Strange products such as spreadable coffee, avocado beer and vegetable eggs will soon be on the supermarkets shelves. But 2021 will also bring a renewed interest in physical health: maybe we will choose carefully what to put in the basket.

December is a month of budgets and predictions. A year ago, in this article, we imagined 2020 as an accelerator of already incubated ideas, ready to feed the cauldron of global food trends. From sustainable production to cruelty-free plant foods to delivery, which exceeded expectations during the lockdown, catalyzing media attention for months to come (and who knows how much we’ll hear about it in 2021). But let’s cut to the chase, December is here, speculating on the evolution of food in the new year. Between laboratory-fresh technologies, green breakthroughs and bizarre new entries, a varied scenario is on the horizon. Let’s see what the latest Italian and foreign surveys say about the food of the future.

Food trend 2021. New food and drinks on the way

The Italian observatory of TuttoFood (the international conference dedicated to the food and wine sector, which this year will take place between 17 and 20 May 2021 as part of Fieramilano) photographed the spread of new products of the food industry. Scrolling through the list, at the top of the list is butter coffee, a canned cream with a concentrated flavor (5 times more intense than an espresso) containing 40 mg of caffeine, whose recipe seems to have been patented for the first time by a Japanese company.

Further down in the list, there are frozen vegetable eggs, a natural source of protein that is conquering the American population, and beer obtained from the fermentation of avocado seeds, with the addition of apple cider seeds. There is no shortage of sustainable alternatives. In Italy many entrepreneurs are betting on beers derived from scraps of bread, (like the boys of Hybrida). Other food trends? Cheeses – not cheeses that make use of vegetable cheese making (here you can find a list of some Italian producers, who also sell them online) and the antioxidant drink made from passion fruit, made sparkling by gac (a melon native to Southeast Asia).

Transparency and vegetable meat: the food trends of 2021 according to the British

Every 12 months Innova Market Insides (UK leader in monitoring food trends in 90 different countries) identifies a series of macro-trends that have all the cards to dominate the global market in the long term. This year, the common thread of the production chain will be transparency. Innova Consumer Survey 2020 has that 6 out of 10 people are interested in receiving detailed information about the origin of the food they bring to the table. So, what should we expect from large companies that want to keep up with the times? Clean labels with complete data, easy to interpret (more complete meaning captions and fewer numerical sequences, as taught by the Italian project Safer), packaging technologies for flexible packaging, greater attention to human and animal welfare. There will be a boom in vegan products imitating animal meat (does Beyond Burger ring a bell?), which consumers seem to appreciate for various reasons: health, ethics, environment and even taste, confirming the fact that a predominantly vegetable diet is no longer synonymous of “punitive diets” bordering on fasting.

How will lifestyles change in 2021?

According to Innova Market, as a result of Covid-19, we will see an increase in the number of restaurateurs offering their menus in the form of kits with recipes that can be replicated in the comfort of your own home. Added value for 46% of customers, who are ready to get involved in order to eat their meals in safety. All of the processed raw materials – which could be “a valuable aid to the microbiome and immune system” due to their richness in probiotics and vitamins – will be more easily found in big stores.

Not the superfoods extolled in 2020, but new foods and drinks: results of the best university experimentation. In order to match them, it will be necessary to imply doctors specialised in nutrition, who will become the main allies of brands active in highly competitive sectors. About ingredients we already use, which ones will experience a new wave of popularity? Kelly Landrieu, local coordinator of Whole Foods brands, has no doubt: “Chickpeas. Versatile, nutrient-rich, allergen-free and inexpensive.” In fact, the recent success of legume pasta and hummus – one of the most googled recipes of the last 2 years- seems to prove it. We’ll see.

by Lucia Facchini