Food and Beverage Season: 3 Trends for Summer 2021
Published on May 10, 2021
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As the pandemic restrictions start to ease and people begin to venture out into the world again, it’s still a little too early to say exactly what will happen with the food and beverage industry.
Having said that, there are some trends that manufacturers and shippers alike would be wise to keep on their radar this summer. Now, more than ever, consumers are emphasizing healthy food options, seeking out unique/exotic flavors, and demanding that food and beverage companies implement sustainable practices.
A Push Towards Healthy Eating
The allure of a summer body has always been a draw for people to start eating healthier when summer rolls around. But the pandemic threw a wrench into everyone’s usual yearly routines, and people tended to gain more weight in 2020 than in past years.
Due to this, it is highly likely that people will be seeking out lower-calorie, plant-based foods this summer more than they have in the past. This knowledge alone can give supply chains a fairly good hint at the type of food and beverage shipments they should probably go ahead and prepare for ahead of time this summer.
Foods that are marketed as healthy and low in calories can be expected to be in high demand this summer. Big diet trends that do not appear to be going away are the ketogenic diet and other “macro-focused” diets such as IIFYM (if it fits your macros).
With the surge in popularity of these types of diets, we can expect that manufacturers will need to modify their labels to reflect their food’s macronutrient content and to promote their protein, fat, and carbohydrate content to their target audience.
Plant-based foods have exploded in popularity over the past few years. Consumers see plant-based foods and meat substitutes as healthier options when compared to animal products.
Unfortunately, technology is still lagging behind in the “meat alternative” space. Consumers are demanding newer and tastier options that can serve as substitutes for hamburgers, steaks, and chicken. But, the plant-based food manufacturers have a difficult task in creating tasty meat alternatives that remind the consumer of a meat product. The practice involves experimenting with different flavors and using certain food derivatives that may not have been needed in such large quantities in the past.
An example is “Beyond Meat.” Famous for “Beyond Burgers” and other similar products, many of their options use pea protein to provide a base. This requires isolating the protein from the pea plant and combining it with all of the other ingredients to create a product that looks, feels, and tastes like meat. That's not to mention, the concerns related to denaturation of the product and contamination considerations have to be considered during transport, storage, and preparation.
The point is this...
Being able to create a convincing meat substitute utilizing plant-based products is no small feat. Manufacturers who are able to devise unique and delicious options for consumers will be able to increase demand for their product. With this boom in the move to healthier food and beverage options, manufacturers, shipping companies, and food warehouses are all about to experience a rather sizeable increase in demand across the board. Furthermore, many plant-based foods require temperature-controlled shipping.
Unique Flavor Profiles
After being shut inside all year, people are craving different flavors. Restaurants and restaurant suppliers need to be ready as restrictions are lifted across the United States and hungry diners begin lining up to be served. In addition, grocers need to ensure that they are stocked with exotic spices that people crave for experimentation during home cooking.
Chefs should prepare to get creative this summer, and restaurant suppliers need to be able to keep up with the demand. Foreign spices from areas such as Asia and South America are likely to be big hits this summer, as many Americans consider eating dishes containing these spices to be a form of “culinary tourism.”
While it may still be too difficult to go on an actual vacation to another country, diners can achieve a similar experience while eating out at a local restaurant.
Exotic Spices for Home Cooking
The trend toward cooking from home is likely to continue as well, which means there could be a run on spices and flavors needed for fun, summer foods, and drinks such as blood orange and guava.
People may be able to start dining out again, but this is unlikely to limit them from showing off their newly developed cooking prowess to friends this summer. Additionally, those who used to dine out constantly before the pandemic became keenly aware of how much money they could save by cooking at home more often. Not to mention, the inherent health benefits of making a meal in your own kitchen are a huge plus.
Due to changes in government policies and a general shift in perspective toward being more “eco-conscious,” consumers demand much more in terms of sustainability practices in their food. This applies as much to the food and beverage supply chain as it does to the actual sourcing of the food products.
Many people are currently more likely to shop locally, both to reduce their carbon footprint as well as to support small businesses.
However, there now arises a conundrum: people want to purchase sustainably grown foods, but they also want safe packaging. Safe packaging generally means more plastic, or at least more material used to keep the food from being handled by too many people.
Manufacturers who can figure out a solution to the issue of keeping food safe, while also keeping their operations sustainable but eco-friendly, will be in high demand.