Last Updated on December 1, 2020 by Novotaste

Food Trends 2021 – Which New Food & Drink Products Will Be Hot In 2021?

In this post, we make some educated predictions based on reliable data sources about what’s in store for the world of food and beverage over the next 12 months and beyond. Food trends are important to watch, as they can help drive your food marketing by showing you what’s hot and what’s not.

While it is fair to say that there are a lot of strange things afoot and gaining popularity in the food and drink industry, we’ll see a lot of past favourites, with olive oil making a comeback and carob among the zanier offerings.

The Middle Ground Between Functional And Decadent Food

Extreme food and beverage trends, even if they are a whole lot of fun to take Instagram-shots of, don’t tend to last very long.

Whether it’s one of those ridiculously huge burgers smothered in enough cheese sauce to fill several bowls of mac and cheese or cookie dough coated in cotton candy, these kinds of decadent foods are on one side of the fence.

On the other, you have more functional options – that is, food made for wellness, rather than efficacy, texture or flavour.

Expect the middle ground to gain more popularity – food and drink that has been crafted thoughtfully but using functional and healthy ingredients moderately so that it looks great, tastes great and is beneficial to your well-being.

A Subtle Transition From Boozy To Lightly Alcoholic Drinks

glasses of various light alcohol

There is something nice about sober living. With more people expected to turn to non-alcoholic cocktails according to KPMG.

For many people though, there is the middle ground which means drinking only in moderation. Alcohol and being social still tends to go hand-in-hand, after all.

In the coming years, you can expect a shift from being one camp or the other – a drinker or tee-total – to a middle ground.

Where “grown-up” beverages are still exciting and refreshing but have much lower ABV.

The rise of the “Seltzer” is a great example of this.

Reduce Rather Than Eliminate

Although many on strictly plant-based diets would prefer to see carnivores giving up their precious meat. It is not likely to happen.

The more hopeful and more likely result of the argument between which is better and the solution to the problem of keeping up with the world’s demands on climate change, cattle and other animal populations will be to move towards a more balanced diet of less meat, more plants.

Balanced And Moderate

Extreme food fads or diets are called extreme for a reason. People in the past have tended to do things 100% one way or another way.

So they are either into things that are 100% plant-based or 100% meat-based, with no deviation (never more evident than the birth of the meat-only carnivore and the vegan diet – as well as the online wars that happen between the two.)

They are either into alcoholic drinks or faux-alcoholic drinks. Following on nicely from the last trend, we are likely to see a shift towards a more balanced and moderate approach across the board.

This will likely be reflected in the food and drink products released in 2021.

Climate Control Will Play A Part

food trends 2021 etched in apple

Although vegans tried to warn and lead by example way ahead of everyone else, it seems as the planet reaches a critical period, a more serious collaborative and complete approach is necessary.

You can expect to see a move to reduce any foods and ingredients with high carbon footprints, like cheese and meat, and the encouragement leading to enforcement that we only eat food that is seasonally available and available locally.

There will also be greater steps taken to eradicate the use of products that exploit any animals who are directly at risk from the effects of climate change.

It’s not all about what’s being removed though, as there will be a greater focus on food like insects, fish, invasive plant species, legumes, grains, pulses, seaweed and algae.

Our food PR can help position your food and drink products as one of the forerunners of responsible food and drink consumption (if it’s true, of course!)

Sweet And Unami – The Next Curious And Exciting Flavour Combination

Food enthusiasts are always on the lookout for “the next big flavour combination”. There are strong indications that the big flavour combination destined to rock the culinary world is umami and sweet.

In small measures, here and there, it may not be new, with the caramel popcorn and cheese mix you get in Chicago or the cheddar cheese and apple pie combo we’ve seen on menus.

However, in the next couple of years, these are going to be making more of an appearance.

Does anyone fancy the oddity that is crisp rice infused with fish sauce caramel, nori and pork floss or the equally marine-inspired palm sugar and fish sauce caramel?

The Return Of Carob

Carob with powder and different food options

Although the benefits to the planet of veganism are spoken of a lot, there is a major health issue in diets solely based around plant life.

Most tend to lack Hydroxyproline or HYP, which is an important amino acid required in the production of collagen.

What is the solution? Remember when carob was all the rage? Well, expect that to be big news again pretty soon. As not only is it high in the aforementioned HYP, but also protein, antioxidants, iron, calcium and fibre.

It’s a veritable smorgasbord of highly beneficial stuff. It is also low-carb, naturally sweet in flavour and both caffeine and gluten-free.

