The Food Trends that will Advance into 2021
30th November 2020
Clíona Regan, International Graduate, Bord Bia - The Irish Food Board
2020 has been a turbulent year for everyone in both personal and professional lives, and has been a year like no other for the food and drink industry. We’ve seen many trends emerge in this industry as stakeholders fought to stay afloat, and with the year coming to a close, one must wonder which trends will remain and advance into the year ahead.
1) Health and Wellness
Consumers are now more than ever very conscious of the food they put into their bodies and the implications they can have towards protecting their health and immune systems.
There is now a demand by consumers for produce that have health properties and benefits attached to them. History has told us as much – a study done in South Korea showed that after the Swine Flu crisis in 2009, sales of red ginseng grew by 57%, and after the MERS epidemic in 2015, sales of vitamins and health foods grew by 26% (Kantar World Panel, 2020). This is an opportunity for food and drink companies to make produce that can actively aid the public’s health, and will likely continue into 2021.
Although the pandemic may have been a momentary distraction from the sustainability work that has to be done both nationally and globally, it is safe to say that it has also provided a chance for companies to take a look at their operations and make changes for the better.
There has been a heightened sense of the need for hygiene and extra packaging, which in some ways has overruled environmental concerns over plastic packaging. Fortunately, we are still seeing progress in the creation of fully recycled or compostable packaging by Irish food and drink companies. For example, some of Origin Green’s member companies have made strides in this area – Brennan’s Bread announced at the end of July 2020, that its wax paper packaging used for many of its products, including the popular Family Pan white sliced pan, is now 100% recyclable and industrial compostable. Beverage company Britvic recently announced their intent for all plastic bottles in GB to be made from 100% recycled plastic (rPET) by the end of 2022 – three years earlier than originally planned. Sustainability will continue to be a key focus area for companies and manufacturers in 2021.
3) Comfort Cooking at Home
With restaurant closures occurring in March and again in October, consumers have had to quickly embrace scratch-cooking at home. It is fair to say that this pandemic has brought out an inner chef within each of us that we may not have known we had. Bord Bia’s early Indicators work found that 41% of Irish families were eating together more as a result of Covid-19. The new kitchen skills that people have picked up during this time, along with the appreciation for quality family time, is not likely to disappear come next year. Food and drink companies should seek to serve customers their familiar favourites, as well as revamping the basics, as people continue to flourish in the kitchen in 2021.