Food Trends

  • Predicting the food and drink trends that will shape the coming years is a tough task at any time, let alone during a pandemic. Yet, over the past year, many people have found food more important than ever, whether that means cooking new dishes to entertain themselves at home, ordering deliveries to shake up their routine, or dining out at restaurants, and really savoring the experience. Much remains up in the air, but one thing is certain: keeping mealtimes interesting is, for many, crucial. So, from virtual cooking classes to a new era for Michelin-starred restaurants, here’s what we expect to see in food trends of the future.
  • Yearly trends in dining and cooking can be difficult to predict, and the food trends of the future are no exception. But after a stressful 2020, many people have turned to food more than ever as a means of comfort, wellbeing and community.
  • The food trends of the future point toward an overall goal of better health for our bodies, planet and wallets. From cooking styles to star ingredients, you can expect many of the items on this list to become a permanent part of the culinary landscape.


  • Born of quarantine cooking and making ends meet, 2020 found more and more people familiarizing themselves with the ingredients they already had on hand. With the luxury of restaurant meals and well-stocked grocery shelves in limbo, people learned how to shop their pantries and transform overlooked canned and dry goods into filling, delicious meals.


  • Food and nutrients play an integral role in maintaining overall mental and cognitive health. And after a long and arduous 2020, mental wellbeing has never been more important.
  • There is no denying that when your body is malnourished of certain nutrients, it can leave lasting effects. This is exactly why eating for your mind and body will be coming into focus as a rising food trend of the future. There are so many wonderful ingredients and superfoods that can boost your mood, soothe anxiety, combat depression and support your mental health.


  • While veganism and vegetarianism are hardly a “trend,” the influx of people joining the lifestyle is on the rise. Increasing concerns over mental and physical wellbeing, not to mention the environmental impact, has led many to reconsider their meat-centered diets. Many are giving up animal products completely in effort to live a healthier, more eco-friendly life.


  • Not everyone is ready or willing to make the switch to a total plant-based diet, which is why the trend of “flexitarian” eating is also on the rise. The concept of being a flexitarian is simple: Meat becomes a once-in-a-while or only-on-the-weekends food rather than part of your regular meal rotation.
  • Reducing our meat consumption even slightly has still been shown to be overall better for the environment and our general health, making this one of the biggest food trends for the future.


  • Keto brought back low-carb eating in a big way, but it won’t be the only option for the food trends in 2021. With the rise in carb alternative products, especially with cauliflower leading the pack in things like pizza crust and gnocchi, it has never been easier to stick with low-carb diets.
  • With versatile ingredients replacing rice and flour-based recipes, you can still indulge in your favorite treats!


  • Many of us had to take a break from our most beloved restaurants in 2020, which is why takeout from our favorite neighborhood eateries will be a top food trend of 2021.
  • Whether you’re looking to support local businesses, show some extra love to a hurting restaurant industry, indulge in your favorite eats or a combination of all three, it’s time to dial up for your favorite local joint and put in an order for pickup or delivery.


  • With concerns of climate change on the rise, we’re more aware than ever of making eco-conscious purchasing decisions. This has, of course, trickled into the food scene, making low- or zero-waste one of the upcoming food trends of the future.
  • Going low-waste with food means drastically reducing unnecessary packaging (especially plastic) and repurposing food scraps that may have previously ended up in the bin (like broccoli stems, carrot tops and potato peels). There are many ways you can cut down on waste in the kitchen, and any step in this direction is a great way to kick off this crucial food trend for the future.


  • As attention to healthy eating takes center-stage this year, desserts are far from being left out of the picture. In fact, desserts are becoming a form of art on their own with new innovations and trends from around the world. This is the part of the menu where creativity can shine, especially with the usage of unique ingredients and even plant-based resources.


  • There is so much access to traditional cuisines from around the world, that a huge food trend in 2021 will be cross-cultural cuisine. Fusion dining is not a new concept, but the time for creativity and innovation in food has definitely arrived. Sample fusions like Mexican-Korean, Chinese-Peruvian and so much more as the options are vast and exciting.


  • There has always been an attention to vegetables in connection to healthy eating as bodies are in need of high nutrients. But ingredients such as herbs, roots and classic mushrooms will be taking the world by storm as a food trend in 2021.
  • These earthy ingredients are all packed full of adaptogens and plenty of vitamins to help protect your body. This makes it super easy for everyone to start introducing more of these items into their everyday meals for happy health-conscious diets.


  • Mocktails have been long overlooked. Now with the rise in consciousness of alcohol consumption and an appreciation of craft ingredients, these zero-proof happy hour options are a hit. Sweet and savory booze-free cocktails are a rising food trend in 2021, which makes perfect sense with how customizable they are with the addition of intriguing herbs, fruits, vegetables and even floral notes to every sip.


  • Plant-based burgers are old news now, but next on the horizon are plant-based ‘fish’ options. These vegan alternatives do their best to mimic the taste, texture and nutritional value of popular fish such as salmon and tuna.


