The Kroger Co. unveiled its food trend predictions for 2021.
"The most-popular foods and beverages of 2020 underscore how our customers not only adapted to the challenges of this unique year but embraced cooking and eating at home as part of their new routine," said Stuart Aitken, Kroger's chief merchant. "As many of our customers transitioned to working from home and virtual schoolrooms this year, coffee, fresh deli meat and artisan bread emerged as go-to staples for elevated breakfast and lunch routines, while zero-calorie soft drinks, unique potato chip flavors, wine and chocolate stood out as comfort-food favorites. Fresh ground beef, premium buns and shredded cheese also rose in popularity as our customers recreated their favorite restaurant-style burgers at home."
Here's the Top 7 food trend predictions for 2021:
1. Future-proof foods
From immune defense to mood management, consumers are increasingly looking for flavor and functionality in their favorite foods and beverages, especially as the nation continues to navigate a public health crisis. As "futureproofing" and "biohacking" trends continue to accelerate in 2021, shoppers can expect to see more foods with added benefits to support immune health, gut and brain health, energy levels and stress management.
2. Seeking comfort
Easy-to-prepare comfort foods are on the rise as consumers look to balance convenience and quick preparation times with flavorful meal options. To help cope with the added stress many faced in 2020, consumers are also increasingly turning to home baking as a mood booster and mental escape.
3. Ketotarian foods
High-protein eating styles like keto have skyrocketed in popularity, creating a conundrum for consumers who want to explore the trend, but find it difficult to balance the low-carb, high-fat dietary guidelines with a desire to consume more vegetables and plant-based foods. Enter the "ketotarian" diet. Consumers can expect to find a growing selection of these plant-based, high-protein foods on grocery shelves in the year ahead.
4. Global flavors and restaurant favorites hit home
According to 84.51°, Kroger's data and analytics subsidiary, more than 60% of Kroger shoppers are spending more time cooking at home. This trend will only accelerate in 2021, as consumers spice up their weekly routines by experimenting with global flavors and recipes that recreate their favorite travel experiences or restaurant meals at home.
5. Mushroom mania
2021 will be a breakout year for mushrooms. The versatile vegetable is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and can easily elevate everyday recipes with its warm umami flavor. Consumers should expect to see mushrooms play a starring role in a variety of new products in 2021, including blended plant-based proteins, condiments, spices, seasonings and more.
6. For the planet
Consumers are more interested than ever before in the environmental impact of their lifestyle choices. According to a recent survey from 84.51°, 35% of Kroger shoppers strongly agree they are more conscious of food waste since the onset of COVID-19 and more than half plan to continue taking steps to limit food waste after the pandemic. In the coming year, consumers will find a growing selection of eco-friendly products that reduce their carbon footprint, including plant-based and plant-blended meats, sustainably packaged products and more.
7. Fresh innovation
Forget Silicon Valley—consumers can find the latest emerging technology in their local produce aisles. From no-cry onions to in-store hydroponic farms to plant-based coatings, shoppers will see more innovative solutions launch in the coming year to help keep their favorite fruits and vegetables at the peak of freshness longer.