Whole Foods' Top Ten Food Trends 2021

Whole Foods' Top Ten Food Trends 2021

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Each year – as we reach the final month or two – many Produce Industry leaders forecast what they see happening in the next year. I share many of those thoughts and predictions with you – and I always appreciate those that are brought forward by Whole Foods. 

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This year, as reported by Mary Ellen Shoup (Senior Correspondent for FoodNavigator USA), Whole Foods shares its trends with this insightful overview: “Heavily influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, Whole Foods Market has unveiled its Top Ten food trends for 2021, which include revitalized ‘epic’ breakfast meals and culinary-inspired baby food, to growing consumer adoption of fringe cooking oils and food brands highlighting the versatility of chickpeas. Each year, the Whole Foods Trends Council, comprised of more than 50 Whole Foods Market team members, including local foragers, regional and global buyers and culinary experts, compile trend predictions based on decades of experience and expertise in product sourcing studying consumer preferences, and being on the frontlines with emerging and existing brands. 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.”


MERCHANDISING TIP OF THE WEEK. Here are Whole Foods’ Top Ten Foods Trends for 2021 as reported by Mary Ellen Shoup (all quotes are taken directly from the article):


1. “Well-being is served.” “As the lines blur between the supplement and grocery aisles, Whole Foods anticipates the continued rise of superfoods, probiotics, broths, and sauerkrauts.” From the Whole Foods Trends Council: “Suppliers are incorporating functional ingredients like vitamin C, mushrooms and adaptogens to foster a calm headspace and support the immune system. For obvious reasons, people want this…pronto.”


2. “Epic breakfast every day.” From the Whole Foods Trends Council: “With more people working from home, the most important meal is getting the attention it deserves, not just on weekends, but every day.” Ms. Shoup explains: “There’s a whole new lineup of innovative products tailored to people paying more attention to what they eat in the morning. Think pancakes on weekdays, sous vide egg bites and even ‘eggs’ made from mung beans.”


3. “Basics on fire.” “With more time in the kitchen, home chefs are looking for hot new takes on pantry staples, giving rise to new takes on shelf-stable pasta, sauces, and spices.” From the Trends Council: “Get ready for re-imagined classics like hearts of palm pasta, applewood-smoked salt and ‘meaty’ vegan soup.”


4. “Coffee beyond the mug.” “Consumers are getting their coffee fix in more ways including in the form of coffee-flavored bars and granolas, smoothie boosters and booze, and coffee yogurt.”


5. “Baby food, all grown up.” “Baby food is getting a culinary makeover with products featuring a wide range of healthy ingredients from purple carrots to omega-3 rich flaxseeds.” From the Trends Council: “Thanks to some inspired culinary innovation, parents have never had a wider or richer range of ingredients to choose from.”


6. “Upcycled foods.” “Brands and food manufacturers are continuing to find new ways to upcycle ingredients that would have previously gone to waste. From the Trends Council: “We’re seeing a huge rise in packaged products that use neglected and underused parts of an ingredient as a path to reducing food waste. Upcycled foods, made from ingredients that would have otherwise been food waste, help us to maximize the energy used to produce, transport and prepare that ingredient.”


7. “Oil change.” “According to Whole Foods, consumers are branching out from the ubiquitous olive oil and trying new varieties of cooking oils such as walnut oil, pumpkin seed oil, and sunflower seed oil.”


8. “Boozed up booch.” “While hard seltzer burst onto the scene in 2018, alcoholic kombuchas will be the next big trend in the beverage aisle.”From the Trends Council: “Hard kombucha checks all the boxes: its gluten-free, it’s super bubbly and can be filled with live probiotic cultures.”


9. “The mighty chickpea.” From the Trends Council: “The time has come to think beyond hummus and falafel, and even chickpea pasta. Rich in fiber and plant-based protein, chickpeas are the new cauliflower – popping up in products like chickpea tofu, chickpea flour and chickpea cereal.”


10. “Fruit and veggie jerky.” “Plant-based innovation has hit the jerky category with brands utilizing a variety of meat-free ingredients from mushrooms to jackfruit dried at peak freshness to preserve nutrients and flavors.” From the Trends Council: “If that’s not enough, suppliers are spicing things up with finishes of chili, salt, ginger and cacao drizzle.”


Thanks to our friends at Whole Foods Markets for these excellent 2021 Trends! Happy Selling!