2021 Food & FoodTech Trends - from the rise of fermentation to continuation of convenience

2021 Food & FoodTech Trends - from the rise of fermentation to continuation of convenience

By
Arman Anatürk
January 11, 2021

What would the new year be without a healthy dose of new predictions? We asked our team, and the wider FoodHack community to share with us their food & foodtech predictions for 2021, ranging from a rise of mushrooms to a continuation of convenience. 


1. More plant based everything

We’re especially bullish on dairy eggs & seafood this year. The options will continue to get tastier, healthier, and more price competitive to their non-plant counterparts.

🧀 For cheese lovers, see Grounded's range of cheese free cheese, Loca's mouth watering potato-based nacho sauce or Willicroft's This is not Parmesan, made from cashews through age old cheese-making techniques.

🍤 In seafood, checkout US-based Plant Based Sea Food Co who have a background in the traditional seafood industry, but are now using their knowledge to create deceivingly real plant-based alternatives, while Turkish brand Hyggefisk Caviar is making plant-based caviar from hemp-based protein.

🍳For your brunch needs, India’s Evo Foods announced its first liquid egg alternative in October last year, and has plans for global expansion.

🥛We’d also expect to see more varied proteins used for plant-based milks, like US brand Patch Organicspumpkin seed milk, and from almonds and peas to hemp and bananas, someone’s milked it.


2. Improved personalised heath tracking and personalised nutrition solutions.

📈 The market for personalized nutrition is forecast to reach 11.5 billion by 2025 and last year alone, microbiome startups received a record $1.25bn in VC and PE funding.

At-home D2C microbiome testing is getting easier and more widely accessible and a number of companies, including Habit, Mixfit and Baze, have been developing their offers over the last five years to help consumers get personalised nutrition solutions at home.

Companies like Tel Aviv-based personalised nutrition startup myAir developed a range of plant-based nutrition bars it launched in October which it claims can reduce stress. Consumers complete an online questionnaire and myAir’s algorithm uses those answers plus smart watch data to design a personalised subscription program of nutrition bars to tackle health issues and stress levels. I think we could all use some of that right now.


3. Mushroom/Mycelium everything

Food, packaging, apparel, you name it. From mushroom bacon and seafood to savoury snacks, like jerky and crisps.

🍄 From Atlast Food Co. who are developing structural ingredients for plant-based, whole cut meat products, to Meati's chunky chicken-like pieces or whatever this is from the team at Noma. The global fungi industry is forecast to exceed $86B by 2025, up from $53.7B in 2019 and the trend has already garnered 130k+ subreddit subscribers. Celebs are even getting in on the shrooms, backing Mycoworks who raised $45M series B funding in November to scale up production of its mycelium-based animal-free leather. In food, others to watch include Mycotechnology, a six-year-old Aurora, CO based startup with $82.6mm in funding and Prime Roots, using the Japanese fungus koji to make bacon strips, turkey and meaty-tasting meals.


4. Tech-enabled transparency

According to food trend specialist Innova Market Insights, transparency will be the number one food trend in the coming year, with six in 10 consumers interested in knowing where their food comes from. In 2021, consumers will demand more than ever to see packaging and labels that show the full product life cycle. Locally-sourced products? Cleaner ingredients? Natural alternatives? As much information as companies have, consumers want.

Brans utilising solutions with invisible barcodes, QR codes, near-field communication technology, and pairing these with creative, meaningful storytelling are likely to be more successful when it comes to appealing to the wider consumer market.


5. Algae's breakout year

One person added “2021 is the year of the Seaweed revolution! mark my words. The revolution was just postponed”, and we’re inclined to agree.

🌿 Seaweed, which requires no fresh water, no fertilizer and no arable land, is one of the world’s most sustainable and nutritious crops. It absorbs dissolved nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon dioxide directly from the sea, meaning its carbon footprint is negative. Irish brand Plantruption is making super-nutritious and delicious plant-based burgers from seaweed, with the added benefit of packaging which dissolves in the ocean in 12-14 weeks, and Amsterdam-based WaterFUL has developed a beverage brewed with microalgae, a rich and sustainable source of daily natural protein, antioxidants and immune boosting properties.


6. Functional food and drink

From supporting immunity, gut, brain health to energy and stress levels. ADM’s study revealed 50% of consumers prefer foods that naturally contain beneficial ingredients (like turmeric, Vitamin C, ginger, and spirulina), and that number will only go up as the market for nutrient-dense products continues to expand.

