Ten top trends to watch in 2021

By Will Cowling, FMCG Gurus

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags trendspotting Trends

2020 was one of the most turbulent and unpredictable years in modern history. Food and drink brands are now looking at what 2021 will hold. Focus undoubtedly will be on the impact that COVID-19 has had on consumer attitudes and behaviors, understanding the longitude of these trends and how they will evolve in a period of hopeful recovery. With this in mind, FMCG Gurus introduces its Top Ten Trends for 2021, highlighting the key needs and wants of consumers over the next twelve months, and what brands can do to capitalize on this.

As with every year, health will be a major driver of consumer attitudes and innovation in the market over the next twelve months. However these concerns have intensified over the last twelve months as consumers have re-evaluated their diets and lifestyles and how vulnerable they are to illness. The implications of this will manifest in consumer attitudes in several ways.

Top 10 trends 2021 FMCG gurus

The Proactive Living trend will result in consumers making changes to their diets with a focus on moderation and abstaining as they look to make instant health improvements, whilst Rediscovering Health means more focus will be placed on immunity as consumers continue to be concerned about long-term and serious health problems.

Innovation will be wanted to maximize health, with the Menu for Me trend showcasing how consumers increasingly want personalized and customized health solutions, such as nutrition genetic-testing.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Better for You, Not Best for You trend highlights how the healthiness of eating and drinking occasions can vary and how the best way to respond to this is through better-for-you launches that are seen to offer taste and nutrition at the same time.

With all aspects of health-related trends, the easier consumers are able to incorporate products into daily diets, the more likely they will continue to purchase in the longer term.

When evaluating these trends they fall into three key themes: Health and Wellness, Safety and Assurance and Taste & Enjoyment

Over the next twelve months, consumers will continue to become more risk-averse, concerned about a variety of issues and the day-to-day and long-term implications of this.

Concerns over issues such as global supply chains, food safety, and the longevity of a recession will drive the Safe and Secure trend, with consumers placing maximum emphasis on value and trust.

Worry about the environment will also drive The Earth is Clear trend, with consumers feeling that the environment is at a tipping point and that potential damage done is something that will impact on quality of life for current and future generations.

As such, consumers will take a proactive and collective approach to addressing environmental concerns. This is something that will also result in the continued growth of the flexitarian movement, something highlighted in The Power of Plants trend.

Indeed, concerns about health, sustainability, and animal welfare will result in consumers seeking out plant-based alternatives. Addressing the issues of texture within these markets will prove crucial. Finally, as consumers place greater emphasis on health, sustainability and safety, more validation of product claims will be needed, something explored in the Natural and Pure trend.

Consumers will want more validation around claims than ever before, wanting reassurance that products are real, authentic, and nutritional.

Although health, risk aversion and value will be dominant traits governing consumer attitudes and behaviors over the next twelve months, consumers will continue to seek out new and premium food, drinks, and flavors.

The reality is that the uncertainty of 2020 will continue in 2021 and beyond. This means that it is crucial that brands are reactive, understanding of consumers, and responsive.

This is something that will drive the Taste First, Think Second trend, with consumers wanting their sensory perceptions to be tested with new and exotic products from around the world, something that is linked to feelings of self-expression and consumers wanting to demonstrate their good taste and sophistication.

These moments of indulgence will also be driven by the need for comfort and escapism from the pressures of everyday life, as demonstrated in the Eating out, Dining In trend.

This will involve consumers wanting to replicate foodservice experiences in the comfort of their own home, wanting products that help facilitate this as more emphasis is placed on maximizing relationships with loved ones.

The reality is that the uncertainty that has surrounded the previous year will continue in 2021 and beyond. This means that it is crucial that brands are seen to be reactive and understanding of consumers and their need states, and to be responding to these accordingly.

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