Each year, a Trends Council of more than 50 Whole Foods Market team members compile trend predictions based on expertise in product sourcing, consumer preferences, and their time on the frontlines with existing and emerging brands, the release explains. The 2021 report shows the effects of COVID-19.
“There have been radical shifts in consumer habits in 2020. For example, shoppers have found new passions for cooking, they’ve purchased more items related to health and wellness, and more are eating breakfast at home every day compared to pre-COVID,” said Sonya Gafsi Oblisk, Chief Marketing Officer at Whole Foods Market, in the press release. “Food trends are a sign of the times, and our 2021 trends are no exception.”
The trends outlined in the press release are:
- Functional. Customers will expect food to provide nutrition often found in supplements—and they’ll turn to superfoods, broths, and sauerkrauts. Foods with extra vitamin C, mushrooms, and adaptogens are entering the marketplace. For more, try: Flavor + Functionality for the Win
- Focus on breakfast. People are working from home, and no longer rushing their mornings. There are new, innovative products tailored to people paying attention to the first meal of the day.
- Basics, better. People are looking for new takes on pantry staples, like pasta, sauces, and spices—the press release points to offerings like hearts of palm pasta and applewood-smoked salt.
- Coffee—eaten, not brewed. Coffee is entering snack bars, granolas, smoothie boosters, and even yogurt.
- Baby Food, improved. Parents are looking for innovation in squeeze pouches—the press release singles out ingredients like rhubarb, purple carrots, and flaxseeds. For more, try: Kids Health: 10 Trends to Know Now
- Less compost, more food. New products are using neglected parts of popular ingredients that would have otherwise been wasted. For more, try: Let's Talk About Food Loss
- Oil experimentation. Customers are experimenting with walnut oils, pumpkin seed oils, sunflower seed oils—things that add new, unexpected flavors to everything from scrambled eggs to salads.
- Boozy kombucha. Hard kombucha is making its entrance into the beverage aisle. It’s gluten-free, bubbly, and good for the gut.
- Chickpea innovation. Looking beyond hummus and falafel, chickpeas are now in chickpea tofu, chickpea flour, and chickpea cereal.
- Jerky—from fruits and veggies. Mushrooms, jackfruit—these bases and more are being flavored with chili, ginger, and cacao.