WGSN, which analyzes consumer trends in food and beverage and other industries, has released its predictions for 2021 that are aimed at informing product innovation in the coming year.
“With a focus on inspiring and informing strategic new product design, we used a consumer-first approach to analyze and forecast the trends food makers and brands need to know now for future success,” said Kara Nielsen, WGSN’s director of food & drink. “Our research points to these trends to meet consumer needs and desires next year and to inspire innovative new products with global potential.”
1. Make Room for Labriculture – Lab-grown beef, seafood, and dairy will join plant-based meat and dairy by year’s end as alternatives to animal products. One example that’s already hit the market is Brave Robot Ice Cream, which uses a “guided-by-nature approach, that uses plant sugars and some old-fashioned fementation to churn out whey protein without the cow,” according to the company. Another company, Shiok Meats from Singapore is creating lab-grown shrimp, Nielsen said.
2. Craveable Vegan – Plant-based ingredients will be used to create unapologetically vegan tacos, soul food, and indulgent snacks that appeal to a broader segment than in the past, according to Nielsen.
3. Coffee Convenience – Homebound coffee drinking is yielding more convenient coffee formats like concentrates, steeped, single-serve bags, and edible coffee snacks. Examples include Eat Your Coffee, naturally caffeinated bars and Pocket Latte Coffee Bars that are made from real coffee.
4. Canned Everything – Along with canned wine, cocktails, and hard beverages, 2021 will welcome innovation in sustainable aluminum cans to support our passion for portable potables. One recent entrant to the space is a canned wine called Just Enough, said Nielsen. Each can contains the equivalent of one and a half glasses of wine.
5. Crazy for Cacao – As increased attention is being paid to cacao’s heritage and preservation, which has given way to innovative new products being created from cacao pods. Last year, Hershey’s C7 Ventures invested in Blue Stripes Cacao Shop, founded by Oded Brenner, creator of chocolate restaurant Max Brenner Chocolate Bar. “The result has been 20 new products including a cacao pod flour and cacao pod drink in a cacao shaped bottle,” said Nielsen.
6. Burnt Basque Cheesecake – This buzzy dessert’s oozing, creamy center, alluring charred top, and imperfect crinkly sides will move it from Instagram comfort-food darling to menu and freezer-case treat. Much like the cheese teas that originated in Asia, this cheesecake represents a viral social media sensation and offers a sensual eating experience, according to Nielsen.
7. Brain Food – Brands will leverage the mental clarity benefits of L-Theanine, the amino acid that powers green tea and other nootropics, to help consumers think more clearly. One such product, Neuro Mints, come in varieties such as Energy & Focus and Calm & Clarity.
8. Sleepy Time Eats –Food and drinks featuring natural botanicals like passion flower, fruits such as sour cherries which contain melatonin, and other nutritious ingredients will help promote a good night’s sleep. One example, said Nielsen, is Nightfood Ice Cream, which is meant to be consumed before bedtime. It contains sleep-supporting calcium, magnesium, and zinc, and less sugar, fat, and fewer calories.