrauts.
2. Epic Breakfast Every Day – With more people working from home, the most important meal is getting the attention it deserves… Think pancakes on weekdays, sous vide egg bites and even “eggs” made from mung beans.
3. Basics on Fire – With more time in the kitchen, home chefs are looking for hot, new takes on pantry staples.
4. Coffee Beyond the Mug – …java is giving a jolt to all kinds of food. You can now get your coffee fix in the form of coffee-flavored bars and granolas, smoothie boosters and booze, even coffee yogurt for those looking to crank up that breakfast parfait.
5. Baby Food, All Grown Up – …parents have never had a wider or richer range of ingredients to choose from. We’re talking portable, on-the-go squeeze pouches full of rhubarb, rosemary, purple carrots and omega-3-rich flaxseeds. Little eaters, big flavors.
6. Upcycled Foods – We’re seeing a huge rise in packaged products that use neglected and underused parts of an ingredient as a path to reducing food waste.
7. Oil Change – Walnut and pumpkin seed oils lend a delicious nutty flavor, while sunflower seed oil is hitting the shelves in a bunch of new products and is versatile enough to use at high temps or in salad dressing.
8. Boozed-Up Booch – We tipped you off about hard seltzer bursting on the scene in 2018, and now alcoholic kombucha is making a strong flex on the beverage aisle.
9. The Mighty Chickpea – …chickpeas are the new cauliflower — popping up in products like chickpea tofu, chickpea flour and even chickpea cereal.
10. Fruit and Veggie Jerky – Now all kinds of produce from mushrooms to jackfruit are being served jerky-style, providing a new, shelf-stable way to enjoy fruits and veggies.
Food companies must focus on these six areas of innovation if they are to survive and thrive to 2050 and beyond’
1. Developing Food for Health – Beyond satiety and nutrition, foods need to satisfy an expanding list of expectations.
2. Mastering the Role of the Microbiome – From production methods to diagnostics, mastering this realm will be make-or-break for food companies.
3. Incorporating Ubiquitous Sensing – As sensors get smaller, cheaper, and more powerful, their inclusion in all processes becomes imperative.
4. Increasing Sustainability – Corporate statements will not suffice; truly doing more with less must be the aim from packaging to production and distribution.
5. Adapting to New Industry Structures – Growth will come from uncomfortable places like new channels and markets; meanwhile, competitive landscapes get more complex.
Eight leading-edge food trend predictions for 2021-2022. Originally published in Oct 2019 and updated to account for Covid-19.
1. Sugar Rush – The vilification of sugar is real! With continued mounting pressure from consumers to reduce product sugar content, CPG companies are rushing to find a new gold standard of sweetness.
2. Garbanzo: Good To Great – Americans have continued to adopt chickpea-based products in many forms since and it’s still featuring among our top food trend predictions for 2021.
3. CBD Adjacent – There’s still a bit of confusion surrounding the legality of CBD, it hasn’t stopped the plant medicine from becoming a worldwide phenomenon. For those still leery of crossing the legal line…Copaiba may be the answer.
4. Climatarians are Coming! – Climate change is top- of- mind for food predictions for 2021. Vegans have been doing their part to combat climate change by avoiding meat for years, but a more comprehensive approach is coming.
5. “No Bones” About It, Carob Will Make A Comeback – HYP, (Hydroxyproline), an amino acid crucial to collagen production in the human body, is often deficient in people who avoid animal products. Carob is high in HYP.
6. Fats Forward – Among other big food trend predictions for 2021, fats are coming back! Last year, flavored compound butters and MCT- laden products were popular targets for product development consideration and food philosophy adoption.
7. Everything in Moderation – Recent food trends seem to exist at opposite ends of the healthy eating spectrum. Animal vs Plant– Reductitarian will win the day. We’ll see a surge in products using the 50/50 method; substituting half the amount of meat for the plant, or half the dairy for nut milk.
8. New Trend: Ghosting Restaurants to Ghost Kitchens – Dining out and ordering in have taken a hit over consumer concerns about potential contact. …restaurants have not been taking the situation lying down and are coming up with innovative and alternative revenue streams.
More 2021 Top Food Trends lists to come!