Top Product Development Food Trends for 2021
In this article, we’re focusing on product development food trends in 2021. All of these trends are exciting and in many cases we are already experimenting with these foods and ingredients or we’ve incorporated them into our current client projects. Innovation is driving new trends in the food and beverage market. Our team is in a unique position in that we’re lucky enough to experiment with some exciting food trends including; upcycled and fermented foods, natural and plant based ingredients, a renewed focus on using herbs, roots and oils as well as capitalizing on the pandemic-trend of preparing foods at home. Here’s a peak at some of the innovative trends we are involved with on a daily basis.
The Upcycled food trend is gaining traction throughout the industry. Upcycling as defined by the Upcycled Food Association (UFA) is the “use of ingredients that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption, are procured and produced using verifiable supply chains, and have a positive impact on the environment.” Finding unique and creative ways to utilize a “saved” ingredient that would have otherwise been thrown out is what Upcycling is all about. Upcycling also pairs perfectly with the low/no waste trend and the sustainable food movement.
Examples of food byproducts that are already being Upcycled:
The starchy liquid leftover from cooked chickpeas. Aquafaba can be used to make vegan mayonnaise, plant butter, egg substitutes, dairy-free queso, dips, sauces, bars, and salad dressings.
A byproduct of the coffee-making process, cascara is made from the husks of the coffee fruit after the beans are harvested. These “coffee cherries” are in shakes, teas, energy drinks and other beverages.
Also called Upcycled soybean pulp, this byproduct from making tofu is being converted into a gluten-free flour with more fiber, protein and calcium than white flour. Okara is one of many Upcycled ingredients in baking mixes and bread-based foods — from buns to crackers — that help fight food waste. Upcycled flours are also made from defatted sunflower seeds, sweet potato, corn and cauliflower.
“The most frequently used Upcycled ingredient that Food Business Consulting uses is aquafaba.” says Steffen Weck, CEO of Food Business Consulting. “This ingredient is used in many vegan/vegetarian/better-for-
Fermented Foods And Natural Probiotics
With more people paying attention to their health like never before, fermented foods containing probiotics such as yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut are in high demand in 2021. Fermented foods provide a healthy and sustainable way to preserve food while also adding beneficial microorganisms.
Food Business Consulting is capable of creating individualized probiotic blends which can be designed to withstand typical food processing obstacles including high heat, pH fluctuations, low moisture, as well as freezing temperatures. The customization of probiotics opens the door to creating completely unique products with added health benefits.
Food as medicine has become a priority for consumers thanks to COVID as they now consider the long-term health benefits of everything they drink and eat. Probiotics are known to help balance the friendly bacteria in your digestive system and support a strong immune system. Functional ingredients such as probiotics are becoming increasingly important to consider in product development and addressing shoppers’ immunity and wellness concerns.
Plant Based Foods
Plant based food continues to gain traction in the larger food market. Sales for plant-based foods have continued to rise year over year. In 2020 57% of U.S. households purchased plant-based foods. “Meat” made from plants is the largest driver in this category. Expect to see more brands bringing plant-based foods to the market as consumer spending confirms that there is a large enough segment of the population to support upward growth trends.
When it comes to plant-based milk alternatives there are a few new trends to keep an eye on. Unlike some other plant-based foods, there’s a larger portion of older consumers that gravitate towards plant-based beverages. Almond milk and soy milk are still the most common milk alternatives, but oat milk has grown astronomically since 2017.
Plant based burgers and other meat substitutes have continued to be popular through 2020 and into 2021 especially when it comes to a “healthier” alternative to red meat. However, consumers are finding out that many of the current alternatives are just as high in fat and sodium if not higher than their traditional meat counterparts. 2021 will see a movement to create not only great tasting meat alternatives but also healthier versions. This will include using whole food ingredients (less processed) and reformulating recipes to be lower in sodium, fat, and calories than their meat alternatives.
Food Business Consulting is able to design plant based protein alternatives customized to meet clients needs. We are versed in non-dairy beverage production as well as meat alternatives.
Foods for Mental Health
In 2021 product development food trends will also see more food and beverage companies coming out with products that contain ingredients with an emphasis on reducing stress and improving sleep, both of which are linked to better mental health.
