According to Imbibe, the number one driver of food and beverage trends in 2021 will be COVID-19, with products that promote health and wellness, escapism, and value in the spotlight.
Imbibe (Niles, IL) released its top five U.S. beverage trend predictions for 2021. According to Imbibe, the number one driver of food and beverage trends in 2021 will be COVID-19, with products that promote health and wellness, escapism, and value in the spotlight, as they products offer relief from the stress and challenges consumers are facing amid the pandemic.
The focus for 2021 will be maintaining a healthy body and mind by staying physically fit, eating a better diet, and taking measures to improve emotional health. Imbibe said the food and beverage industry will need to consider safety, which will affect how and where consumers shop. Further, consumers will be more cost-conscious, but there will still be space for premium products that provide exciting experiences.
Imbibe’s 2021 trends include:
Better Body. Consumers will be interested in ingredients that promote gut health, improve hydration, and have anti-inflammatory properties. They will also focus on weight management and getting in shape. Sports nutrition products will play a major role in this trend.
Mood Boosters. Consumers are feeling anxious and stressed, so they will seek out products that support relaxation, mental clarity, and sleep. Consumers will look to products for comfort as well, which means product developers will focus on launching permissibly indulgent products with better-for-you ingredients. For example: reducing sugar or swapping it out for stevia, monk fruit, allulose, and others. Comfort will also be delivered through use of nostalgic flavors such as s’mores and birthday cake, and seasonal flavors such as lemonade in the summer and pumpkin in the fall.
Culinary Tourism. Given the restriction due to COVID-19, consumers will seek out products that provide adventurous culinary experiences at home. Think ready-to-drink cocktails that offer a handcrafted experience but don’t require purchasing multiple ingredients. Kombucha, enhanced beer, cider, and seltzer will also satisfy consumers desires for better-for-you ingredients. This will also bring a resurgence of do-it-yourself (DIY) kits, such as meal kits, DIY alcohol fermentation, mixology, dairy-alternative milks, and kombucha. Flavors will be experimental and inspired by other cultures such as Mediterranean flavors like blood orange, orange blossom, bergamot, figs, and dates. There will also be continued growth of flavors from Latin America like guava, chamoy, and mango chili lime and flavors from Asia like yuzu, calamansi, tamarind, and cardamom.
Safety First. Consumers are purchasing items that make them feel safe. For foodservice brands, this means they will need to be transparent about business practices, so consumers feel safe eating out. Consumers will be paying attention to product packaging and will be more accepting of single-use and tamper-proof packaging because of concerns about hygiene and contamination. Online shopping will continue to boom.
More for Less. Because infection rates are rising, consumers are stocking up on groceries, but those purchases need to be at a lower price point. As such, Imbibe predicts there will be an explosion of innovation from private label brands who will launch products in growing categories like dairy alternative milks, immunity beverages, and alcohol. In turn, name brands will also offer value to consumers by launching multi-serve products, variety packs with multiple flavors, and shelf-stable options.