For some, the end of 2020 came as a relief and for others, it signifies that there are still challenges that lay ahead in 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on the ways in which we experience and live out our everyday lives. This is clearly reflected in what we eat and drink.
We look ahead at the expected 2021 food and beverage trends:
Focus on sustainability and transparency
Covid-19 has shone a light on the very critical issues in the food supply chain, in particular the amount of waste produced from farm to table. Producers will have to be more innovative to tackle these concerns as consumers become more mindful about the way we shop, order, and eat. More and more consumers are becoming aware of where their food is coming from. Transparency will be a key trend in 2021. This means food producers will have to focus on issues such as clean labels, ethically and environmentally sourced foods, and supply chain transparency.
Plant-based and nutritional
2021 is set to the Year of the Vegetable. Even though plant-based foods and restaurants have been growing in popularity for the last few years, 2020 saw a massive spike in consumers’ demand for unique plant-based recipes. New vegetable dishes dominated social media in 2020 and it is predicted that this trend will just pick-up steam in 2021.
Health and immunity will continue to be major concerns, and foods and flavours that promote wellness will sell out quickly especially vegetables. Following up on the topic of sustainability, more consumers are drawn to plant-based diets not only for the health benefits but also because of ethical motivations. Plant-based meals are often also much cheaper to produce and therefore much cheaper for the consumer.
Immunity boosting & mood-boosting food trends
As mentioned above health and immunity will be top of mind in 2021. More consumers will be looking out for all-natural and healthy foods, as well as meals that are aesthetically pleasing. The stress and anxiety of 2020 have also driven consumers to search out mood-boosting foods and beverages which promote relaxation. Comfort foods and foods promising to increase happiness will also be highly sought after. Relaxing teas, hot chocolates and warmed/ mulled cocktails are predicted to be very popular, especially considering that many restaurants will be expanding their outdoor seating areas.
Coffee will contain to dominate the local and global beverage markets and we will see the popularity of coffee-based products increase in 2021. With more people working from home, and therefore avoiding the daily commute, they have more time to focus on having proper cups of coffee. In 2020 coffee-lovers invested more time and money in their own brewing equipment and therefore coffee brands started selling more coffee beans, plungers and brewing kits. 2021 will see even more brands getting involved.
Global cuisines, local mentality
It cannot be denied that the hospitality industry was hit particularly hard by the pandemic. Lockdown restrictions, health concerns, and anxious customers resulted in many small businesses having to close their doors permanently. For many small hospitality business owners, their business is proof of years of hard work and involves a lot of personal and financial investment. Many more consumers aimed to support local small businesses rather than large food chains in 2020. The new year will be no different. Local businesses are often more transparent about their supply chain and consumers feel uplifted when they contribute to their community.
Many communities have also started ordering directly from local farmers and food producers rather than getting their groceries from wholesalers or shopping centres. Local food producers who usually supplied larger retail outlets or restaurants have also started selling their goods independently in order to build up revenue.
Contactless and omnichannel eating habits
Traditional food service has been disrupted by the onset of meal-kits, special deliveries, Zoom dinner dates and online live cooking together sessions. Fine dining restaurants have also adapted their business models to offer their high-quality menu as takeaway or delivery options.
While Meal-kits companies like Daily Dish or UCook were already around before the pandemic, in 2020 more consumers were drawn to the easy convenience of pre-packed ingredients and easy recipes. Having meal-kits delivered also meant less time spent at grocery stores and thus less chance of exposure to COVID-19.
Contactless dining and adaptive technology will become the norm in 2021. Due to Covid-19, gone are the days of large buffets, large-shared meals, finger foods, and indoor intimate settings. Contactless takeaway deliveries and pickup with dominate, as well as QR code menus, ghost kitchens, and online ordering.
In Conclusion- 2021 F&B trends
There is no sure-fire way to predict what will happen in 2021 but one thing is clear, the hospitality industry is known for its sense of resilience and hard work. Whatever does happen in 2021, food producers and servers in the industry will be ready to adapt to survive.