Asian-inspired dishes will be the biggest food trend of 2021

The food trends that will define 2021: Home chefs will experiment with Insta-worthy fermentation and buy more British produce in the wake of Brexit, Waitrose experts claim

  • Brits will be sipping on flavoured vodka, eating fermented food in the new year
  • Waitrose report claims Asian-inspired food and  British seafood sales will soar
  • There will also be a rise in at-home restaurant kits which have launched in 2020 

The new year will see Brits sipping on flavoured vodka, eating fermented food and continuing with upmarket at home dining, according to a new report from Waitrose.  

In a year like no other, our attitudes towards what we eat, the way we eat and the way we shop have been fundamentally reshaped by the pandemic. 

While our tastes are constantly changing, 2020 has seen a return to classics and retro favourites as people seek comfort from the food and drink they enjoy.

As we look to 2021, Waitrose has predicted the foodie fashions and top tipples we can expect to see leading the way. 

In a year like no other, our attitudes towards what we eat, the way we eat and the way we shop have been fundamentally reshaped by the pandemic. While our tastes are constantly changing, 2020 has seen a return to classics and retro favourites as people seek comfort from the food and drink they enjoy. Pictured is sherry spritzer 

ASIAN INSPIRATION

With such a wide variety of flavours and dishes, from Kung Pao Chicken to Okonomiyaki, Asian food culture has seen a consistent rise in popularity and this is set to continue into 2021. 

As tasty as they are versatile, store cupboard essentials from Asia are the fastest growing in the Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients range – and Waitrose has seen sales of Chinese Rice Vinegar up 194 per cent, Mirin Rice Wine up 188 per cent and Japanese Rice Vinegar up 180 per cent.

One Asian dish that has caused a social media stir has been the Tornado Omelette – a traditional Korean made famous through TikTok. 

One Asian dish that has caused a social media stir has been the Tornado Omelette – a traditional Korean made famous through TikTok 

Step-by-step: Easy guide to making your own tornado omelette at home

The dish is created by using chopsticks to whisk eggs in a hot pan – incidentally eggs sales increased by 22 per cent in 2020.

Earlier this month, Waitrose reported searches overnight for liquorice had shot up thanks to the ‘Nigella effect’. The supermarket said it had seen 29 per cent more searches for the salty sweet since the show aired.

Highlighted as essential in Nigella’s larder, Korean gochujang chilli paste, mace and smoked paprika have seen sales increase by 49 per cent, 149 per cent and 70 per cent respectively – as customers stock up on new store cupboard staples 

BACKING BRITISH

Fishing rights were a key negation point in the Brexit deal, set to come into effect January 1 and as such British seafood is back in the spotlight, with sales having tripled over the last six months and clams, cockles, mussels and oysters proving particularly popular. Pictured is a fish market in Glasgow

Provenance, animal welfare, taste and value have never mattered more. There is an ever-growing interest in ethical sourcing, and as more people become worried farming standards from overseas, 2021 will be the year of choosing to buy more British and organic produce.

Fishing rights were a key negation point in the Brexit deal, set to come into effect January 1 and as such British seafood is back in the spotlight, with sales having tripled over the last six months and clams, cockles, mussels and oysters proving particularly popular.

Sales of the Waitrose Duchy Organic range are also up 13 per cent in total, while sales of organic chickens are up 42 per cent and vegetables are up 23 per cent – with Waitrose selling 375 bags of its Duchy Organic carrots every hour.

FAVOURING FLAVOUR

Following in the footsteps of gin, flavoured vodka is set to be the top spirit of choice for many throughout 2021. Without the heady botanicals of gin, it is amazingly versatile in a wide range of homemade cocktails and with so many fun flavours to choose from – such as fir, rhubarb and marmalade – the possibilities are endless. Pictured is Black Cow flavoured vodka 

SHERRY SPRITZERS  

Mediterranean food isn’t the only trend from across the channel.

Straight from the Med – spritzers in a highball glass are also having their time in the limelight.

Think sherry or white port, served simply with tonic and ice for a refreshing, long drink, or go the extra mile and add a fruity twist.

With many flavoursome options to choose from – including an Orange and Ginger Wine Spritzer and Fruity gin spritzer – these drinks are set to become more mainstream in 2021.

 

Following in the footsteps of gin, flavoured vodka is set to be the top spirit of choice for many throughout 2021. 

Without the heady botanicals of gin, it is amazingly versatile in a wide range of homemade cocktails and with so many fun flavours to choose from – such as fir, rhubarb and marmalade – the possibilities are endless. 

IT’S FERMENT TO BE

Preserving is where it’s at right now. Originally introduced as a method of preservation, fermentation continues to be one of the fastest growing trends amongst shoppers and home cooks.

