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Anticipating the way consumers will eat and drink in 2021 isn’t quite the same as before. The global crisis has had a profound impact on trend predictions heading into 2021, as people are preferring to cook and eat at home, turning to daily meals and gourmet treats to brace their psychological and physical well-being.

Taking into consideration that modern-day consumers are prioritising their well-being bakery and gourmet industry has been experimenting with wholesome flavours and ingredients, alongside turning to functional or plant-based foods and twists on classic products to avoid menu fatigue. With consumers keen on replicating restaurant experiences at home, one can expect to witness more wholesome gourmet condiments, cooking sauces and cocktail mixes. For instance, ashwagandha, smoked watermelon and maple sauce, sea salt and frozen yogurts.

When it comes to food, modern-day consumers are more educated, watchful and globally connected than ever. As the focus is gradually shifting towards clean and healthy ingredient labels, restaurants have put their creative hats on while outfitting to consumer’s altering dietary and lifestyle preferences. This is not just limited to hot ingredients but also encompasses desserts. While the year 2020 has been all about elaborate and blended flavours and fusion desserts, the upcoming year is sure to perceive some of these healthy ingredient’s trends being carried forward in a grander way. This will pave the way towards presentable plated food and desserts.

Below mentioned are trends shaping the province of deserts and sweet savouries:
The next big flavours on the dessert platter:  One flavour that is taking the dessert and bakery industry by storm and has gained much popularity is burnt butter. The current trend is more about showcasing originality with well-established flavours and products. Apart from this, the other big flavours include those which syndicate traditional sweets along with savoury in order to play with our tastes. For instance, ashwagandha chocolates, chocolate cupcakes with fresh mint buttercream, lemon and rosemary drizzle cake, ginger and turmeric-infused cookies, cinnamon oatmeal ice cream, green tea frozen yogurt, or scones filled with cardamom-infused cream. Citrus flavours continue to dominate but with a contemporary twist; clementine is evolving rather than simple orange, along with yuzu being a more complex substitute to lemon.

Locally sourced traditional ingredients top the dessert chart: Age-old ingredients like Kuttu, Amaranth, Nachni and Bajra flour, will double up in usage in the upcoming years. Seaweed and ashwagandha are also finding an increased usage in the desert industry alongside probiotics with gut augmenting properties which have created a space for themselves. Gluten-free options in traditional breads, pastas and gluten-free flours like buckwheat, rice flour, tapioca and almond flour are finding their way into the making of bakery products and desserts. Dairy-free cheese will witness an increase in demand and plant-based proteins will continue to advance in the market. Vegetable-infused wholesome desserts are also taking the industry by storm, for instance, delectable desserts like carrot kheer, beetroot pastry’s and green peas kheer are savoury trends worth rooting for.

Asian-inspired desserts are here to stay: Asian flavours particularly Japanese, lend bakers the prospect to try some unusual flavours, for instance, wholesome bakes like Japanese black vinegar cupcakes filled with yuzu curd or apricot and wasabi muffins are trending. Some new additions that will be seen dominating menus are Japanese mochi, Pandan creme Brulee to a matcha Japanese cotton cheesecake. Further dominating the desert spectrum are western desserts with Asian flavours, coupled with south-east Asian origin desserts like Buko pie having its origin from the Philippines, Japanese mochi, Egg Custard Tarts from Hong Kong, Pandan cake and Halo-Halo will all be witnessed entering the market to enthral Indian palates. Blue pea is an ingredient that is being used widely in the preparation of teas and Southeast Asian dishes, and it is expected that this is all set to find its way into desserts as well, treating us with indigo hued desserts in times to come.

Experimenting with Desi-inspired western desserts: The pandemic having made us spend most of the time being confined at home, it is expected that consumers will seek traditional comfort foods that will satisfy their taste buds lending a feeling of home. This trend will peak in subsequent years. Indian sweets inspired desserts like Motichoor Ladoo cake jar, Rasmalai cake, barfi cupcakes, Jalebi creme Brulee, Kala Jamun chocolate truffles, white chocolate parfait, RabdiPanna Cotta, and more will be seen ruling the menu.

Elevating the everyday ingredients: This trend is all about taking classic flavours to a new level by adding small twists to recipes to provide something diverse. For instance, in the case of salted caramel, experimenting with various savoury takes or twists to the ingredients is an exceptional route to take. Getting experimental with salted caramel could be in the form of an added flavour in an indulgent bake with a diversified format like a Salted Caramel Brownie Pie or Salted Caramel Frangipane Pear Tart. This ingredient can also be added to bakes with coffee flavours or can be paired with honeycomb to lend a finishing touch.

Cocktail-infused desserts will become more mainstream: Making use of cocktails in deserts has been finding a lot of acceptance in the modern gastronomy phase. Cocktail-inspired deserts like a Bloody Mary cream pie, gimlet mousse, a bourbon cake, Prosecco-soaked sponges and cakes inspired by cocktails, such as piña colada cake have marked their place in the dessert menus. Alcohol-based ice creams have also become a huge hit and will be a definite and evolved flavour this year.

Savoury desserts are the next flavour sensation: Sesame macarons, black pepper ice cream, chocolate chili pies, salted caramel, tabasco lava cake are a couple of instances of what’s in store this year for dessert lovers. Flavours like guava chilli in ice creams and popsicles have been relished by everybody. Similarly, the combination of spices or savoury ingredients in a characteristically sweet menu, is what will get the creative heads to spin.

Botanical flavours taking patrons down the memory lane: The traditional botanical and floral flavours such as elderflower, violet and lavender, basil, bergamot, clementine, rose, and hibiscus is being seen in a variety of products. In the subsequent years, these will be seen incorporated in cakes and other bakes. Examples include clementine cupcakes with a basil ganache or a pistachio cake with rose and hibiscus syrup.

Global innovation in the desert and savoury demographic will continue to surge in the coming years and looking ahead, the industry aims to seek fusions of diverse cultures adding more innovation in the dessert spectrum.