We like New York-based Coast’s natural detoxification shots, perfect for flushing out toxins, replenishing lost nutrients and repairing cells, or LA brand Kindroot’s Adaptogems, which are candy supplements made out of adaptogenic plants and aromatic flavours that help with everything from focus to a good night’s sleep.


7. Carbon-neutral snacks/foods will gain a loyal following

Demand for carbon-neutral food and drinks products is only likely to grow, as climate change moves further up the agenda of consumers and corporations alike. What was once a niche sector is gradually becoming part of the mainstream.

London brand Nibs etc makes sustainable snacks from food which would otherwise have been wasted, Rubies In The Rubble makes exceptional condiments from rescued produce, and Boston-based Impact Snacks has created 100% plant-based superfood snack bars which reclaim more carbon than they make and produce no plastic, enabling consumers to reduce their carbon footprint through their snack choice.


8. Frozen food disruption

Healthier, more nutritious, better branded. While frozen food has always been convenient, the big incumbent players have not catered to modern consumer desires for nutritious, flavourful meals.

❄️ There’s plenty of space in the market for startups to disrupt the status quo by focusing on the health, taste and ease their products bring. We took a look at why frozen could be the new fresh on FoodHack+ in November and we think this category will only continue to grow in the coming years. See companies like One Planet Pizza, All Plants, Daily Harvest,  even Nestle is getting in on the action with their frozen meals and snacks by Life Cuisine. 


9. Fermentation tech

David Bucca of Change Foods reminded us: “Fermentation foods and tech” will be one to watch this year. If the growth of the r/fermentation subreddit is any indicator - it's doubled in size last year surpassing 100k+ subscribers - we'd say David is onto something.

Fermentation tech is being used for everything from cultivating molecularly identical dairy products to harnessing the true aroma of truffles in a delicious oil, like this one from Swiss brand NBROSIA.


10. Rise in food as medicine products/services

Mighty Gum’s immunity gums are made with adaptogens, botanicals and vitamins that support the body’s natural ability to protect itself. Sweden-based Shewy has developed sugar-free gums infused with vitamins and ingredients to boost the immune system, energy and performance. New York brand Moment has created natural botanical beverages which let you ‘drink your meditation’, and LA Cold Press has a range of herbal tonics, health elixirs and superfood potions designed to support the immune system, brain health and mood enhancement.


11. Sustainable packaging choices (could) be the deciding factor for consumers

Plant-based meat company No Evil Foods became the world’s first plastic-negative vegan meat brand in November, which means that for every pound of plastic it generates from their packaging materials, it will fund the recovery and recycling of two pounds of plastic waste.

🥤Companies like Ecovative are working on compostable mycelium packaging, and many leading manufacturers – including Nestlé and Unilever – have made public commitments to develop more sustainable packaging - see Loop Industries, a leading technology company, which has partnered with PepsiCo and Danone to introduce more sustainable PET solutions across their supply chains. 


12. Non-alcoholic booze continues to grow in popularity

🍻 Concerned about the health risks of alcohol consumption, millennials are driving the $4.2 trillion global wellness market. Their preference for natural, low-sugar products has shaped innovation in cereals and sauces over the last few years - and this trend has now leaked over into beverages. Campaigns like Dry January have helped to redefine existing drinkers’ relationship with the hard stuff.

But consumers – especially millennials - remain hungry for experiences. They still want to hang out in cool bars and dance until the early hours. They want drinks that taste – and look - good. They’re just choosing to ditch the hangover. So there’s a huge opportunity for brands and venues that successfully play to the needs of the sober curious. Step in non-alcoholic versions of your favourite tipple, such as this booze-free gin by Berlin-based Laori, London brand Fungtn’s adaptogenic alcohol-free beer or Joybrau's non-alcoholic functional beers.

13. Cloud kitchens, everywhere. Big and small

There’s money pouring into these as consumers seek at-home delivery due to pandemic-related restrictions on eating out: Crave Hospitality Group raised $7.3M seed funding in December to ‘build pre-opening teams’ for its next four planned locations of its ghost kitchen/virtual restaurant facility; restaurant operation tech company Ordermark landed $120M series C funding in October to help more restaurants transition to online ordering, alongside the expansion of its own network of delivery-only brands, Nextbite, which its CEO calls a ‘decentralised ghost kitchen’; newly renamed Latin American cloud restaurant RobinFood secured $16M in debt funding in October to add to its $15M series B funding round from October 2019; Chipotle revealed its Digital Kitchen, a pickup and delivery-only restaurant, which launched in Highland Falls, New York in November. 


