In the past year, a great number of people have turned to food as a means of comfort, consolation, and security. 2021 will be slightly different, with an overall emphasis on health and wellness. We’ll see consumers take a more proactive approach to their health, actively seeking functional ingredients and foods that are customized to their health journey. With this in mind, here are the top 7 trends food entrepreneurs should look out for in food innovation for 2021.
Wellbeing Through Food
Nowadays, people are more attentive to the health benefits of their food. This means that superfoods, probiotics, and broths are going to be on the up and up. Additionally, foods including functional ingredients, such as Vitamin C, mushrooms, and adaptogens, are joining this growing trend that aims to support the immune system, sustain energy, and enhance mood. These go hand-in-hand with products that are organic, non-GMO, high protein, paleo, and keto-friendly that further emphasize the sustainability and the nutritional value of the ingredients.
In addition to healthier and quality ingredients, consumers are seeking portable, on-the-go options of their favorite treats. These expectations of taste, health, and convenience are currently driving the popularity behind bite-sized treats. In 2021, we expect to see fudge bites, nut butter filled protein balls, and fat bombs gain traction in the snack space for a wide range of consumers, from vegans to die-hard keto fans, looking for on-the-go fuel.
Healthy Breakfast Foods
With more people staying at home due to the pandemic, breakfast has been getting the attention it deserves. Think pancakes, cereals, and pastries! These products are being enhanced with a combination of superfoods and tailored to specific dietary specifications (paleo, high-protein, gluten-free, or plant-based) to create a nutrient-rich experience for many. It’s no surprise plenty of people are now being more thoughtful about what they put in their bodies during breakfast considering it is the most important meal of the day.
With breakfast foods on the upward trend, its beverage partner - coffee - is seeing new innovations too. Rich in antioxidants and essential nutrients that improve physical performance, energy levels, and alertness, coffee is the perfect addition to all keto, plant-based, and paleo snack varieties. While keto coffee creamers and keto instant coffees are already a pantry staple, coffee is increasingly being integrated into most of our favorite foods. Aside from our cup of joe, we’ll be able to get our coffee fix in the form of overnight oats, protein bars, smoothies, and nut butters in 2021.
Consumers are demanding a more sustainable route to saving the environment from players within the food industry. As such, we are seeing a huge rise in products that use neglected and overlooked produce to create innovative snacks to reduce food wastes around the world. These upcycled foods, made from pressed vegetables, imperfect fruits, and leftover grains and pulp, are being turned into delectable chips, flours, and energy bars that are high in protein and fiber. One of the most important trends next year, this trend highlights the value and integrity of raw byproducts and ingredients within the food space.
Plant-Based Beyond Burgers
Globally, more and more people - from boomers to millennials, are looking into plant-based products for health and environmental reasons. According to market research, sales of plant-based foods have grown 29% in the past two years, suggesting that this trend won’t be stopping anytime soon. Plant-based proteins are moving beyond burgers and becoming a mainstream sensation across major food categories. It’s fueling the rise of new innovative foods including shelf-stable jerkies, smoothies, ice cream, and ready-to-eat protein snacks. We expect these plant-based products to be combined with supergreens to further enhance nutritional benefits.
One of the main plant-based proteins gaining momentum comes in the form of chickpeas. Extremely rich in fiber, many are referring to it as the “new cauliflower”. Chickpeas are showing up in a diverse range of products, such as desserts, tofu, flour, and even cereal. We foresee chickpeas entering into vegan, keto-friendly, paleo, and organic nut butter and protein powder spaces with main focuses on supporting health and boosting the immune system.
Trends come and go each year, but the one thing that remains constant is the consumer’s overall goal of greater health and well-being. Consumers are prioritizing all-natural and clean ingredients that are rich in functionality and protein. By focusing on these key trends and consumer behavior, agile entrepreneurs will be able to establish market share in the growing CPG space in 2021.