Every year industry experts predict the major trends coming our way in food and drink, and the latest list of consumer products we are going to see more of at the supermarket includes plant-based everything, according to a new report released by Whole Foods called Food Trends Predictions for 2021. This is further proof that the plant-based food movement, which exploded this past year, is here to stay. The worldwide pandemic has increased consumer awareness about the importance of eating healthy foods that help strengthen immunity and overall wellbeing, and the new wave of plant-based foods reflects that everyone, not just plant-based or vegan consumers, is leaning into plant-baed eating.
More than 50 Whole Foods Market team members ranging from local foragers to regional and global buyers and culinary experts contributed to the sixth annual report that is an early forecast of the top 10 food trends for 2021. All ten of the trends pertain to plant-based foods (fruit and veggie jerky, chickpea everything, the rise in culinary cooking oils) or are inclusive of vegan products (for instance, breakfasts products like JUST Egg’s Folded (a precooked omelette-style sandwich filling).
Here are the top 10 food trends for 2021 from Whole Foods
- Well-Being Is Served Foods like sauerkraut and broth infused with vitamin C, mushrooms, adaptogens, and more to up foods health-promoting properties. “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,” the report finds.
- Epic Breakfast Every Day: Jazzed up breakfasts as we all continue to hunker down at-home. Think of a plant-based sausage-and-egg sandwich. “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,” the authors say.
- Basics on Fire: Innovative pantry items like hearts of palm linguini and tomato sauce made with organic vegetables to fancify home cooking. “Pasta, sauces, spices — the basics will never be boring again,” the report says. “Get ready for reimagined classics like hearts of palm pasta, applewood-smoked salt, and “meaty” vegan soup.”
- Coffee Beyond the Mug: Coffee leaps into foods like bars, granola, smoothie boosters, and alcohol, to give us a jolt of java whenever and however we want. “You can now get your coffee fix in the form of coffee-flavoured bars and granolas, smoothie boosters and booze, even coffee yoghurt for those looking to crank up that breakfast parfait,” says the trend predictor.
- Baby Food, All Grown Up: Treat your tots to elevated food made with ingredients like rhubarb, rosemary, and flaxseeds. The authors are seeing “portable, on-the-go squeeze pouches full of rhubarb, rosemary, purple carrots and omega-3-rich flaxseeds.” these are for kids! Yes, says the Whole Foods report: “Little eaters, big flavours.”
- Upcycled Foods: Packaged foods made from ingredients headed for the trash like chips made from pulp or chewy snacks made from imperfect bananas. “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,” says the report, adding, “Dig in, do good.”
- Oil Change: Walnut oil, pumpkin seed oil, and sunflower seed oil get thrust into the spotlight, adding to your usual olive oil collection. “At-home chefs are branching out with oils that each add their own unique flavour and properties,” the report finds. “Walnut and pumpkin seed oils lend a delicious nutty flavour, 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.”
- Boozed-Up Booch: Kombucha enjoys an adult makeover thanks to the addition of alcohol in the bottle. “Hard kombucha checks all the boxes: It’s gluten-free, it’s super bubbly and can be filled with live probiotic cultures,” notes the trend-spotting source.
- The Mighty Chickpea: Chickpea flour, chickpea cereal, chickpea crusts, and more. “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,” according to the prediction.
- Fruit and Veggie Jerky: Dried fruits and veggies mixed with spices and flavourings to make a nutrient-dense snack. “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 chilli, salt, ginger, and cacao drizzle,” making it easy to be healthy, the report notes.