Hot and healthy, that’s what consumers are looking for in their food and beverages in 2021.
Spices like cinnamon and cayenne are expected to heat up food innovation, while beverages that include ginger-flavored kombuchas or waters with peppermint aim to brighten beverages and consumer moods at the same time.
One trend emerging from the sheer amount of time consumers have spent at home throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is a heightened focus on their health and what they put into their bodies. Internal research from ingredient and food manufacturer ADM found that nearly 6 in 10 consumers globally are more concerned about their immune function because of COVID-19.
Restaurant replacement is a key trend driving more convenience-focused offerings, according to Mitchell Roth, co-founder, president and COO of Roth Industries and Bourbon Brothers, the latter of which provides prepared proteins for meal kits. “You have a large portion of the consumer base that is much less experienced in the kitchen, but they are still seeking high-quality, chef-driven flavor profiles,” he said, and that’s having an impact on retailers looking to roll out store brands in the fully cooked category and driving manufacturers to ideate around flavor profiles that speak to them.
For Roth Industries, which produces white label and co-pack for private brands alongside its meal kit items, flavor trends making their way into 2021 include Sriracha-flavored items, and more importantly, a trend toward healthy foods.
“Flavors are like fashion trends in the sense that what is popular one day may become a faux pas the next,” Roth said. “What I do think is here to stay are specific diets and nutritional trends like paleo, keto, Whole30, essentially less processed foods with less or no sugar, preservatives, etc.”
According to Instacart research, piri piri sauce saw a 725% increase in sales growth in 2020, and that’s just one concrete example that spicy flavors are going to kick up a notch in the year ahead, said Bandler.