Food & Drink Key Trends for 2021: Labriculture & Craveable Vegan

The Food & Drink team at WGSN released eight key trends for 2021 from among our Key Trend 2021 forecasts for special attention. These trends have been gathering strength and speed in recent months and are poised to make a big splash in 2021.

Food & Drink Key Trends for 2021: Labriculture & Craveable Vegan

This set of trends reflects what consumers are gravitating towards to meet their evolved needs after a trying year with the coronavirus pandemic, economic uncertainty and changed shopping, cooking and eating behaviours. They also reveal exciting innovation from the food industry, focused on sustainability, food technology breakthroughs and new ingredients.

For the next four weeks, we will dig deeper into a pair of key trends which cover five topic areas of the Food & Drink platform: Food, Drink, Ingredients, Cuisine & Flavour and Health & Wellness; see the full list here.

Make Room For Labriculture

We have been busy in 2020 tracking the many new plant-based meat products hitting the market from around the globe, the analogue burgers, sausages and pulled pork made from soybeans, wheat gluten or pea protein. They will need to make room later in 2021 for new alternatives created from cellular agriculture, one of the many names for beef, poultry and seafood produced by food-tech firms.

The first cultured dairy protein made from fermentation (not from animal cells) hit the US market in May 2020 from Perfect Day and went on to be the main ingredient in Brave Robot frozen dessert, which is 100% animal free. This is just the beginning. There are over 50 companies worldwide working to create shrimp, bacon and beef from cell cultures and to have these products approved by regulatory bodies for sale to consumers. While these will be limited and expensive to start, “labriculture” meats and dairy alternatives will expand to become another protein source that is cruelty-free, less polluting and more sustainable than the current animal protein system.

Ones to Watch: Mosa Meat, The Netherlands; Shiok Meats, Singapore; SuperMeat and Aleph Farms in Israel; Perfect Day and Memphis Meats, USA

Craveable Vegan

Remember those plant-based meats we’ve spotted? They, along with dairy-free cheese, butter and milk, are being transformed by creative chefs and food makers into craveable vegan foods attracting all types of eaters. This trend brings tasty vegan fare that has been enjoyed in small shops and food venues to a larger, appreciative audience. It also reflects how food creatives have transformed regional cuisine favourites and familiar comfort foods by using only plants.

Foods fulfilling our cravings include vegan tacos made from heritage Mexican vegetables and legumes; soul food from gumbo to po’boys to smoked brisket; BLTs and fried chicken; and sweet treats made from oat milk chocolate or cashew milk – all vegan.

This is a sign of how more people than ever are committing themselves to eating lighter on the planet, with animal welfare front of mind and alongside personal health, but also interested in having their favourite regional, nostalgic and comfort foods as part of the package.

Ones to watch: Todo Verde, LA, CA; Vegan Mob, Oakland, CA; Vegan Junk Food Bar, the Netherlands; Borough 22, London; Marks & Spencer Plant Kitchen brand, UK

To find our more about WGSN Food & Drink, you can request a demo with our team here.

Alternatively, get a taste by downloading a sample of WGSN’s Food & Drink Big Ideas 2022.

Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.

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