The last year was something. Everything changed — how we conduct our day-to-day activity, the products we consume, and how we do our jobs.

Several businesses were affected by the pandemic. Some thrived given the new demands of consumers, others are staying afloat, and unfortunately, some dwindled because of the changing economic landscape.

One of the badly hit industries is the food and beverage (F&B) sector. Nonetheless, as the months dragged on, many businesses in this industry have found ingenious ways not only to continue operation but also to increase the bottom line. These can often be seen in updates through local food news hubs.

As restaurateurs and merchants quickly turned their crisis responses into meaningful solutions, there is a lot in store for the food and beverage industry this year. Focusing on health and wellness, escapism, and those that provide some form of relief are in the spotlight.

Food and Beverage Trends

Let us find out more about what this year has for the F&B sector.

#1 Rise of Health-Consciousness

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are likely to focus more on improving their physical health.

More attention will be given to macronutrients and products that improve the immune system. Food items that have ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties and improves gut health and hydration will be on-demand.

The same goes for superfoods such as elderberry, ginger, acerola cherry, and apple cider vinegar. Not only will brands invigorate their products with vitamin C and prebiotics, but weight loss elixirs will also be popular.

Even when everyone receives a vaccination, the hype for fresh produce and immunity-boosting foods will probably continue to dominate the food and beverage industry this year and beyond.

#2 Nostalgia Is In

With the fear, stress, and anxiety brought about by the pandemic in last year, everyone wants things to return to normal. Because of this desire, consumers will likely flock to products and food items that are familiar. This means demands for food items that bring comfort and nostalgia are in.

While providing comfort with food, brands are likely to launch indulgent products which are health-conscious. Plant-based options will be incorporated, and the use of sugar will be reduced or is likely to be swapped out with healthier options like monk fruit or stevia.

Consumers are likely to be drawn to food products that are prominent during their childhood. Childhood favorites such as S’mores, birthday cake, cotton candy, and peanut butter are likely to make a comeback.

#3 Issue on Sustainability

More and more consumers, especially younger ones, are taking strides to follow sustainable living. In the same vein, a lot of businesses nowadays put sustainability at the forefront.

Over the years, the food and beverage industry has taken up measures to reverse their disastrous impact on the environment with their plastic and styrofoam packages. Adopting green business solutions from production to packaging and in the supply chain management is well underway despite the spike in plastic pollution in the wake of the pandemic.

Another pressing challenge in the F&B industry is the problem of waste management. The food industry produces a significant amount of waste. In response to this, several manufactures are striving to implement eco-friendly practices.

One leading example is the Toast Ale. This award-winning craft beer brewed company uses surplus fresh bread, which otherwise would have been thrown out.

As we move into new year, Toast Ale, along with other sustainability-driven companies, demonstrates the necessity of more creative partnerships to continue our goal of reducing our carbon footprints.

#4 Transparency & Trust

One of the pivotal challenges in the food and beverage industry brought about by COVID-19 is the need for more transparency. Consumers nowadays have taken more interest as to what goes into their food and how it is handled.

“Ingredient labeling” is now a crucial part of the packaging process as people want to feel safe about the food they are consuming. To increase the bottom line and the continued trust of patrons, food businesses must be honest to the public.

Another issue linked with transparency is food fraud.

An increase in demands coupled with problems in production, logistics, and supply chain distribution opened a window of opportunity for nefarious acts by criminals. Since the pandemic, there have been plenty of reported food fraud cases, particularly with honey, sage, and other spice items.

Though the desire for cheap food is not going anywhere, consumers are still vigilant about the food items they purchase.

#5 Plant-Based Options

Veganism and vegetarianism are two growing trends in the food industry. Many people are making these lifestyle changes mainly for health and wellness reasons and the promotion of sustainability.

Some regions experienced meat shortages with the outbreak of COVID-19, causing items like ground beef and chicken breast to skyrocket. This crisis, plus the booming interest in plant-based products, led to growth in retail plant-based food sales.

As we enter another year, it is expected that more businesses will emerge to cater to this growing market.

There are surely a lot of promising food and beverage trends in this year. Eventually, with vaccine distribution, the public will feel safe dining out and filling in restaurants once again. Stay updated with your local news hub to learn more.