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Food and drink trends to look out for in 2021

Olive oil – the new coconut oil? Picture: Supplied

Olive oil – the new coconut oil? Picture: Supplied

Published Oct 21, 2020


When it comes to food trends, things move quickly. As we are about to wrap up 2020, a team of experts from the Green Seed Group, a marketing agency that specialises in food and drink has revealed their predictions on what the biggest food and drink trends will be in 2021 - and some of them are pretty out there.

They reveal that while it is fair to say that there are a lot of strange things afoot and gaining popularity in the food and drink industry, we will see a lot of past favourites, with olive oil making a comeback.

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A subtle transition from boozy to light alcoholic drinks

In the coming years, you can expect a shift from being one camp or the other – a drinker or tee-total – to a middle ground. Where “grown-up” beverages are still exciting and refreshing but have much lower ABV. The rise of the “Seltzer” is a great example of this. Over the years we have seen the industry make changes to their beverages, and also creating more de-alcoholised and low ABV beverages to cater to the changing tastes.

Reduce rather than eliminate

Although many on strictly plant-based diets would prefer to see carnivores giving up their precious meat. It is not likely to happen. The more hopeful and more likely result of the argument between which is better and the solution to the problem of keeping up with the world’s demands on climate change, cattle, and other animal populations will be to move towards a more balanced diet of less meat, more plants.

Climate control will play a part

Although vegans tried to warn and lead by example way ahead of everyone else, it seems as the planet reaches a critical period, a more serious collaborative and complete approach is necessary. You can expect to see a move to reduce any foods and ingredients with high carbon footprints, like cheese and meat, and the encouragement leading to enforcement that we only eat food that is seasonally available and available locally.

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There will also be greater steps taken to eradicate the use of products that exploit any animals who are directly at risk from the effects of climate change. It’s not all about what’s being removed though, as there will be a greater focus on food like insects, fish, invasive plant species, legumes, grains, pulses, seaweed, and algae.

Sweet and umami – the next curious and exciting flavour combination

Food enthusiasts are always on the lookout for “the next big flavour combination”. There are strong indications that the big flavour combination destined to rock the culinary world is umami and sweet. In small measures, here and there, it may not be new, with the caramel popcorn and cheese mix you get in Chicago or the cheddar cheese and apple pie combo we’ve seen on menus. However, in the next couple of years, these are going to be making more of an appearance.

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Olive oil – the new coconut oil?

During 2019 there was a lot of interest and debate about MCT-rich products and flavoured compound butter. Although there is no clearly defined viewpoint on whether they are good or bad, with some evidence pointing either way – there is one fat that has a lot of evidence to back up claims it is good for your health. That fat is good old extra-virgin olive oil.

Namely, the Tyrosol and Elenolide found in it. While tyrosol is a compound that helps to protect the body against neurodegenerative conditions and diseases, Elenolide is one that has science-backed evidence of anti-hypertensive attributes. So watch this space, coconut oil! You might be on your way out and extra-virgin oil is back in with its blood-pressure-lowering properties.

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Chickpeas mean more than just hummus

The popularity of chickpea started to soar at some point in the 00s when hummus started appearing here, there, and everywhere as a healthy dip replacement. That has spiralled and chickpea is one of those ingredients that is being experimented a lot with.

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