The New Year always brings excitement and curiosity about what the coming months will bring. In light of everything that has happened in 2020, the anticipation is even greater. What foods will consumers gravitate toward? What ingredients are they going to demand? What will they avoid?
As in past years, Kalsec has more than a crystal ball to give us insights into the coming year. They have studied trends in the food industry to deliver their Trends Report for 2021. The ingredient giant has identified six top trends that they predict will dominate this year:
- Functional Food and Beverages
According to Kalsec, 1/3 of consumers are using functional food and beverages daily as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Pointing to the fact that consumers had more downtime in 2020 to research and understand the foods they eat, Kalsec predicts that consumers will look for food and beverages that offer mood modifying and mental health benefits. They also believe that foods that aren’t often thought of for health benefits may also be repositioned to support healthier lifestyles, beers for running and fermented foods, and hard seltzers that provide probiotic benefits.
- Celebrating Culture with Cuisine
Each year, demand for regionally inspired flavors top the consumer trend prediction lists. With global travel limited in 2020, many cultures focused on celebrating their own heritage with food. For instance, in the US, there was a surge in African American cuisine, and Kalsec has predicted that many will continue to delve into these tastes and the increase in popularity will continue into 2021. They also predict an increase in Latin American foods, including chimichurri, horchata, and salsa, as the global trend for Mexican Flavors continues to grow.
- A Force for Good
Consumers want more than products from companies. Kalsec indicates that consumers look for companies that align with their core values, including supporting people and our planet. They believe that “sustainable options will go past the premium options to the mainstream aisles, as brands adopt a sustainable mindset.”
A recent Mintel report indicated that global product launches in 2020 with environmental and ethical claims grew by 7.7%.
- Innovations and Prepared and Takeout Meals
2020 was a game-changer for takeout and prepared meal innovation, as businesses and restaurants had to adapt their operations to the Covid-19 pandemic. Because in 2021 many consumers will continue to save the money they would have spent on their work commute, Kalsec predicts that continued innovation in this area will come in the form of premiumization such as specialty to-go cocktails and meal kits from restaurants that consumers can make at home. This will also bring about innovative and better packaging for delivery and outside eating.
- Specific Spices and Ingredients 2.0
Previously, Kalsec identified the trend of consumers requiring more specificity on the spiciness of their foods, going beyond “mild, medium & hot.” This year, Kalsec believes the trend has expanded to the front of the package claims relative to spices, alliums, and fruits and vegetables like “black garlic rather than just garlic.” The ingredient manufacturer points to consumers’ desire for transparency and storytelling as a potential source for this trend.
- Classics With A Modern Twist
According to Kalsec, Classic and comfort foods are on the rise, but with consumers cooking at home for extended periods of time, they are looking for ways to experiment and add a twist. This includes adding non-traditional ingredients to their favorite comfort foods, and specialized culinary techniques like roasting and carmelizing to add complexity to flavors.
In addition to their own predictions, Kalsec included links to many trusted industry sites that made their own predictions. See the full report here.
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