Food Trends That Will Define 2021
The pandemic has caused restaurant customers to change their behavior. Between social distance regulations, masks, fear, and the usual way that time changes what’s in vogue, diners have had to adapt. New food trends now dominate the industry.
What are they, and how will they change as we start to move beyond the pandemic?
Drink and Food Trends
People have had a lot of time to take their health and lifestyle into account this year. As a result, plenty have discovered the value of food that’s good for mind and body. Ingredients with specific effects are more popular, like boosting your mood and immune system or alleviating mental health stressors. Meanwhile, people also take better care of their physical health by buying organically and locally.
A lot of new food and drink trends have taken over the industry this past year. In 2021, people have started to favor:
plant-based ingredients for dishes, like burger alternatives.
low-carb, keto, vegetarian, and vegan diets, as well as other food restrictions whether by allergy or choice.
nondairy milk including rice, oat, and nut alternatives.
different oils such as avocado, sunflower, coconut, and flaxseed.
expanding their palates by trying cuisines from all over the world.
butters and spreads, which makes sense given that more people are baking bread at home these days.
It’s not just food, either. Alcohol sales briefly dipped when quarantine started, but are now back to booming since states legalized delivery. Cocktail kits, hard seltzers, and spiked kombucha are all gaining traction.
Experimental Sales Ideas
Since dine-in services closed, restaurants had to find new avenues to make a profit. Although many still look forward to getting back to business, they’ve also spent the past year strengthening and streamlining creative alternatives to their traditional sales channels to reduce food waste and go green.
A lot of restaurants strengthened off-premise ordering this year, including delivery, takeout and curbside services. Customers can have a great, contact-free experience no matter how they choose to get their meals. To combat food insecurity, restaurants are also offering meal kit subscriptions and farm boxes or finding other little ways to incorporate green practices.
Given the restrictions of the pandemic, businesses found creative ways to go virtual too. They prioritized digital experiences like online cooking or mixology classes, and videos where their cooks share fan-favorite recipes. More businesses are coming up with innovative ways to bring customers one-of-a-kind experiences, even if they can’t meet in person.
Food Trends in 2021
Customer preferences will change again as we finally move past the pandemic and into the world beyond. Based on the consumer trends that have influenced the industry this year, we can bet that digitization will continue to play a major role in customer service. Whether it’s by inventing a new kind of experience or changing up your menu, keep up to date with evolving consumer preferences as we move past COVID-19 into a different world.