Whole Foods Market global buyers working with other industry experts has unveiled their top 10 anticipated food trends for 2021.
This marks the food retail giant’s sixth annual trend predictions, and for 2021 the list sees the rise of “kombucha, upcycled foods, leveled-up breakfasts and jerky made from produce,” as being among the food influences expected to take off in the next year.
The annual assessment is put together by the Trends Council of more than 50 Whole Foods Market team members, including local foragers, regional and global buyers and culinary experts, who compile trend predictions based on decades of experience and expertise in product sourcing, studying consumer preferences and being on the frontlines with emerging and existing brands.
The 2021 trends report reveals some of the early ways the food industry is already adapting and innovating in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic as they look towards a post-pandemic food world.
“There have been radical shifts in consumer habits in 2020,” said Sonya Gafsi Oblisk, Chief Marketing Officer at Whole Foods Market.
“For example, shoppers have found new passions for cooking, they’ve purchased more items related to health and wellness, and more are eating breakfast at home every day compared to pre-COVID.”
Top 10 Anticipated Food Trends
Well-Being is Served
The lines are blurring between the supplement and grocery aisles, and that trend will accelerate in 2021. That means superfoods, probiotics, broths, and sauerkrauts. Suppliers are incorporating functional ingredients like vitamin C, mushrooms, and adaptogens to foster a calm headspace and support the immune system. For obvious reasons, people want this pronto.
Epic Breakfast Everyday
With more people working from home, the most important meal is getting the attention it deserves, not just on weekends, but every day. There’s a whole new lineup of innovative products tailored to people paying more attention to what they eat in the morning. Think pancakes on weekdays, sous vide egg bites, and even “eggs” made from mung beans.
Basics on Fire
With more time in the kitchen, home chefs are looking for hot, new takes on pantry staples. Pasta, sauces, spices — the basics will never be boring again. Get ready for reimagined classics like hearts of palm pasta, applewood-smoked salt, and “meaty” vegan soup.
Coffee Beyond the Mug
The love affair between humans and coffee burns way beyond a brewed pot of joe. That’s right, 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.
Baby Food, All Grown Up
Thanks to some inspired culinary innovation, 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.
Peels and stems have come a long way from the compost bin. 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. Upcycled foods, made from ingredients that would have otherwise been food waste, help to maximize the energy used to produce, transport, and prepare that ingredient.
Slide over, olive oil. There’s a different crop of oils coming for that place in the skillet or salad dressing. At-home chefs are branching out with oils that each add their own unique flavor and properties. 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.
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. Hard kombucha checks all the boxes: It’s gluten-free, it’s super bubbly, and can be filled with live probiotic cultures.
The Mighty Chickpea
You can chickpea anything. Yep, the time has come to think beyond hummus and falafel, and even chickpea pasta. Rich in fiber and plant-based protein, chickpeas are the new cauliflower — popping up in products like chickpea tofu, chickpea flour, and even chickpea cereal.
Fruit and Veggie Jerky
Jerky isn’t just for meat lovers anymore. 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. The produce is dried at the peak freshness to preserve nutrients and yumminess. If that’s not enough, suppliers are literally spicing things up with finishes of chili, salt, ginger, and cacao drizzle.
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