2020 has been a heck of a year, and been kind of a weird year for food as well . The rapid spread of COVID-19 and ensuing global lockdowns forced an adjustment in our eating and drinking habits, mostly as a way of coping with the new normal. Baking has made a huge comeback, online shopping has become the norm, and, let’s face it, many of us are getting way more takeout than we were before.
But which food trends are going to be taking off in whatever world we find ourselves in? From novel ways of dining out to fresh ingredients to a whole new slew of healthy-eating initiatives, these are the food trends that are about to take off in 2021.
Alternative cooking oils will be a thing in 2021
Bored with vegetable oil? Over olive oil? Well, you’re in luck. Next year will see a range of new oils rise in popularity among at-home chefs. These include walnut and pumpkin seed oils, which are said to imbue their dishes with an earthy, nutty flavor. walnut seed oil has a number of health benefits: it’s good for your skin, helps lower blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, and may even have anti-cancer effects. Meanwhile, pumpkin seed oil can have a positive effect on your skin, heart, and prostate, is said to ward off depression, and may even relieve some of the symptoms of menopause.
Plant-based meat will remain popular in 2021
In 2019, a report suggested that, by 2040, 60 percent of meat consumed by people will be either “grown in vats” or “replaced by plant-based products that look and taste like meat”. It’s a bold assertion, but holds some credence considering the massive rise in popularity enjoyed by plant-based meats and proteins over the last few years. Thanks to the pandemic, 2020, in particular, saw a whole new level of consumer interest towards meat-free meat, with sales up 264 percent over March and April in U.S. grocery stores. But if you’re still not convinced, then how about the fact that McDonald’s will finally offer their own plant-based burgers in 2021? Talk about going mainstream.
Add plant jerky to the list of 2021 food trends
Consumers increasingly find themselves turning to what, in 2020, Entrepreneur called the “sustainable snack of the future.” Jerky, of course, has always been a hugely popular snack food. It’s tough, it’s hardy, it’s non-perishable, and it’s packed full of protein. It’s also possible — easy, in fact — to make your own plant jerky at home, and you can use pretty much any vegetable you like to do so. Jackfruit, cauliflower, and eggplant, for example, have all been cited as great starting points.
More consumers will reach for gut-friendly food and drinks in 2021
Foods that promote gut health have been in vogue for a few years now. However, customer awareness of gut microbiome, and how to keep it healthy, has increased greatly in the last year, thanks to — you guessed it — the COVID-19 pandemic. The gut microbiome’s role in weight, mental health, and immunity will become a global trend. Consumers are gravitating towards food and beverages with bright and exciting colors that indicate citrus flavors, with their naturally occurring Vitamin C, as well as products with familiar, nostalgic flavors during these stressful times.
Simply put, healthy eating will be a 2021 food trend
So, you’ve probably noticed a trend hidden among these trends: healthy eating. Yes, as a result of that hugely terrible thing that has happened to all of us this year, it appears that people are ready to live healthier lives. To this end, shoppers are now choosing foods more carefully, reading labels, learning about ingredients, and making decisions based on where their foods come from. The International Food Information Council’s 2020 Food & Health Survey found that 54 percent of all customers care more about the “healthfulness” of their food and beverage choices in 2020 than in 2010. Active dieting has increased, 18 percent of people using health monitoring apps and devices, and 28 percent are eating more proteins made from plants. Even when the pandemic ends, it’s not hard to imagine that people will remain wary of how their eating habits affect them. All in all, it’s likely that most of us will be eating healthier throughout 2021 — and beyond.