The past year forced every operator to adapt to new trends helping keep their doors open and give their menu an edge. There are 7 important trends gaining momentum for 2021 that create opportunities to grow consumer purchasing confidence and bring you menu cravability. Let’s take a look:
Immunity-Boosting Foods – The pandemic found consumers shifting their expectations of food from just being delicious to also added protection against illness. Top of the list are vitamins, lycopene and other super food nutrients that can make a menu even stronger. Look for more menus with mentions of ingredients that offer more than just flavor but helps them fight off potential disease. Read more about Red Gold’s tomato products and their role in boosting immunity.
Plant-Based Everything – The pandemic forced many Americans to try alternatives due to retail grocery shortages. As it turns out, many people were pleasantly surprised with the flavor and enjoyed the nutrition benefits of plant-based protein! The rise of plant-based products is projected to continue in 2021 as consumers seek healthy alternatives somewhat related to immunity-boosting super foods. From cheeses to seafood, oat milk and corn milk, the demand for this menu type is projected to continue in 2021.
Plant-based seafood was one of the emerging trends of 2020.
New Umami Flavor Exploration – Nearly half of Gen Z’s and Millennials say they love umami flavors, so expect more exploration according to Technomic. Thus, look for a trial of new mushrooms and protein swaps, e.g., fish/seafood meatballs or ragus, etc. Other options are eggs on eggs, tomato jam, and tamari sauce. Plus, trendy umami components in cocktails, such as kosho, seaweed, gochujang, and soy sauces.
New umami flavors are trending, such as tomato jam.
Growth in Happy Hour Kits – Expect continued growth in Happy Hour Kits of take-out and delivery to customers. According to Technomic, 67% of consumers anticipate that restaurants will continue to offer these beverage deliveries with all the fixings. At the top of the list for next year will be Bloody Mary/ Bloody Caesar Kits.
Take & Bake Continues to Rise – As exhaustion from all that scratch made sourdough sets in, consumers look for relief in their At-Home dining experience found through Family Meal Kits and Take & Bake offerings. A consumer survey by Technomic reports that 67% of customers would be likely to order heat and eat meals. What are the fastest growing ingredients in Take & Bake? Here is a look:
Lazy Dog Restaurant's Take & Bake...TV Dinners!
Combo Meals Will Continue – The opportunity to allow customers to customize their meals with a choice of protein, side, and dessert will continue to grow in 2021. Top meals on the list in 2020 were Create Your Own Combos (up 250% over 2019) followed by Pizza Value Meals (up 111%). Asian Combo Meals were up 17% as well.
Getting More from Menus – Operators were forced to reduce the number of menu items in 2020 and it will continue optimize their offerings in 2021. Trimming the number of SKUs in the kitchen means that crave-worthy and versatile ingredients such as marinara sauce can be used on more than pasta. Try it on sandwiches, meatballs, and other comfort foods. Discover 5 other ways you can use your marinara sauce.
Depending upon the timing, rate and success of the COVID vaccination, experts predict the restaurant recovery to begin by mid-year. Lessons learned from 2020 and some of these trends for the new year can help you get ahead early in the year. Learn more and request free samples of Red Gold products at RedGoldFoodservice.com.