Diets rich in antioxidants, vitamins (e.g., B vitamins), minerals (e.g., zinc, magnesium), fiber, healthy fats (e.g., omega-3s), and other bioactive compounds, such as probiotics, have been linked to better mental well-being. Functional beverages that contain stress-reducing compounds, such as adaptogens, substances that can help your body adapt to stress, and cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant, will increase in popularity.
Products that provide a functional benefit are greatly increasing in popularity as consumers are recognizing the benefits of many of these ingredients. Fortifying foods is no longer limited to vitamins and minerals just to prevent nutritional deficiencies but now includes the addition of other antioxidants, bioactive compounds, adaptogens, and so much more to create designer products which can nourish and improve consumers health. Food Business Consulting is experienced in formulating better-for-you products whether its beverages, snacks, dry mixes, capsules, or whatever product requirements you might have. Beverage consumers want products that deliver on taste and also make them feel good by delivering potential health benefits. The increase in functional ingredients has to be carefully thought through. The formulation requires expert understanding of flavor mimicking and masking, as well as the right level of botanical ingredients and the synergies between the ingredients.
An upcoming food trend in 2021 will be experimenting with new oils in cooking, whether for health benefits, flavor benefits or both. Some lesser-known oils with outstanding profiles as far as health properties and flavor are avocado oil, sesame oil, sunflower seed oil, pumpkin seed oil, walnut oil, and hemp seed oil.
Using oils with less saturated fat in food production is a driving force behind incorporating some of the lesser known, but more health-conscious alternative oils. A 2018 health survey found that more than half of U.S. consumers viewed saturated fats as unhealthy. The growing demand for healthier fats and oils is impacting food and beverage production from cookies to powered drink mixes.
“There is no limit to the creativity brought about by the increasing interest in alternative oils. From the high omega-3 fatty acid profile of walnut oil to the high smoke point of avocado oil and the unique flavor of sesame oil.” says Weck “We can help bring ideas to fruition when it comes to formulating products with alternative oils.”
Home Baked Breads
Another trend born of quarantine cooking. 2020 was the year we all learned how to bake homemade bread. What used to seem complicated and out of reach has now become an activity that more households are partaking in. From tangy sourdough to hearty rye to classic white, home-baked breads are sticking with us as an ongoing food trend in 2021.
Food Business Consulting has many years of experience creating flours, breads and doughs and we most recently worked directly with White Lily and Arrowhead Mills to develop their flours. There is also a growing market for gluten free products and Food Business Consulting has helped to design everything from gluten free bread loafs to pizza crust, to cakes and cookies and everything in between.
Herbs, Roots, Mushrooms
Product development food trends for 2021 also include herbs, roots and mushrooms. These earthy ingredients are packed full of adaptogens and plenty of vitamins to help protect your body. What’s more, all of these ingredients are readily available, making it easy for people to start introducing more of these items into their everyday meals. Herbs, roots and mushrooms are also the perfect ingredients for health-conscious diets.
Using herbs has always been a staple of food product development. However, in recent years there has been a more focused approach to creating new taste sensations and seasoning combinations using herbs that the public is less familiar with. This has led to new dynamics in food formulations. Exotic spice combinations and bold-flavored herbs can take an average food profile and elevate it to exceptional.
Roots bring not only new flavor profiles to food, they also add many nutritional and health benefits such as antimicrobial, antioxidative and hypoglycemic properties. Roots are also an important source of carbohydrates and with the increased focus on creating more nutritionally balanced foods, they are an under-utilized ingredient.
Mushrooms are a fantastic addition to many prepared foods. Mushrooms not only enhance flavor profiles but they also add proteins, vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids. Mushroom-infused products range from coffee to superfoods.
Food Business Consulting has experience creating better for you products with the addition of roots, herbs, mushrooms and other functional ingredients. As plant-based foods gain market traction and consumer taste’s gravitate toward more holistic foods, using plant-based ingredients such as mushrooms and herbs will naturally become that much more prevalent in the food and beverage industry.
Product Development Food Trends look promising for 2021. With so many new and exciting ingredients, flavor profiles and healthy components to choose from, the sky’s the limit when it comes to options for innovative food and beverage products. If you’re looking for a trusted partner that can take your idea from concept to commercialization, please contact Food Business Consulting. Our multifaceted team is always on the lookout for interesting product concepts to bring to market.