Global food and drink trends in 2021

Food and drink companies will create mental and emotional wellbeing solutions, deliver on new value needs, and use brands to celebrate people’s identities with the recent shifts in consumer purchases and attitudes across industries amid the pandemic.

Mintel’s food and drink experts see new potential in three trend drivers this year –wellbeing, value, and identity.

“Wellbeing is undoubtedly a consideration for food, drink, and foodservice decisions. Yet, food and drink continue to gain new collaborators (and competitors) as people adopt holistic definitions of health that transcend categories,” said a Market Intelligence

Digest, the online publication of the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB).

The 2021 Global Food and Drink Trend Feed the Mind predicts that innovative food and drink formulations will be accepted as solutions for mental and emotional wellbeing.

“New formulations will help people learn how diet can impact mental and emotional health, which will lead to new interest in psychology-based approaches to healthy eating,” it said.

The report identified three key opportunities for Feed The Mind this year, including offering stressed consumers escape, peace, and other emotional connections through product rituals.

“In the next 12 months, functional food and drink that offer mental and emotional health benefits will expand to new categories and occasions,” it said.

The report said multisensory and functional formulations will be created to complement or enhance stress relief activities, such as energizing snacks to eat while gaming, or calming drinks for meditation.

“As more people adopt psychological approaches to healthy eating, “mindful” and “nutrient dense” will become buzzwords,” it said.

Further, consumers will expect validation that mental and emotional health formulations will work as advertised.

“Companies can share proof from health experts or results from scientific research,” it said. “Consumers and public health entities will use technology to track, validate, and incentivize healthy eating.”

The 2021 Global Consumer Trend Health Undefined said the trend observes that the already rising attention on mental and emotional health has been multiplied by the pandemic and its far-reaching impacts.

“In the coming years, consumers will be looking for more products and services that offer mental and emotional health benefits,” it said. “Functional formulations and emotionally engaging multisensory products will help food, drink, and foodservice brands command a larger share among myriad mental and emotional health options.”

On trend driver value, the report said the continuous shifts in lifestyles and budgets as markets recover will cause consumers to reassess how their food, drink and foodservice purchases offer tangible and measurable benefits.

“As life gets busier and spending rebounds, companies will need to reinvent convenience, create safe retail experiences and deliver responsible budget items,” it added.

The Market Intelligence Digest said trend driver identity covers the ways in which consumers understand and express themselves and their place in society.

“Food and drink can seize the opportunity to serve as indicators of passions and personalities at a time when there are restrictions on some identity markers, such as certain jobs, hobbies, or events,” it said.

The 2021 Global Food and Drink Trend United by Food said brands can balance a person’s need to feel unique and special with the desire to be part of a community of like-minded individuals.

“Brands will explore how they can be used as indicators of identity, and eventually find ways to connect and mobilize their fans,” it added.

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