LOOKING AT FOOD TRENDS FOR 2021
We take a look at what the biggest food and restaurant trends we predict to find in a COVID-19 world.
AT HOME “FINE” DINING
At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw how restaurants had to quickly pivot to expand into delivery and takeaway. With lockdown regulations continually changing, and not knowing when the vaccine will make its way to South Africa, we will see more restaurants trying to bring the restaurant experience to life at home for guests. Whether we see more chef partnerships with UCook or we see at-home restaurant boxes, this trend is here to stay.
ONLY GOING OUT FOR A SPECIAL OCCASION
Even though restaurants have been open for a while now, people are still cooking at home and who can blame them. People are cautiously returning to restaurants but now, instead of going out for a casual Tuesday night dinner, people are starting to only dine out for a special occasion.
In 2021 we will see more people going to their favourite restaurant that serves comfort food that they love or going to the other end of the spectrum and dining at fancier restaurants that offer a tasting menu and wine pairings. Either way, they are both special occasion places that will bring more and more people to see restaurants as an “indulgence”.
LESS FOOD WASTE
Lockdown and Covid-19 in general have forced us all to come to terms with home-cooking. As a result, we are producing more food waste than before. Whether you’re environmentally conscious or are trying to be a bit more financially conservative, it makes sense that people are becoming more aware of the food scraps they are producing.
In 2021, food scraps will be even more highlighted than in 2020. Now, it’s more than just people at home trying to get the most out of their food scraps but people will also shop more consciously and start actively looking for products that are trying to reduce their food waste, as well as looking at brands that are upcycling foods and turning them into products that we can use.
TURNING TO A SUSTAINABLE/PLANT-BASED DIET
This is not a surprise, we saw this on the rise in 2020, however, in 2021 this trend will spike even more. The modern consumer prefers sustainable food brands, it gives them a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of being socially responsible. This goes hand in hand with shopping for more plant-based products.
The global pandemic has highlighted the importance of eating healthy foods that help strengthen your immune system and we see more and more plant-based products being released everywhere, not just your local health shop. It’s not just vegan consumers who are seeking out more plant-based products, it’s everyone. We’ve seen chickpea everything, pasta made from lentils, mushroom biltong, you name it. In 2021, we will be seeing more options for plant-based products making it easier for those who are trying to lead a more vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. Cheers to eating less meat in 2021!
BUYING EVEN MORE LOCAL
In 2021 we will see an increase in consumer demand for local products. People are wanting to know more about the food they are eating and want to make sure that they aren’t contributing to the increase in carbon footprint. And we’re not just talking about locally grown produce, but also a focus on artisanal local foods as well as locally made spirits
HIGHLIGHTING FEMALE OWNED BUSINESSES
The importance of protecting women in South Africa was very much on the forefront in 2020. Now more than ever, women and men are speaking up about women’s rights and the importance of women in society. It doesn’t stop there, in 2020, highlighting women in business was very much in the spotlight. In 2021 we will see more and more people trying to buy exclusively from women-owned businesses, as well as shining the spotlight on them.
BASICS GET AN UPGRADE
Your everyday, ordinary products will get a makeover. We’ve already been seeing it, but it’s only going to continue in 2021 and we will see some new, interesting products. We’re talking about innovative products like red lentil pasta, “meaty” vegan substitutes, beetroot wraps, vegetable pizza bases, tomato sauces made with organic vegetables, gluten-free options for about almost everything. The demand for interesting products will increase even more and we’re not complaining. Who knows what we’ll see next.
MORE VIRTUAL COOKING CLASSES
This trend was big at the beginning of the pandemic and will only continue to expand in 2021. Many chefs and cooking schools around the world and in South Africa started online cooking classes that are available to anyone and accessible over social media. Many people have seen how fun it is all the while doing it from the safety of their own home. This trend will keep rising with more people finding it a fun way to get together with friends and family all the while being entertained and making a delicious meal.
Have you noticed how chickpea products have been dominating the food market? The versatile legume has proven its worth and shown the world that it’s more than just for hummus. We are seeing chickpeas pop up in almost everything; snacks, pasta, ice cream (yes, you read that right), cereal to rice. It’s a nutritionally dense, high protein food that makes consumers go wild. Get ready for all things chickpea in 2021.
PICNICS WILL RULE YOUR WEEKENDS
It’s not just because it’s summer! It’s been advised that if you’re going to eat out or have any sort of gathering with friends or family, to do so outside. Picnics are a great way to solve that issue. With more and more wine farms and restaurants offering picnic baskets, this trend is sure to see its way into 2021 in a big way.