2020 spurred plenty of change in food and beverage trends. Consumers are buying groceries online, cooking at home, and ordering takeout more than ever – forcing brands and restaurants to evolve in order to accommodate this cultural shift. We’re taking a look ahead at what food and beverage trends we might see in the coming year. 
Here’s what we think 2021 will have in store for both consumers and brands:  
 
Skipping the middleman 
As shoppers continue to seek alternative ways to buy groceries, online sales have driven a greater demand for items sold direct-to-consumer. Frito Lay saw success with the launch of snacks.com in 2020, so much that the platform has been upgraded to offer customized snack boxes. Beyond Meat leapt into DTC commerce with an online shop earlier this year as well. The brand remains on shelves in stores nationwide, but enjoys perks as an online retailer – like offering Cyber Monday deals. It’s likely that more food companies will see the advantage of selling products direct-to-consumer – not only does it multiply occasions to sell, it can help stoke brand loyalty with consumers. 
 
Safety first
2020 was the year for contactless delivery to shine. It’s easier than ever for hungry consumers to order and have food delivered completely virtually. Even as in-person interactions decrease, safety is still top priority. The introduction of tamper-proof stickers will help restaurants reassure their customers that freshly cooked food is handled safely from preparation to delivery. Another way to increase trust between supplier and consumer is the smart label. A new labeling system by Smart Tags will provide shoppers with information about their food on the spot, like freshness, sustainability and how to recycle. 
 
Bringing adventure to the pantry
World wide lockdowns had everyone cooking at home a lot more. Though many consumers will continue to create meals from pantry staples, they’ll be more daring when it comes to taste. Early data from Instacart reveals that in 2021, consumers will be introducing more global flavors to liven up home cooked meals. Bold new flavors we can expect to see more of at home this year include Piri Piri sauce, and Lao Gan Ma (chili crisp).  
 
Climate-friendly claims
Sustainability will be a leading cause in 2021, starring front and center on packaging. While better-for-you brands have often touted the use of organic ingredients in their messaging, the newest buzz-worthy products will give you information on the carbon footprint of your food. Moonshot Snacks uses regenerative agriculture to create carbon-neutral snacks, and is among the first wave of food brands to focus on “climate-friendly” messaging. Impact Snacks also proudly displays its carbon negative status on the front of its package packaging, proclaiming that each bar offsets one pound of carbon. The company promotes renewable energy products, and the plant-based snack bar packaging is 100% biodegradable.
 
Cheers to another year of innovative food and beverage packaging!

2021 Food Predictions