The article contains psyllium husk fiber.

Forgive me. I just wanted to draw your attention. Primarily used on fresh bread, rolls and frozen pizza packaging, psyllium husk fiber was the top CPG edible product claim in 2020, according to a recent IRI report. Rounding out the top five claims were “Contains Branched Chain Amino Acids” (energy drinks), “Wild Caught” (seafood), “100% Grass Fed” (meat, milk), “Raw” (seafood, honey/jams, dough). My personal favorite product claim is “Contains Valentine’s Day Candy.”

Bring on the chalkiness of Tiny Conversation Hearts, a sturdy Whitman’s Sampler box, and the chemical satisfaction of Cinnamon Red Hot Hearts. While I’m at it, I’ll happily select from a slew of new Hershey products hitting shelves this month: Hershey’s Kisses milk chocolate Meltaway Roses, Hershey’s milk chocolate Bear, Hershey’s Hugs & Kisses Heart Box, Reese’s Peanut Butter Rose, and Reese’s Big Box O’ Love. Don’t you feel better just reading that short list of sweet treats?

This year, a majority of consumers who want to go out for a romantic dinner will not be able to do so. Some will order specialty dishes from their favorite local restaurants, but a great many will scour the internet for the perfect recipe, compile a shopping list, purchase ingredients (perhaps online for home delivery), and set off to prepare a meal at home. Throughout 2020, consumers have found the time, patience and interest required to prepare home-cooked meals. The same IRI report indicated that the pandemic spurred meal-making, giving fresh foods an 11% sales boost. Meat sales were a top-dollar generator, experiencing a 35% increase. The report went on to suggest that due to the pandemic, reduced mobility, shifts to remote working, online school and streaming/virtual entertainment, all drove increased demand for at-home food.

This development opens expansive opportunity for food and beverage product developers. Innovations that address global flavors, specific nutritional attributes and confidence in the kitchen are in a position to soar in 2021. Additionally, brands that acknowledge consumer willingness to learn and expand cooking abilities could attract a long-term devotion.

In February 2020, a Valentine’s Day dinner was the last time I shared a meal with my friends and family. This year, I look forward to learning something in the kitchen with the help of products developed by the forward-looking professionals of the food and beverage industry. But if all else fails, I’ll reach for a Meltaway Rose, and take great pleasure in the timeless combination of milk chocolate with a chocolate center (hold the psyllium husk fiber).