8 Exciting food trends for 2021
Dec 02, 2020 10:24 AM EST | By Staff Reporter
It's a cliché to say that 2020 has been the year that changed everything - yet that doesn't make it any less true. The changes we've had to make in our lifestyles have been fundamental, and the food trends that we saw emerging in 2020 will continue to gather momentum in 2021.
1. Home baking
When Covid first hit, and the spectre of food shortages seemed to be approaching, there was a huge renewal of interest in cooking and baking at home. Not the fancy stuff, but good, solid comfort food made from basic ingredients.
Having rediscovered the pleasure of preparing and eating simple food, the trend is predicted to continue and grow even stronger in 2021. Many of us have loved the way that hat baking fills the home with the wonderful warm aromas of childhood. This neglected art repays the effort it takes to get back in touch with it. Home-made breads, cakes, cookies, it's hard to get them very wrong, and they're guaranteed to be appreciated and enjoyed by everyone lucky enough to partake.
2. Comfort foods
Continuing on the theme of home cooking, in 2021 menus will be filled with traditional comfort foods. Hearty soups made from local ingredients, stews and casseroles, and nourishing tray bakes.
Again, possibly in response to economic uncertainty, the throw-away mentality of previous years will seem totally irrational. Much more emphasis will be placed on avoiding food waste, finding ways to use up left overs, and exploring recipes which involve seasonal local produce, and cheaper cuts of meat. In the same spirit, manufacturers are looking again at the food they have been throwing away, and finding ways to 'upcycle' and find alternative uses for it.
3. New oil choices
While we all know the health benefits of extra-virgin, cold-pressed oil, we can expect to see other, less well-known nut and seed oils move to centre stage. Walnut or pumpkin seed oils give a fabulous nutty flavour to salads. Avocado oil is a wonderful substitute when cooking, as it doesn't carry much flavour, but has a higher 'smoking point', so is perfect for stir-frys.
4. Eating at home
In 2020 we all got used to some extent, to spending more time at home. So in 2021, expect this trend to continue, as fewer of us eat out regularly, and more restaurants are forced to close. Online grocery shopping will continue to boom, saving trips to the supermarket and time spent on sourcing all those store cupboard ingredients we need for our home-made menus.
Major retailers are already planning innovations in delivery methods, perhaps not for 2021, but we'll certainly see changes in the not-too-distant future. Expect drone deliveries to come soon.
5. Ghost kitchens
As more restaurants close, some of the most creative restauranteurs are reinventing their kitchens in response to changing consumer habits. Customers are no longer filling dining rooms on a regular basis, and expecting them to do so is a risky decision. Instead, they'll transform their kitchens to provide complete 'delivery-only' menus, narrowing down their menu to a limited number of proven 'star' dishes, or catering for 'at-home' parties and events.
6. Meal Kits
The trend combines the move towards home cooking with home delivery and inventive menus. Suppliers deliver kits containing all the ingredients needed to prepare a dish for a given number of people, together with the recipe and simple instructions. Cutting out the need to buy ingredients which will be used once, then sit in the cupboard for evermore, this trend gives us all the opportunity to avoid boredom by branching out and preparing restaurant quality meals.
7. New superfoods
There's no doubt that in 2020 we all focussed on better health, and more of us started to take our nutrition more seriously. As a result, in 2021 superfoods will be high on everyone's shopping list. In the past we all went for avocados, pumpkin seeds and blueberries. 2021 will see the rediscovery of cruciferous vegetables, especially cauliflower, as they are packed with nutrients while being low in carbohydrates. Another food set for a superfood comeback in popularity is grass-fed butter, for cooking or as a spread, rich in beta-carotene and K2.
Chickpeas can be regarded as a superfood as they're a good source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, folate and other B vitamins. Especially useful as an addition to vegan and vegetarian diets, they're cheap, nutritious and endlessly versatile, being especially useful in dips, stews and pasta dishes.
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