8 Food Trends You’re Going To See In 2021 January 7, 2021
We’ve mastered banana bread. Now what?
So, what do we have to show for ourselves after spending the last 9 months in quarantine? There were days of 1,000 piece puzzles, attempting home workouts, new language-learning, and Great Classics reading—furniture rearranging, chronological podcast listening, and skin routine researching. And then there were days of staring off into space, scrolling mindlessly through social media, binge-watching a show that wasn’t even enjoyable, and thinking-about-but-not-acting-upon calling an old friend.
Through it all, the new skills learned and the hours spent just ~existing,~ one thing became very, very clear: Food —in all times, and especially in this one—grounds us like nothing else can.
We rushed to the grocery store and bought up all the all-purpose flour, learned to make sourdough starters from scratch, and posted pictures of our crumb structures. Banana bread had the greatest comeback of the decade. Pancakes were turned into cereal. If 2020 showed us anything, it’s that people turn to food in times of crisis. And furthermore, it helps.
It’s hard to predict a lot of what will happen in The Great Year of the Unknown (aka 2021), but we know this to be true: The way we eat has been forever changed, and food will continue to ground us, connect us, and help us through all types of days—even the ones where we just can’t even bear to change into our day sweatpants from our sleep sweatpants.
Without further ado, we say goodbye to 2020 and all its whipped coffee and hello to our 2021 Food Trend predictions.
1. Home Hospitality.
There’s so much we miss about The Outside. Grabbing a coffee on the way into the office, even if it went cold before we got to our desk. Date nights at the restaurants that felt like “ours.” Digging into a bucket of buttery popcorn at the movie theater. Now that our homes are a one-stop-shop for…basically everything…there’s no reason to leave coffee shop, bistro, and cinema off that list.
Now is the time to perfect that pourover or cocktail with 7 ingredients. You deserve it. (And no one has to know what time of day you decide to consume it either. There are no rules anymore.)
2. Community-Based Food Giving.
One of the brightest spots of this year brought community fridges to public spaces across the country. Colorfully painted and stocked by volunteers, these fridges offer essentials to those impacted by food insecurity, no questions asked. With the need for access to fresh, nutritious food more paramount than ever, the new year will bring even greater innovation to community giving.
3. Making (Even) More Meals Meatless.
We know! You see this every year! It started with beef + mushroom burger blends and branched out into the world of plant-based proteins. Mondays went meatless. And now, there are more ways than ever to reduce animal protein consumption—no matter how or how often you choose to do so. Banana jerky? We’re there. Sausages made from vegetable protein? Throw some on the grill for us. BBQ jackfruit? We’ve had it in tacos and can confirm it’s good.
We are not here to suggest that anyone should eat more or less of what they already do, but we are here to raise our hands in excitement about a whole new world of meatless choices.
4. DIY Pantry.
If we haven’t already been clear—we have a lot of extra time on our hands right now. We’re embracing the opportunity to move beyond the bread-making skills we acquired in March and moving on to stocking our whole dang pantry ourselves. Ever dried your own fruit? Made your own tomato sauce? Taken the time to simmer veggie scraps into broth? All truly life-changing and all as simple as could be.
If you’re looking to start somewhere, here’s a quick recipe for homemade ricotta:
Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth or several layers of paper towels and set over a large bowl.
Bring 2 cups whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized), 1 cup heavy cream, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Once simmering, stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 teaspoons white vinegar. Stir until mixture begins to curdle, then turn off heat and let stand 10 minutes.
Pour mixture over strainer and let sit at least an hour. (The longer it sits, the thicker it’ll be.) Transfer to an airtight container, and don’t throw out the whey (because you’re a homesteader now!)—it’s great in smoothies and quickbreads.
5. Beyond Bread.
Ever eaten a tuna melt between two bell peppers halves? We’re serious. Once you let go of the conventions of the bread-based sandwich—or toast, for that matter—a whole new culinary world opens before your eyes. Ricotta + hot honey between slabs of sweet potato that were steamed and then seared in butter? A perfectly sweet, salty, carbs combo that just can’t be replicated with plain ol’ sourdough. Craving a wrap without all the sadness that is a wrap? Blanch + then cool collard green leaves, then build your masterpiece from there. (Lately we’re loving scrambled eggs + smoked salmon + avo in a collard wrap for breakfast.)
6. Stress-Free Cooking.
Things are stressful! So many things! Some days we have cooking project brain and some days we have chips-and-salsa-eaten-standing-up-for-dinner brain. Though we love and appreciate both moments, we’re striving for the exact middle in 2021.
We’ve designed EasyEats, a whole new category of meals in 2021 to make your life (your dinner hour, at least) a little simpler. Think dinner on the table in 10 minutes flat. Dinner that doesn’t take 4,000 hours to prep (almost-direct quote from our customers). Dinner that can be made all in one pan. Dinner that we’ve already made for you. Time to go worry about something else.
7. Low/No ABV Happy Hour
No, we’re not sick of Zoom happy hour yet. In fact, there are weeks where we have them more than we’d like to admit, except we’re by ourselves and it’s just called afternoon sipping time. What we are sick of is the post-happy hour ravenous hunger that runs through our bodies like a Metro-North express train. Wouldn’t it be nice, we thought, to not find ourselves knuckle-deep in a jar of peanut butter at 6pm?
Enter: cocktails with very little alcohol (or none at all). These are all-day sippers that actually taste good and won’t leave you ruining your dinner.
Here’s some inspo to help you get yourself trending:
Ruby Red Fizz (low ABV)
Pour grapefruit soda into a wine glass; stir in a splash of rosé and a dash of grapefruit bitters. Garnish with a grapefruit wheel.
Cranberry Limeade (no ABV)
Combine 2 cups frozen or fresh cranberries, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan; simmer, smashing the cranberries as they soften, until thick, about 10 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and let cool 1 hour.
Combine cranberry syrup with 1/2 cup fresh lime juice + 6 oz thawed lime concentrate in a pitcher. Pour halfway into ice-filled glasses; top with plain sparkling water and garnish with a lime wedge.
In 2021, though, our sweets are going next-level. If we’re going to keep eating them every day (and we are), we’re going to want a little something extra for our bodies, too.
What does that look like? Our ice cream is about to be filled with adaptogens. (Never hearda them? They’re herbs and supplements to help your body recover. You want them. You need them.) Think chocolate ice cream enhanced with reishi mushrooms, enhancing cacao’s naturally earthy flavor.
Our gummies are going high-fiber. Think naturally-sweetened candy that’s good for your gut and doesn’t result in a crash.
Our pudding is getting made with alternative milk. Think oat milk for chocolate, rice milk for vanilla, and coconut for strawberry.
We want to have our cake and eat it, too. And we will.
Bring it on, 2021. We’re hungry.