We like to think we have our finger on the pulse of all things tasty…but even we couldn’t predict the meteoric rise of sourdough bread this past year. That being said, we’d like to take this moment to say goodbye…er, good riddance to 2020 and all its food trends (remember pancake cereal?) and hello to these seven exciting food trends—from epic charcuterie boards to climatarianism—which we’re predicting will be sizzling in 2021.
1. Climatarianism will be the norm
In 2019 you ditched plastic wrap, and in 2020 you dabbled in chicken-less chicken nuggets. With the issue of climate change on everyone’s mind, we predict 2021 will see plant-based diets become the status quo. Experts agree that food production is a significant contributor of global greenhouse gas emissions, and according to one recent Yale University study, 94 percent of Americans say they are willing to eat more plant-based food, while more than half say they would eat less red meat. Beyond reducing our carbon footprint with dinner, we’ll be shopping more mindfully. Data from Instacart shows that searches for local, women-owned and BIPOC-owned retailers and brands are steadily increasing.
2. Cook-along classes are here to stay
Like it or not, Zoom isn’t going anywhere in 2021; in fact, it’s inviting itself into your kitchen. With gatherings and events still on pause, we predict the virtual cooking classes that defined the past months will continue into the new year. And with offerings ranging from a MasterClass by renowned breadmaker Apollonia Poilâne to ultra-personal lessons from food blogger Alexandra Stafford, we’re not complaining.
3. Meal kits take a turn for the epicurean
At this point, we’ve been cooking enough that we no longer need help on our journey to roast chicken. But the convenience of a meal kit cannot be overstated, especially when we’re all suffering from a case of kitchen fatigue. Enter meal kit 2.0, which is less a tutorial for beginners and more an easy way to give your lifeless dinner a makeover. Cooking kits like Omsom will make mastering Thai larb a cinch (even when ingredients are harder to find), and baking sets (like the ones from The Caker) will turn you into a bona-fide pâtissier.
4. Kombucha gets a boozy kick
Spiked seltzer walked so hard kombucha could run. While we don’t think the former boozy-bubbly drink is parting ways anytime soon, we’re seeing an uptick in the number of alcoholic kombucha beverages on the shelves. Whole Foods anticipates that wellness-focused shoppers will reach for boozed-up booch because it’s gluten-free, super bubbly and (supposedly) contains live probiotic cultures. You can taste it for yourself with brewers like Strainge Beast, Boochcraft and Wild Tonic.
5. Charcuterie boards branch out
Meat and cheese are no longer the stars of the grazing board show. In 2021, you’ll see everything from pancakes to sour gummies transformed into a charcuterie platter. According to data from Pinterest, there was a 400 percent increase in searches year over year for “breakfast charcuterie boards,” a 300 percent increase for “dessert charcuterie boards” and 100 percent increase for both “candy charcuterie boards” and “fruit charcuterie boards.” Looks like we were ahead of the trend…
6. The air fryer will outshine the Instant Pot
Maybe it’s because we’re less strapped for time, or maybe it’s because we’re all craving something deep-fried and comforting. Either way, we have a feeling the air fryer will surpass the Instant Pot in popularity in the year to come. (Heck, Instant Pot even makes a model with an air fryer built in.) A quick search in Google Trends shows that while Instant Pots have more buzz over time, air fryers are quickly surpassing them in search volume. Good thing we have a few recipes and cookbooks for you to try when you break in your new machine.
7. Spicy is the new umami
According to Pinterest Predicts (its annual trend forecast), “bland is banned.” Instead, spicy flavor profiles are making 2021 look like a real scorcher. Searches for “jalapeño pepper jelly recipe” and “hot honey recipe” have been on the rise, and it looks increasingly like tongue-tingling foods will become as popular as umami. We’re going to need an ice-cold kombucha to pair with that.
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