Food Trends for 2021 – What Can We Expect?

Let’s take a look at Food Trends for 2021 and what we can expect to see in grocery stores and in our kitchens in the year ahead.

list of top five food trends

Also Read: Food Price Predictions for 2021, Five Sources of Plant Proteins, Healthy Snack Ideas & Recipes

If you want to hear more, here’s the interview on Food Trends for 2021 I did on CTV Morning Live.

Here are some of the key themes I compiled after looking at predictions from consumer sites like FoodNetwork, Chatelaine, Taste of Home, Better Homes and Gardens as well as from industry and research groups like Canadian Grocer, Whole Foods, Krogers and Dalhousie University.

Have you seen these trends in action?

Top 5 Food Trends for 2021

1.Thoughtful Consumption

It seems like the shock of seeing empty shelves in grocery stores has made people pay a little more attention to our food and food chain. More than ever before, our purchasing and eating decisions will be influenced by our personal values and beliefs regarding sustainability, climate change, food security, fair labour practices and food safety. For those who can afford it, price will not be the only factor shoppers consider.

As a Result:

Expect to see more emphasis on buying locally, eating seasonally, reducing food waste and choosing more sustainable food packaging options. Tied to that is an interest in the welfare of small, local food businesses and the treatment of their employees.

support local poster
Photo Credit: St. Norbert’s Farmers Market, Manitoba

2.Choosing More Plant-Based Foods

More Canadians are adding plant-based proteins to their weekly meal rotation. It’s part of a growing demand for protein in general and reflects consumers’ concerns about health, price of meat, animal welfare and the environment. The majority of Canadians are not giving meat up entirely; most continue to include meat, poultry and dairy as part of their diet. They are however, replacing some of their meat consumption with plant-base alternatives.

As a Result:

We’ll see more recipes for meatless meal and snacks featuring plant-based proteins.  We can also expect more food products featuring plant-based proteins to hit the shelves. While soy-based alternatives have dominated the market for years, we can expect to see more products featuring other plant-based protein options from peas, cereal grains and even canola. We’ll even see a blend of meat and plant-based proteins to satisfy those who want to reduce but not eliminate meat consumption.

five plant protein sources


3.Becoming Hands-On with Food

Canadians cooked and gardened more last year than the 1970s according to a report by Dalhousie University. Whether out of necessity, stress relief, wanting a sense of control or simply having the time at home to get more hands-on, we can expect interest in gardening, preserving and home cooking to continue in 2021.

As a Result:

Expect garden centers and greenhouses to be busy this spring with more people starting or expanding their vegetable garden. Later in the year, we can expect some of that demand to transition to U-pick farms and preserving supplies. You’ll also see more virtual cooking classes, online tutorials and group chats on gardening and preserving. We may also see local restaurants and chefs offer recipes, meal kits and cooking lessons as part of their survival strategy and to help us prepare some of our favourite restaurant meals at home.

front yard garden
More yard space converted into edible landscapes.

4.Comfort Foods with Global Flavours and Restaurant Favourites

Food nourishes the body and the mind. That’s why comfort foods and foods that remind us of travel or going to restaurants will be popular in 2021.

As a Result:

Expect to see plenty of home cooking recipes for our favourite comfort foods such as pasta, chicken, burgers and pizza. And as per number 2 above, expect to see plenty of plant-based versions too. We’ll even see global twists on some of these classics, for example Moo Shu Sloppy Joes, Tikka Masala Pizza or Filipino Burgers. In the grocery store, we’ll see more globally inspired condiments, seasoning blends and meal starter kits like tandoori chicken mixes, Thai curry pouches, falafel mixes, etc. To satisfy our desire to eat out, we’ll see restaurants offering creative solutions like well-planned outdoor dining, meal kits and improved take out and delivery options.

Filipino poutine
Hot Rod’s Filipino Grill took home top honours in Winnipeg’s poutine competition with the Filipino Longanisa sausage poutine, now that’s global comfort food! Photo Credit: HotRodsFilipinoGrill

5.Healthy Convenient Foods

When Covid-19 hit, our eating, drinking, snacking, sleeping and exercise routines changed considerably. Even our grocery shopping and our eating out habits changed. For a while, many Canadians didn’t care what they ate or drank. Now that the initial shock has passed and with health at the forefront of our daily news, there’s a renewed interest in taking care of our health and what we eat. Healthy eating is back on our radar and ideally, we want our healthy food in convenient, easy to prepare or ready to eat options. And now that we’ve been forced to try it, online shopping and efficient delivery or take out options will continue to be part of our normal eating and shopping practices.

As a Result:

Expect to see recipes, food products and online chatter about healthy eating, especially about gut health and immune boosting foods.  We’ll see more fermented foods like kombucha, sourdough, kefir and yogurt in our grocery stores. In the beverage market, expect to see low carb or low sugar alcohol and options for non-alcoholic spirits and more mocktails. Ironically, kombucha (a non-alcoholic fermented, sparkling cold tea beverage) will become alcoholic as we see Hard Kombucha hitting the shelves. We can also expect more ready to eat snacks and meal kits with various health claims.

CAUTION: Manufacturers will be quick to jump on the healthy food bandwagon with all kinds of marketing schemes, front of package claims and supplements you can’t live without. BE AWARE! As always, it’s up to us to look past the hype and front of package claims to read the ingredient list and nutrient facts to identify whether these products are what they promise to be.

definitions of pre, pro and post biotics
Expect to see lots of buzz about prebiotics, probiotics and now postbiotics.

Those are my top 5 food trends for 2021.

list of food trends for 2021

What have you seen and experienced? Have you seen any of these trends in action already? What else do you predict in the food scene for 2021?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions.  Leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram at #getgettys or Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.  

Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist,  speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas.  She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.

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