  • Burgers in various guises are a stalwart of food trend lists, and with good reason: they’re perennially popular. And they’ve been thrust into the spotlight once more — this time by Michelin-starred restaurants, which pivoted to serving burgers during lockdown. Most notable was Noma, in Copenhagen, which opened a burger pop-up that proved so popular the team launched it as a permanent venture, called POPL, in December. Meanwhile, Septime in Paris offered a limited-edition cheeseburger with gravy and smoked mayonnaise and Mana, Manchester’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, has followed suit, with a special takeaway-only burger.


  • Meal kits have proved to be the saviour of the restaurant industry over the past year, with neatly packaged ‘dine at home’ experiences providing a vital revenue stream for chefs. From burgers and pizza to multi-course Michelin menus, almost every big-name UK restaurant now has a meal kit offering. They’ve been embraced by consumers during lockdowns, and while some believe they’ll be less popular once restaurants reopen, many chefs are planning for a future where meal kits play at least some part. It may be that we’ll order a kit once or twice a year rather than every other week, but the concept seems here to stay.


  • This trend is partly related to the meal kit boom, as many chefs recorded short video tutorials on how to finish dishes at home, which developed into full-scale, live, paid-for cooking classes. This looks set to continue.


  • Regenerative agriculture is the word currently on the lips of sustainability experts and food scientists. As mass industrial farming has been held up as a huge contributor to climate change, a counter movement has emerged, led by farmers using traditional, less intensive methods for farming and livestock. The result: meat and produce that’s certified carbon-neutral, or even carbon-positive. For those concerned about the environmental impact of eating meat but not wanting to give it up entirely, this could well be the future.


  • Grocery stores are already packed with foods for specific ways of eating: keto, South Beach, Paleo, low-cholesterol. But what if a diet was specific to you and no one else? There are companies that create metabolic challenges to see how your body handles and processes food. Eat this shake or muffin with specific known nutrients and send blood samples in before and after. They analyze them and can understand the way your body reacts to give you feedback on what you should eat.


  • Maybe you know someone who ate a cricket in another country once. But as agricultural land becomes sparse and the environmental consequences of producing animal proteins worsen, you might find yourself biting into a cricket energy bar. The advantage with cricket protein is that you don’t need any land. With increased urbanization, you can have a vertical cricket farm in an office building. It can be an incredibly local source of protein, and they barely need any food or water, so it’s great for sustainability. By grinding the crickets into cricket flour, food makers could add complete protein to just about anything: pancakes, breads, even pasta sauces. While today you can buy Chirps Chips, Exo Cricket Protein Bars, or Salsa Verde Chiridos, its not unreasonable to think we cricket burgers could eventually be the new Impossible Burgers.


  • While Ayurveda is currently “definitely California stuff,” as one expert put it, the natural style of medicine that started in India about 3,000 years ago may well make its way to all of our kitchens. Johns Hopkins Medicine’s online Health Library explains it: “Based on the idea that disease is due to an imbalance or stress in a person’s consciousness, Ayurveda encourages certain lifestyle interventions and natural therapies to regain a balance between the body, mind, spirit, and the environment.” People who believe in Ayurveda medicine believe food plays a large part in your overall well-being and can even put you in a specific mood. While teas and supplements can be found in specialty stores, be ready for cookbooks telling you how to cook an entire Ayurveda diet and prepared foods of any kind promising to balance your Dosha (your body’s energy).


  • After you work out, you drink protein. After a night out, you eat a bacon and egg sandwich. In five years, we’ll have specific foods to eat after doing…anything. When you get a cold? Here is a product specially designed to deliver those nutrients you need to recover. Pregnant women need certain nutrients, here is the precise food that delivers that. Companies like Agni Provision are already working on creating postpartum foods. This is part of the continuing trend toward functional everything: I want everything I consume to do something for me.


  • You want an apple? Choose your varietal: Red Delicious, Gala, Fiji, the recent Cosmic Crisp, ten others. But you want zucchini? The “zucchini” is over in that bin. No more. As consumer interest in food continues to increase so too will our options. There has been a lot of progress in the past decade in standardizing agriculture, but I think there is going to be a bigger market for different varietals of vegetables. Your simple search for cauliflower will soon lead you to Depurple (which has the same anti-oxidants as red wine), Self-Blanching Snowball (with leaves that self-wrap around the head to protect it and keep it pure white), or Cheddar Hybrid Cauliflower (bright orange with 25 times the beta carotene of white cauliflower).
  • Today’s consumers are also interested in where food comes from. The Blue Planet effect has given rise to conscious consumers who are not only looking to improve their health but health of the planet as well, so there is importance of ethics and origin of food.
  • Another trend will be eating for happiness, we will see menus and diets packed with serotonin boasting foods, and more evidence that our microbiome plays a crucial role in regulating our emotions, we will see research about a healthy gut and how it pertains to happiness.
  • The most important trend in our food consumption will be food is looked at as medicine. We will eat to live, not live to eat.

Food Trends was originally published in Extreme Life Goals on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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