While many consumers reached for comfort foods as a way to cope with the uncertain times in 2020, the new year will encourage consumers to look for more wellness-inspired options as seen in years past. The result for food manufacturers will be an emergence of flavors and ingredients that offer physical and emotional benefits to consumers. From dried fruits and veggies to chickpea flour, here’s a sneak peek at the flavors, products and ingredients hitting pantry shelves in 2021.

 

Boosting Immunity

With ongoing anxiety around health and wellness due to COVID-19, consumers will prioritize eating foods that boost their immune system in 2021. In fact, six in 10 consumers say they are increasingly looking for foods that support their immune health, according to a survey conducted by Innova Market Insights. Consumer demand for immunity boosting foods will lead to the inclusion of dried fruits and vegetables in snacks, providing a shelf-stable way to enjoy nutrient-rich produce.

 

Garbanzo Growth

The spike in chickpea interest in the United States has been so profound that it’s even reflected in internet-search data with monthly Google inquiries more than tripling since January 2011. In 2021, one of the chickpea’s biggest selling points to consumers will be its rich protein and fiber content. Products like chickpea flour, chickpea flour crackers, and more will be highly coveted as consumers look to regain their pre-pandemic healthy eating habits. With one in three food launches in the United States featuring chickpeas as an ingredient, experts expect that this healthy grain alternative will continue to rise in food innovations.

 

Trending Diets

Interest in the keto diet has surged as consumers seek personalized solutions that fit their unique lifestyles. Consumers will expect a tailored approach to how and what they eat for the keto diet as we move into the new year. Food brands are continuing to tap into the trend as new products with a keto claim grew 165% in 2020 alone. For consumers seeking convenience to help them adhere to the diet’s strict guidelines, snack brands can capitalize on this trend by working with an experienced snack manufacturer to create keto-friendly options that emphasize nuts, dried fruit and grain-free snacking options.

 

Plant-Based Endures

Americans’ passion for plant-based foods continues to grow. According to Innova Marketing Insights, consumers consider plant-based alternatives for four main reasons— health, diet variety, sustainability, and taste. Double- to triple-digit growth in emerging categories, such as snacks, are driving increased plant-based sales. In 2021, plant powered snacks with protein sources like nuts and seeds will satisfy consumer demand for products with increased nutrition, as well as provide great taste and texture.

With consumers expected to return to a focus on their holistic health and wellbeing, food brands will need to focus on how flavors and ingredients can influence the physical, mental and emotional aspects of health as we move into the new year.

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