All of this suggests it will be one of the biggest superfoods before too long.

We just need to open our minds and forget its painful history as an awful replacement for chocolate in the 70s and instead look for it being featured in everything from powders, bars, baked goods, RTD beverages, syrups and innovations in the world of coffee.

Olive Oil – The New Coconut Oil

Pouring olive oil in spoon and glass bowl

During 2019 there was a lot of interest and debate about MCT-rich products and flavoured compound butter.

Although there is no clearly defined viewpoint on whether they are good or bad, with some evidence pointing either way – there is one fat that has a lot of evidence to back up claims it is good for your health.

That fat is good old extra-virgin olive oil. Namely, the Tyrosol and Elenolide found in it.

While tyrosol is a compound that helps to protect the body against neurodegenerative conditions and diseases, Elenolide is one that has science-backed evidence of anti-hypertensive attributes.

So watch this space, coconut oil! You might be on your way out and extra-virgin oil is back in with its blood-pressure lowering properties.

Chickpeas Mean More Than Just Hummus

The popularity of chickpea started to soar at some point in the 00s when hummus started appearing here, there and everywhere as a healthy dip replacement.

That has spiralled and chickpea is one of those ingredients that is being experimented a lot with.

Take aquafaba for instance (for those not in the know, that is the water that canned and other packaged chickpeas are stored and soaked in).

What is so special about this ingredient? Well, just Google aquafaba meringue, macarons or even ice-cream and you will see.

Chickpea flour

Prepare to be stunned at the many uses aquafaba has, usually as an egg or milk replacement.

Another way chickpea is being utilized in experimental ways is as flour, which unsurprisingly is being used to make all forms of crusts, flatbreads and other doughy products.

As it’s gluten-free, chickpea flour is ideal for those of us who can’t enjoy a simple bit of bread and butter due to dietary restrictions.

This experimentation will only continue as experts and curious amateurs continue to push what is possible with the humble chickpea.

Allulose – The Future Of Sweet?

Sugar continues to be cast as the villain by health experts and those looking to eat a little healthier and have better diets in general.

There is a continued effort to encourage consumers to choose products with less or no sugar.

As a result, companies responsible for manufacturing consumer packaged goods are looking to find the next new “non-sugar” sweetener.

Thanks to advancements in food technology and new requirements by the FDA and other industry regulatory bodies, two approaches are being taken with regards to all things sweet.

One is the use of the little-known sugar replacement allulose. In America at the very least, the FDA excluded allulose from the added and total sugar declarations on food nutritional labels, which has made it all the more attractive to food manufacturers and recipe devisers.

It is a natural sweetener taken from specific fruits and wheat and contains 1/10th the calories of regular table sugar. Expect to see a lot more of allulose in 2021.

Less Is More?

The second approach some in the industry are taking to tackle the issue of sweetness deserved being highlighted under its own heading.

That is, rather than completely removing and replacing sugar, companies like Doux Matok and Nestle are taking a more food technology-influenced approach.

The ideas these food giants have is to maximize the efficiency of any sugar used in their recipes so that they taste just as sweet but use as much as 40% less of the white stuff.

Although both measures are very much in the beginning stages, you should expect to see foods in general with much less sugar gain traction by 2021 and thereafter.

Copaiba – The Completely Legal Approach To Using CBD Oil?

Hemp oil CBD in food

CBD oil, is it legal or not? It’s such a grey area depending on where you live, what form you take and a whole heap of other issues covered by red tape, that yuou wonder whether it’s worth the aggrevation. There might just be a solution…

One thing we are very sure about is just how popular it has become and it’s not hard to see why.

With the reported benefits in the treatment for anxiety, chronic pain and inflammation being backed by more and more evidence, there are a lot of reasons why people persist in using it.

There may be a completely legal option in the form of Copaiba. This is an essential oil that is taken from the Copaifera tree’s resin and contains potent terpenes that are the same components found in CBD oil that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system and provide similar benefits.

What’s more, it has a nice enough flavour. If you add it to edibles and elixirs, copaiba has a sweet, woody taste and scent that in itself encourages relaxation.

We expect to see this appearing more and more in the organic and natural foods sphere next year and beyond.

Hopefully, some of these insights and predictions help to drive your food and beverage marketing or, at least, provided you with some food for thought. If you need help with your food strategy, marketing or bringing your product to market locally or internationally, book a consultation – contact us now

Source: Food Trends 2021 – The New Food & Drink Products Which Will Be Hot