Key 2021 food and drink trends for your food led business

Back to the future - sharing insights the the ‘hospitality at home’ trend and what else to expect in your sector.

As the end of the national lockdown nears, foodservice operators will need to take on board the trends in the ‘new normal’, writes Sheila Eggleston.

It’s never easy to predict trends, but it’s harder when the industry has just gone through one of the most challenging periods ever – multiple national lockdowns have rocked the foodservice sector. During this period, Brits became savvier through online cooking sessions with famous chefs, so they will be more discerning when they feel safe to eat out-of-home, and they will likely be looking for very high hygiene standards and contactless delivery of their food and drink.

A recent consumer poll conducted by KAM Media suggests that the ‘hospitality at home’ trend is here to stay, even when venues reopen. But analyst Mintel’s British Lifestyle Report says that while the total fall in consumer spending in foodservice in 2020 was £44.3bn – down -57.8% year on year, it predicts this sector will bounce back in 2021 and rise by £17.7bn.

Old fashioned meal planning saw comfort food boom over the past year with a shift towards easy to make and cost-effective old nostalgic classics such as soup, stews, lasagne and tray-bakes. Learning from experts that healthy dishes and diets play a crucial role in fighting off COVID-19 has also instilled interest in new lifestyles, with health by stealth as a solution for consumers still wanting to enjoy their food. There is more interest too in plant-based cuisine, with menu suggestions ranging from cauliflower base pizza to carrot packed muffins.

Global cuisine

Global cuisine can generally be served across most day parts. Styles to watch are modern Italian, Japanese and Indian. In addition, less familiar Middle Eastern cuisine including Persian and Israeli recipes, and West African cuisine, particularly Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria, have been gaining more attention as it is more regionally specific and authentic than Indian.

One of the trends in the Waitrose Food & Drink Report 2021 lockdown trends, is the Tornado omelette – a Korean dish taking the UK by storm. Waitrose says it consists of a bowl of rice or noodles, draped in a swirly omelette that resembles a Walnut Whip. Another in-home must was posh coffee, with coffee bean sales up 44% in its stores, which coffee shops and other outlets can capitalise on when they reopen.

Functional food and drink

The pandemic has also increased interest in functional food and drink such as products with immune boosting ingredients like vitamins C and D, superfoods and anti-inflammatories like turmeric, ginseng and gingko.

One in five people took vitamins during lockdown, while 47% agreed they would consume more products that support their immune system[1]. The original vitality drink from Britvic, Purdey’s, is the perfect vegan range that provides caterers a solution. This includes Refocus, a blend of dark fruits, naturally caffeinated and contains guarana and B vitamins to help people stay mentally sharp, and Replenish, a light blend of sparkling raspberry juice with rose extract enriched with B vitamins and magnesium to help restore natural balance. The new reformulated Rejuvenate grape and apple blend completes the line-up. The whole range is HFSS compliant and endorsed by the Vegan Society.


[1] IGD ShopperVista, Has COVID Kick-Started new health trends? 10.09.2020