Top Food and Drink Trends for 2021

With the current zeitgeist shaping food and drink trends on a continual basis, the latest craze may only be around for a short period of time. Social media channels, and video sharing apps, in particular, have also had a dramatic impact on the ways in which we view and consume food and share our experiences with our peers online. Continue reading to familiarise yourself with the latest food and drink trends set to take the world by storm in 2021. 

Restaurant delivery services  

With more people staying in than ever before, restaurant delivery services have been accelerating at an upwards trajectory. With the opportunity to generate a second stream of income and tap into the latest trend to rock the hospitality industry, most restaurants now offer their food to go to be picked up or delivered. As well as a wide range of benefits for restauranteurs, consumers have also been drawn to restaurant delivery services for their unparalleled flexibility and convenience. For example, in 2018, the restaurant delivery service industry generated over $82 million in gross revenue. This number is expected to double by 2025. With a growing number of restaurants adapting their strategy to meet growing demand and consumers looking for new ways to streamline their daily routine, restaurant delivery services are only set to surge in popularity as time goes on. 

Alcohol-free drinks 

With alcohol consumption experiencing a steady decline, the alcohol-free drinks market is booming. Fulfilling a gap in the market for consumers looking to socialise without the hangover or partygoers on the hunt for a lower calorie alternative to alcohol, there are more options to choose from than ever before. For example, non-alcoholic wine is one of the most popular offerings. With greater health benefits for the same great taste, this alternative has experienced a rapid surge in sales in recent months. Non-alcoholic gin is another common alternative currently experiencing a dramatic rise in sales due to the global popularity of gin and gin-based products. With the alcohol-free industry set to continue reaching new heights in 2021, market expansion is imminent. 

Staying local 

With social media now a key determining factor for consumers looking for new places to eat and socialise with friends, local restaurants are more likely to rank highly in user’s search results. By familiarising themselves with locally grown produce, consumers can not only treat themselves to great food on their doorstep but contribute towards the growth of their local community. It also gives them the opportunity to liaise with local business owners and find out how they can make a difference in their neighbourhood. According to recent trends, diners are no longer interested in splashing out on fine dining restaurant experiences and are much more likely to order food from local restaurants via a takeaway or delivery service. With the opportunity to discover high-quality eateries within walking distance of your home and save time and money by staying local, the local food trend is here to stay. 

Vegan food 

With a growing number of consumers hopping aboard the vegan, or plant-based, food train, it is one of the hottest trends of 2021. Previously a niche reserved for extreme dieters or those looking to make the switch from vegetarianism, veganism has infiltrated the supermarket and restaurant industries on a global scale and found a way into the diets of a growing number of consumers with a wide range of palates and tastes. As a result, there is more variety and choice when it comes to vegan products than ever before. For example, meatless burgers are now commonplace on restaurant menus and plant-based fish is sold in most supermarket chains all over the globe. Whilst some brands try their best to mimic the taste and texture of meat-based alternatives, others are focused on creating an entirely different product for a brand-new generation of health-conscious foodies. The cost of vegan food does, however, tend to be relatively higher than that of non-vegan food. This is due to its marginal market share and lack of mainstream acceptance so far. 

Zero-waste packaging 

With a general shift towards sustainability and environmentally friendly products, zero waste packaging is on the rise. A growing number of supermarkets and restaurants are choosing to cut down on unnecessary plastic packaging in an attempt to reduce their carbon footprint and appeal to a wider range of environmentally conscious consumers. Several countries have already implemented a number of campaigns and movements to encourage consumers to reduce their plastic usage whenever and wherever possible and make the switch to a more sustainable lifestyle. For example, Sweden is one of the first countries to introduce a set of country-wide recycling rules. By recycling glass and plastic bottles, consumers can be rewarded with a monetary incentive. As a result, more than 99% of locally produced waste is recycled with only 1% of all rubbish produced in Sweden landfilled. Germany is also home to the highest recycling rates in the world with over six different bins for general waste, paper, plastic, clear glass, coloured glass, and composting. 

Touchless ordering 

Touchless ordering is the process of submitting a food order through a series of built-in automated functions. Users can place their order on their smartphone or device in a fraction of the time of traditional methods and without the need for manual intervention. It has already been implemented by a number of fast-food giants and chain restaurants and is set to be rolled out to a growing number of locations before the end of the year. There are several benefits associated with adopting touchless ordering for businesses as well as consumers. By digitising the ordering process, there is less room for human error. As a small or new business, this can end up saving you a considerable amount of time and money in the long run. It also allows for greater brand consistency across the board as well as ease of use so menus can be updated virtually at the touch of a button. With brands constantly looking for new ways to streamline their daily processes, touchless ordering is here to stay. 

Hemp products 

Hemp is the latest dairy-free alternative to take the vegetarian and vegan market by storm. Hemp is the name given to cannabis products that contain less than 0.3% THC. With little to no psychoactive compounds, the plant has been used for a variety of different uses within a wide range of industries and sectors in recent years. One of the most popular uses is in food and drinks. While they can be eaten raw, they are typically ground up into a slurry or powder as a key ingredient in hemp milk, herbal tea, protein powders, and coffee. It is rich in healthy fats and essential fatty acids and can be a great source of protein and vitamin E, iron, calcium, and zinc. 

With food and drink trends evolving on a continual basis, social media has played a large role in shaping foodies’ consumption habits in recent years. From restaurant delivery services, alcohol-free drinks, staying local, and vegan food, to zero waste packaging, touchless ordering, and hemp products, 2021 is set to be a big year for the food and drink industry.