So long, 2020, and not a moment too soon. The pandemic changed the way we purchased food (hello delivery!), how we dined with friends and family (Zoom call, anyone?) and how we cooked at home (is anyone still baking bread?). As we enter a new post-pandemic year, here are some food trends you’ll be seeing everywhere in the new year.
With the pandemic keeping many Canadians at home, we’re snacking now more than ever. It’s easy to snack when your kitchen is steps away from your home office, but according to a recent study conducted by Mondelez, most consumers also see snacking as an important source of comfort and connection, especially during the past year. Look for Canadians seeking healthier snack choices, like vegan (vegetable and fruit) jerky, and snacks made from lentils and chickpeas.
Plant-based meat and beverages are so 2020. This year, you’ll start seeing even more plant-based products in Canada, such as plant-based alternatives to eggs. Just Egg, a mung bean-based product from the U.S., is particularly well-known for its incredibly similar texture when cooked like scrambled eggs.
The new half-and-half
We’re not talking coffee creamers here. The meat and dairy industry will get into the plant-based game by offering products mixed with plant-based ingredients, like beef-and-lentil burgers, or dairy-and-oat milk. These half-and-half products will appeal to flexitarians who love traditional meat and dairy, but also have environmental, health and social considerations when grocery shopping.
Low-calorie hard seltzers exploded into the scene the last few years. Now we’ll start seeing more options in what’s called ‘functional alcohol,’ such as hard kombucha, alcoholic seltzers with electrolytes and vitamins, and low-sugar and “clean” wines.
Most people will still be cooking from home at the start of the year. And as mental wellness continues to be priority concern due to the stresses of pandemic life, in conjunction with New Year’s resolutions, home cooking will also be focused on using ingredients that boost mood and support mental health.
New dining experiences
The pandemic has not been kind to the restaurant industry this year. Challenged with indoor dining closures, weather, and general lockdown woes, restaurants have had to rely on takeout and delivery to survive. Expect restaurateurs to pivot towards other avenues to make money, including creating high-quality meal kits for Canadians who want to replicate restaurant experiences at home.
A trip to the grocery store looks very different than it did before last year—if you even go to a brick-and-mortar store at all. According to a Dalhousie University report, the number of Canadians buying food online regularly has tripled since the start of the pandemic. Look for more grocery delivery options and in-store pick ups to become available through the winter.
At the start of the pandemic, Canadians started re-growing their own food scraps in their kitchens or outdoor gardens. Faced with a long winter lockdown, we’ll start looking at special “smart gardens” to grow produce indoors, such as Click and Grow and Rise Gardens.