14. Convenience triumphs

Meal-kits, ordering in, ready-to-eat will continue to dominate as we stay in through lockdowns. Many business that successfully operated an e-comm or D2C model have seen business boom in 2020, and now consumers can't kick their convenience fix.. Expect new innovations in the convenience category, like Philadelphia-based Dineable’s concept: it’s coordinated catering for virtual events, so whether you’re holding a Facetime dinner party for four or a Zoom conference for 200, everyone can share the same food and connect over a meal.


15. Celebrities will get in on food

Whether launching their own brands, virtual restaurants or just backing their favourite companies. Last year we saw YouTubers and influencers launching celebrity-endorsed cloud kitchens, and tonnes of celebs are getting in on the plant-based action by founding companies, for health, wealth, and all kinds of other reasons.


Of course, we don’t have a crystal ball, but we feel pretty good about these predictions. Feel free to get in touch to let us know your thoughts or if we missed any, we’d be glad to add some more!


Become a FoodHack+ member to get unlimited access

  • Access premium publications
  • Get listed on our directory
  • Join a Global Community

What would the new year be without a healthy dose of new predictions? We asked our team, and the wider FoodHack community to share with us their food & foodtech predictions for 2021, ranging from a rise of mushrooms to a continuation of convenience. 


1. More plant based everything

We’re especially bullish on dairy eggs & seafood this year. The options will continue to get tastier, healthier, and more price competitive to their non-plant counterparts.

🧀 For cheese lovers, see Grounded's range of cheese free cheese, Loca's mouth watering potato-based nacho sauce or Willicroft's This is not Parmesan, made from cashews through age old cheese-making techniques.

🍤 In seafood, checkout US-based Plant Based Sea Food Co who have a background in the traditional seafood industry, but are now using their knowledge to create deceivingly real plant-based alternatives, while Turkish brand Hyggefisk Caviar is making plant-based caviar from hemp-based protein.

🍳For your brunch needs, India’s Evo Foods announced its first liquid egg alternative in October last year, and has plans for global expansion.

🥛We’d also expect to see more varied proteins used for plant-based milks, like US brand Patch Organicspumpkin seed milk, and from almonds and peas to hemp and bananas, someone’s milked it.


2. Improved personalised heath tracking and personalised nutrition solutions.

📈 The market for personalized nutrition is forecast to reach 11.5 billion by 2025 and last year alone, microbiome startups received a record $1.25bn in VC and PE funding.

At-home D2C microbiome testing is getting easier and more widely accessible and a number of companies, including Habit, Mixfit and Baze, have been developing their offers over the last five years to help consumers get personalised nutrition solutions at home.

Companies like Tel Aviv-based personalised nutrition startup myAir developed a range of plant-based nutrition bars it launched in October which it claims can reduce stress. Consumers complete an online questionnaire and myAir’s algorithm uses those answers plus smart watch data to design a personalised subscription program of nutrition bars to tackle health issues and stress levels. I think we could all use some of that right now.


3. Mushroom/Mycelium everything

Food, packaging, apparel, you name it. From mushroom bacon and seafood to savoury snacks, like jerky and crisps.

🍄 From Atlast Food Co. who are developing structural ingredients for plant-based, whole cut meat products, to Meati's chunky chicken-like pieces or whatever this is from the team at Noma. The global fungi industry is forecast to exceed $86B by 2025, up from $53.7B in 2019 and the trend has already garnered 130k+ subreddit subscribers. Celebs are even getting in on the shrooms, backing Mycoworks who raised $45M series B funding in November to scale up production of its mycelium-based animal-free leather. In food, others to watch include Mycotechnology, a six-year-old Aurora, CO based startup with $82.6mm in funding and Prime Roots, using the Japanese fungus koji to make bacon strips, turkey and meaty-tasting meals.


4. Tech-enabled transparency

According to food trend specialist Innova Market Insights, transparency will be the number one food trend in the coming year, with six in 10 consumers interested in knowing where their food comes from. In 2021, consumers will demand more than ever to see packaging and labels that show the full product life cycle. Locally-sourced products? Cleaner ingredients? Natural alternatives? As much information as companies have, consumers want.

