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KITTY FINKLEA: Chewing on 2021 food trends

KITTY FINKLEA: Chewing on 2021 food trends

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Similar to the weather forecast, predicting food trends might not always turn out to be correct, but it is fun to consider and discuss.

Since 2020 was an epic year in terms of change, many of our buying habits will probably continue in 2021 with the focus on health, comfort and safety. While this year may not have crazy predictions such as mushroom coffee, there are strong trends coming out of the pandemic.

Here is an overview of some of the food trend outlooks for the coming year:

  • Immune health is still a huge priority. With a focus on staying healthy, Vitamin D, C and zinc along with herbs including turmeric and ginger as well as pre and probiotics for healthy gut bacteria will continue in supplements and functional food categories. Also, products promoting relaxation including food and beverages with hemp will continue.
  • Plant power continues to pop. Vegan and plant-based trends continue, and plant-based protein products that taste like meat will continue to develop with a shift toward more natural as opposed to processed ingredients per consumer demand. The frozen food and snack sections have taken off with plant-based products and will continue to expand this year.
  • Home meal kits shine. Meal delivery kits got hotter in 2020 and continue to be a trend in 2021 with cook-it-yourself to heat-and-serve meals making this an easy way to get food on the table for a family or party of one. Meal kits can be pricey but save on food waste by only sending what is needed and with recyclable packaging at some companies.
  • Take out and curbside dining reaches new levels. Successful restaurants are doing what it takes to stay in business with dine in, dine out, drive through, curb side or delivery to your home. Ghost kitchens and virtual kitchens are appearing – meaning no dining in and often no brick-and-mortar location. For instance, a fine-dining restaurant may now offer a simple take-out menu only or a startup might invest in a food truck instead of a full restaurant.
  • Cook with your screen. Virtual cooking classes were a hit in 2020, making it easy to learn new skills from the comfort of your kitchen. Chefs from around the world have added cooking classes in the zoom world. New topics for 2021 will include ideas for food origins, kitchen crafts or global cuisines.
  • Kitchen crafting takes off. With more time at home, we will continue to see more cooking and crafting in the kitchen, including canning, fermenting, baking or delving into developing craft cocktails, charcuterie boards or growing and drying herbs.
  • Find more interesting sauces, marinades and spice blends in the market. We all get tired of the same old meals, and for those wanting different food adventures, look for a steady increase in shelf stable exotic sauces and marinades that are hot, spicy and sweet as well as a larger variety of spice blends.
  • Mindfulness instead of dieting. It is January, and diets are a hot topic, but many people are turning away from dieting and the scale. With safety and staying well on our minds, there is a growing trend on the focus of health at any size and intuitive eating, which can help improve self-esteem and body image along with clinical indicators such as blood pressure and cholesterol.

Food trends may come and go, but since we are all still stuck in the house, we can look for expansion in areas that help keep us safe and happier in the kitchen.

For more information on adopting healthier lifestyle changes, contact Kitty Finklea, lifestyle coach, registered dietitian and personal trainer at the McLeod Health and Fitness Center, 843-777-3000.

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