With an increase in time spent at home, the nation is experimenting with preservation techniques using spare cupboard food, whilst reducing waste continues to be high on the criteria. UK social media mentions of preserving and fermenting are up by 28 per cent and searches on Waitrose.com for ‘pickling’ are 222 per cent higher.

As well as fermenting at home – Waitrose continues to see a rise is sales of fermented favourites such as sourdough and kimchi – the classic Korean dish made by fermenting cabbage and carrots in a flavoursome, spicy sauce – as well as the popular fermented drink kombucha.

The biggest lockdown trend in bread making was sourdough, with 115,000 related page views on the BBC Good Food website between March and May – up 900 per cent on last year.

Waitrose continues to see a rise is sales of fermented favourites such as sourdough and kimchi – the classic Korean dish made by fermenting cabbage and carrots in a flavoursome, spicy sauce – as well as the popular fermented drink kombucha. The biggest lockdown trend in bread making was sourdough, with 115,000 related page views on the BBC Good Food website between March and May – up 900 per cent on last year

AT HOME EXPERIENCES

At home dining has taken on a greater significance – with almost two thirds of Brits saying mealtimes have become more of an event – and this has driven more people to recreate restaurant-style meals at home.

But recreating experiences at home doesn’t stop at food. 

Sales of ‘bean to cup’ coffee machines at John Lewis are up 64 per cent and coffee beans at Waitrose up 44 per cent as people look to replicate a coffee shop vibe at home. 

While at-home cocktail bars, cinemas and music festivals have been popping up in homes and gardens – a trend set to continue throughout 2021.

At home dining has taken on a greater significance – with almost two thirds of Brits saying mealtimes have become more of an event – and this has driven more people to recreate restaurant-style meals at home.

What have Brits been eating in lockdown?  

FORMATS

Consumer awareness of the ethical credentials and sheer convenience of alternative formats has never been more prevalent. Lockdown saw people reduce the number of visits they made to shops, so larger formats like bag in box were in demand and customers haven’t looked back. 

Wine in cans, cocktails in post-friendly sachets and bag in box wine have all pushed the boundaries of how people expect to buy good-quality drinks. This trend will only continue as we see more innovation in the industry and more customers embracing different types of packaging than ever before.

THE OLD VS THE NEW

A year of uncertainty and change in 2020 saw us turn to old favourites. In terms of drinks, this meant we polished up our mixology skills to ensure we didn’t miss out on our favourite cocktails, and we settled down for nights in with a trusty bottle of Malbec or Sauvignon Blanc. For 2021, our sense of exploring the new will be refreshed with 20 per cent of us saying we plan to continue experimenting with new drinks at home, rising to a third among 18-24 year-olds. We also expect to see a rise in popularity of lesser-known wine regions and grape varieties as well as more exotic spirits and unusual flavour combinations.

WINTER ROSÉ

Storming sales in autumn 2020 (up 57% versus last year) prove that pink is officially for all seasons. Versatile, foodie friendly and with the ability to take us straight to Provence in a sip, rosé wine had its biggest year ever last year, and this will only continue to grow in 2021.

SPRITZERS

The trend for enjoying a spritzer in a highball glass is straight from the Med – think sherry or white port, served simply with tonic and ice for a refreshing, long drink.

 

SHERRY

Martinis with a sherry rinse, the rise of sweet sherry and a world of food matching delights from salty cured meats to rich, indulgent desserts – sherry is seeing a steep incline in popularity. Interestingly, people seem to be rediscovering the classic or traditional styles of Manzanilla, Amontillado and Oloroso – where previously it was all about sweet cream sherries.

ENGLISH WINE

The quality of the 2019 vintage of English and Welsh wines is the best we’ve ever seen and this, combined  with the increase in popularity of English and Welsh reds – particularly lighter styles – make a bumper year for home-grown wine. Still wines from 2019 are in stock now, while fizz will take a few more years, so keep an eye out!

LOW AND NO

18% of us plan to continue trying more low-alcohol or alcohol-free drinks or ‘mocktails’ to reduce alcohol consumption, rising to a third of all 18-24 year-olds. Sales at Waitrose corroborate this trend, with low and no sales up 22% year on year. New additions include a sparkling wine, IPA and stout, broadening the range of non-alcoholic versions of our favourite beverages even further.

GRAPES

Spanish Albarino (or Alvarinho if from Portugal) is going from strength to strength, and will have its truly mainstream moment in 2021. Primitivo also shows no signs of slowing in its meteoric rise.

FLAVOURED VODKA

The growing trend for flavoured spirits, led by gin, has seen flavoured vodka become the latest spirit of choice. Without the heady botanicals of gin, it is amazingly versatile in a wide range of homemade cocktails. Fun flavours like fir, rhubarb and marmalade mean the possibilities are endless.

 

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