2021 Food Trends and the impact on the food manufacturing industry

2021 Food Trends and the impact to the food manufacturing industry

Fintan McConnell, Product Manager, examines what he believes will be the main 2021 food trends.

The past year has been a turbulent one for all of us. We cannot enter the new year without paying tribute to those who have been on the front line battling this pandemic. In addition, those of us who have lost ones near and dear.

Hopefully with the arrival of much needed vaccines things will begin to improve and we can start to look ahead. To focus on what this new year may bring. For many in the food industry things have never been busier, though there was a drop off in the restaurant hospitality sector due to the ongoing pandemic. On the upside consumers spent higher amounts in supermarkets on alcohol, snacks as well as treats that would make them feel good. Below we list what we predict will be the key 2021 Food Trends.

Lockdown snacking

We previously reported on the increase in snacking during lockdown, we believe that this will continue into 2021. To summarise that article, snacking during the pandemic has grown considerably around the world. Mondelez’s state of snacking report, highlighted some interesting statistic such as;

“9 in 10 global adults (88%) say they are snacking more”, as well as “millennials and those who are working from home right now being especially likely to say they prefer snacks over meals (70% and 67%, respectively)”.

Mondelez’s state of snacking report

Though the roll out of vaccines globally has started, it is likely that the effects of the pandemic will be with us for some time yet, it is likely that this trend will continue for most of 2021. Snack manufacturers that provide healthier as well as more nutritious snacks could take advantage of this behavioural shift. Reducing or replacing sugar, salt as well as fat in snack products could be a way of capitalising on this consumer trend in the long term.

Rise in home cooking and the restaurant at home experience

With many people working from home and with little to do other than go for walks, many have used their free time to cook and bake. As a result there was a significant rise in cooking and baking at home. Some consumers also looked to recreate the restaurant experience, this led to some restaurants, (including high end Michelin starred establishments) providing high quality take away food that needs little preparation. Take away establishments have also done well during the pandemic, in fact take away online platform, Just Eat recorded a 46% increase in orders in the third quarter of 2020. We predict that the interest in home cooking as well as the restaurant at home experience as well as take away food will continue to see growth. Food manufacturers that market their products as restaurant style or high quality take away style food could do well in 2021.

Veganism and flexitarian will continue growth

Environmentalism became very much in focus for many consumers in 2020. With Covid-19 it highlighted to many consumers that animals in the food chain are an impact environmentally and potentially health wise. According to Mintel, ‘(25%) of young British Millennials (aged 21-30) say that the COVID-19 pandemic has made a vegan diet more appealing.’ Though veganism and flexitarian diets have been on the increase in the last few years it seems that the pandemic may have fast tracked some younger consumers into taking the leap of removing or at the very least cutting back on animal based products. Regardless, 2021 we predict will see further see growth in products that are vegan and provide new taste experiences for consumers. Innovation will be still very much be the driving force.

Alternatives to sugar

The rise of sugar alternatives will continue into 2021. Many existing products that contain high amounts of sugar have either been reformulated or are taking steps to cut back sugar. Consumers are increasingly searching for products that have low sugar or no sugar at all, added to that it will be only a matter of time that sugar taxation is applied to other products and not just drinks. Fortunately, as regards to reformulation, there are options available. One particularly great sugar replacement when it comes to confectionery for example, is inulin (a natural soluble dietary fibre that can be used to replace sugar and fat). Other suitable sugar replacements that can be used include stevia and monk fruit.

Can we help?

At NCC Food ingredients we work directly with food producers from reformulation right through to new product development. From replacing sugar, through to innovative vegan food products we can assist. We have the experience and expertise to provide guidance when it comes to getting your product consumer ready.

NCC Food ingredients are an award-winning sourcing provider of functional and innovative ingredients. We recently won Ingredients Supplier of the Year. Our customer base ranges from international producers of foods and beverages to small niche artisan creators of fine foods. If you’d like to discuss the 2021 Food Trends mentioned in this article or enquire how we can assist your business, then simply fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.

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