Brans utilising solutions with invisible barcodes, QR codes, near-field communication technology, and pairing these with creative, meaningful storytelling are likely to be more successful when it comes to appealing to the wider consumer market.


5. Algae's breakout year

One person added “2021 is the year of the Seaweed revolution! mark my words. The revolution was just postponed”, and we’re inclined to agree.

🌿 Seaweed, which requires no fresh water, no fertilizer and no arable land, is one of the world’s most sustainable and nutritious crops. It absorbs dissolved nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon dioxide directly from the sea, meaning its carbon footprint is negative. Irish brand Plantruption is making super-nutritious and delicious plant-based burgers from seaweed, with the added benefit of packaging which dissolves in the ocean in 12-14 weeks, and Amsterdam-based WaterFUL has developed a beverage brewed with microalgae, a rich and sustainable source of daily natural protein, antioxidants and immune boosting properties.


6. Functional food and drink

From supporting immunity, gut, brain health to energy and stress levels. ADM’s study revealed 50% of consumers prefer foods that naturally contain beneficial ingredients (like turmeric, Vitamin C, ginger, and spirulina), and that number will only go up as the market for nutrient-dense products continues to expand.

We like New York-based Coast’s natural detoxification shots, perfect for flushing out toxins, replenishing lost nutrients and repairing cells, or LA brand Kindroot’s Adaptogems, which are candy supplements made out of adaptogenic plants and aromatic flavours that help with everything from focus to a good night’s sleep.


7. Carbon-neutral snacks/foods will gain a loyal following

Demand for carbon-neutral food and drinks products is only likely to grow, as climate change moves further up the agenda of consumers and corporations alike. What was once a niche sector is gradually becoming part of the mainstream.

London brand Nibs etc makes sustainable snacks from food which would otherwise have been wasted, Rubies In The Rubble makes exceptional condiments from rescued produce, and Boston-based Impact Snacks has created 100% plant-based superfood snack bars which reclaim more carbon than they make and produce no plastic, enabling consumers to reduce their carbon footprint through their snack choice.


8. Frozen food disruption

Healthier, more nutritious, better branded. While frozen food has always been convenient, the big incumbent players have not catered to modern consumer desires for nutritious, flavourful meals.

❄️ There’s plenty of space in the market for startups to disrupt the status quo by focusing on the health, taste and ease their products bring. We took a look at why frozen could be the new fresh on FoodHack+ in November and we think this category will only continue to grow in the coming years. See companies like One Planet Pizza, All Plants, Daily Harvest,  even Nestle is getting in on the action with their frozen meals and snacks by Life Cuisine. 


9. Fermentation tech

David Bucca of Change Foods reminded us: “Fermentation foods and tech” will be one to watch this year. If the growth of the r/fermentation subreddit is any indicator - it's doubled in size last year surpassing 100k+ subscribers - we'd say David is onto something.

Fermentation tech is being used for everything from cultivating molecularly identical dairy products to harnessing the true aroma of truffles in a delicious oil, like this one from Swiss brand NBROSIA.


10. Rise in food as medicine products/services

Mighty Gum’s immunity gums are made with adaptogens, botanicals and vitamins that support the body’s natural ability to protect itself. Sweden-based Shewy has developed sugar-free gums infused with vitamins and ingredients to boost the immune system, energy and performance. New York brand Moment has created natural botanical beverages which let you ‘drink your meditation’, and LA Cold Press has a range of herbal tonics, health elixirs and superfood potions designed to support the immune system, brain health and mood enhancement.


11. Sustainable packaging choices (could) be the deciding factor for consumers

Plant-based meat company No Evil Foods became the world’s first plastic-negative vegan meat brand in November, which means that for every pound of plastic it generates from their packaging materials, it will fund the recovery and recycling of two pounds of plastic waste.

🥤Companies like Ecovative are working on compostable mycelium packaging, and many leading manufacturers – including Nestlé and Unilever – have made public commitments to develop more sustainable packaging - see Loop Industries, a leading technology company, which has partnered with PepsiCo and Danone to introduce more sustainable PET solutions across their supply chains. 


