Playing the grocery game requires foresight and the ability to latch onto shopper trends as they turn on a dime. For Whole Foods, it’s already ahead of the game. The organic grocer and its team of global buyers and experts unveiled what they believe will be 2021's top food trends.
“There have been radical shifts in consumer habits in 2020. For example, shoppers have found new passions for cooking, they’ve purchased more items related to health and wellness, and more are eating breakfast at home every day compared to pre-COVID,” said Sonya Gafsi Oblisk, Chief Marketing Officer. “Food trends are a sign of the times, and our 2021 trends are no exception.”
A Trends Council of more than 50 Whole Foods Market team members gathers each year to compile trend predictions based on decades of experience and expertise in product sourcing, studying consumer preferences, and being on the frontlines with emerging and existing brands.
According to a press release, this year’s report was significantly influenced by the state of the food industry. The 2021 trends report reveals some of the early ways the food industry is adapting and innovating in response to COVID-19 for a post-pandemic food world.
Whole Foods top food trend predictions for 2021 are as follows:
WELL-BEING IS SERVED
The lines are blurring between the supplement and grocery aisles, and that trend will accelerate in 2021. That means superfoods, probiotics, broths, and sauerkrauts. Suppliers are incorporating functional ingredients like vitamin C, mushrooms, and adaptogens to foster a calm headspace and support the immune system.
EPIC BREAKFAST EVERY DAY
With more people working from home, the most important meal is getting the attention it deserves, not just on weekends, but every day. There’s a whole new lineup of innovative products tailored to people paying more attention to what they eat in the morning.
BASICS ON FIRE
With more time in the kitchen, home chefs are looking for hot, new takes on pantry staples. Pasta, sauces, spices—the basics will never be boring again. Get ready for reimagined classics like hearts of palm pasta, applewood-smoked salt, and “meaty” vegan soup.
COFFEE BEYOND THE MUG
The love affair between humans and coffee burns way beyond a brewed pot of joe. That’s right, java is giving a jolt to all kinds of food. You can now get your coffee fix in the form of coffee-flavored bars and granolas, smoothie boosters and booze, even coffee yogurt for those looking to crank up that breakfast parfait.
BABY FOOD, ALL GROWN UP
Thanks to some inspired culinary innovation, parents have never had a wider or richer range of ingredients to choose from. We’re talking portable, on-the-go squeeze pouches full of rhubarb, rosemary, purple carrots, and omega-3-rich flaxseeds.
Peels and stems have come a long way from the compost bin. We’re seeing a huge rise in packaged products that use neglected and underused parts of an ingredient as a path to reducing food waste. 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.
At-home chefs are branching out with oils that each add their own unique flavor and properties. Walnut and pumpkin seed oils lend a delicious, nutty flavor 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
Whole Foods foresaw the future about hard seltzer bursting on the scene in 2018, and now alcoholic kombucha is making a strong flex on the beverage aisle. Hard kombucha checks all the boxes: It’s gluten-free, it’s super bubbly, and can be filled with live probiotic cultures.
THE MIGHTY CHICKPEA
You can chickpea anything. Yep, the time has come to think beyond hummus and falafel, and even chickpea pasta. 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.
FRUIT AND VEGGIE JERKY
Jerky isn’t just for meat lovers anymore. Now all kinds of produce from mushrooms to jackfruit are being served jerky-style, providing a new, shelf-stable way to enjoy fruits and veggies. The produce is dried at peak freshness to preserve nutrients and yumminess. If that’s not enough, suppliers are literally spicing things up with finishes of chili, salt, ginger, and cacao drizzle.
To go more in-depth on the trends, click here.