5 Flavor & Trend Predictions for 2021

As consumers focus on immunity, functional ingredients like matcha and green tea will continue to trend in 2021, especially during the pandemic. Photo by: New Africa / Bigstock.com.

Lyons Magnus, a global foodservice and ingredient source, recently shared its predictions for 2021 – five emerging trends that will influence food and beverage menus in the New Year and beyond.

John Koch, vice president of national accounts for Lyons Magnus, noted, "We use our proprietary research and analysis to support our partners with targeted trend insights to help them identify opportunities that will resonate with their customer base. These trends are the cornerstone for innovative products and recipe creation."

According to Lyons Magnus, the top five trends are:

1. Consumed with Immunity – The global pandemic has intensified an already growing trend for beverages and food with beneficial or "functional" ingredients that may improve health or treat or prevent a future health issue.

Of all the various functional options available, immunity-boosting beverage and food products are the most sought after. Ingredients and flavors that consumers recognize as immunity boosters – such as citrus and other fruits rich in vitamin C, berries, yogurt, dark chocolate, ginger and green tea or matcha – will be popular with consumers who are looking for a dietary silver bullet.

2. Plants Flourish – Plant-based beverages and foods will continue to be a burgeoning category. With the success of plant-based burgers and milks, there appears to be no limit to the range of plant-based products that will soon be offered. Watch for meatless seafood, vegan gourmet cheeses and plant-based creamers to be on the rise in 2021. Of course, tea is the original plant-based beverage, so that should take the spotlight in the New Year.

3. Short Term Nostalgia – While nostalgia is a perennial flavor trend, the global pandemic has triggered homesickness for the recent past. Many consumers are turning to familiar flavors and products that they consider comforting based on the happier times they recall from as little as a year ago. Flavors of childhood like birthday cake, cereal milk and S'mores will continue to be popular, but also look for recent favorites like dark chocolate, chocolate fudge, cheesecake and twists on classics like caramel to reappear in force. For the tea industry, think about how nostalgia can play into tea blends or tea marketing.

4. Not-so-Traditional Places and Combinations – Tea and coffee flavors have long been popular; however, they are showing up in a wide variety of new and not-so-traditional places and combinations. Skeptical? Here's just a partial list of current tea and coffee flavored products already being offered in the marketplace: ice creams, smoothies, cocktails, beer, milkshakes, energy boosters, coffee and tea flavored lemonades, fruit juices, candies, desserts, yogurts, granola, barbecue sauces, carbonated soft drinks, citrus and coffee combinations, chai lattes and shandies. Look for this trend to proliferate throughout 2021. And if you’re a tea supplier, look for innovative partnerships where tea can be incorporated into a product in a creative or tasty way.

5. Adventures in Flavor – While global flavors have been trending for several years now, consumers forced to quarantine during the pandemic have started looking for ways to create some adventure with their beverage and food flavors. Look for at-home flavor safaris and staycation foods and beverages to include even bolder global flavors and flavor mash-ups, unusual flavor combinations, like dill pickle milkshakes, olive oil ice cream or citrus flavored coffees and mystery-flavored foods and beverages, where you get to taste and try and decipher the flavors. For the tea industry, think out-of-the-box and focus on creating a global flavor or tasting experience for your customers.

To learn more about Lyons Magnus, which produces and markets a wide array of products for the global foodservice and food ingredient channels, visit LyonsMagnus.com.