12. Non-alcoholic booze continues to grow in popularity

🍻 Concerned about the health risks of alcohol consumption, millennials are driving the $4.2 trillion global wellness market. Their preference for natural, low-sugar products has shaped innovation in cereals and sauces over the last few years - and this trend has now leaked over into beverages. Campaigns like Dry January have helped to redefine existing drinkers’ relationship with the hard stuff.

But consumers – especially millennials - remain hungry for experiences. They still want to hang out in cool bars and dance until the early hours. They want drinks that taste – and look - good. They’re just choosing to ditch the hangover. So there’s a huge opportunity for brands and venues that successfully play to the needs of the sober curious. Step in non-alcoholic versions of your favourite tipple, such as this booze-free gin by Berlin-based Laori, London brand Fungtn’s adaptogenic alcohol-free beer or Joybrau's non-alcoholic functional beers.

13. Cloud kitchens, everywhere. Big and small

There’s money pouring into these as consumers seek at-home delivery due to pandemic-related restrictions on eating out: Crave Hospitality Group raised $7.3M seed funding in December to ‘build pre-opening teams’ for its next four planned locations of its ghost kitchen/virtual restaurant facility; restaurant operation tech company Ordermark landed $120M series C funding in October to help more restaurants transition to online ordering, alongside the expansion of its own network of delivery-only brands, Nextbite, which its CEO calls a ‘decentralised ghost kitchen’; newly renamed Latin American cloud restaurant RobinFood secured $16M in debt funding in October to add to its $15M series B funding round from October 2019; Chipotle revealed its Digital Kitchen, a pickup and delivery-only restaurant, which launched in Highland Falls, New York in November. 


14. Convenience triumphs

Meal-kits, ordering in, ready-to-eat will continue to dominate as we stay in through lockdowns. Many business that successfully operated an e-comm or D2C model have seen business boom in 2020, and now consumers can't kick their convenience fix.. Expect new innovations in the convenience category, like Philadelphia-based Dineable’s concept: it’s coordinated catering for virtual events, so whether you’re holding a Facetime dinner party for four or a Zoom conference for 200, everyone can share the same food and connect over a meal.


15. Celebrities will get in on food

Whether launching their own brands, virtual restaurants or just backing their favourite companies. Last year we saw YouTubers and influencers launching celebrity-endorsed cloud kitchens, and tonnes of celebs are getting in on the plant-based action by founding companies, for health, wealth, and all kinds of other reasons.


Of course, we don’t have a crystal ball, but we feel pretty good about these predictions. Feel free to get in touch to let us know your thoughts or if we missed any, we’d be glad to add some more!


Become a FoodHack+ member to get unlimited access

  • Access premium publications
  • Get listed on our directory
  • Join a Global Community

What would the new year be without a healthy dose of new predictions? We asked our team, and the wider FoodHack community to share with us their food & foodtech predictions for 2021, ranging from a rise of mushrooms to a continuation of convenience. 


1. More plant based everything

We’re especially bullish on dairy eggs & seafood this year. The options will continue to get tastier, healthier, and more price competitive to their non-plant counterparts.

🧀 For cheese lovers, see Grounded's range of cheese free cheese, Loca's mouth watering potato-based nacho sauce or Willicroft's This is not Parmesan, made from cashews through age old cheese-making techniques.

🍤 In seafood, checkout US-based Plant Based Sea Food Co who have a background in the traditional seafood industry, but are now using their knowledge to create deceivingly real plant-based alternatives, while Turkish brand Hyggefisk Caviar is making plant-based caviar from hemp-based protein.

🍳For your brunch needs, India’s Evo Foods announced its first liquid egg alternative in October last year, and has plans for global expansion.

🥛We’d also expect to see more varied proteins used for plant-based milks, like US brand Patch Organicspumpkin seed milk, and from almonds and peas to hemp and bananas, someone’s milked it.


2. Improved personalised heath tracking and personalised nutrition solutions.

📈 The market for personalized nutrition is forecast to reach 11.5 billion by 2025 and last year alone, microbiome startups received a record $1.25bn in VC and PE funding.

At-home D2C microbiome testing is getting easier and more widely accessible and a number of companies, including Habit, Mixfit and Baze, have been developing their offers over the last five years to help consumers get personalised nutrition solutions at home.

Companies like Tel Aviv-based personalised nutrition startup myAir developed a range of plant-based nutrition bars it launched in October which it claims can reduce stress. Consumers complete an online questionnaire and myAir’s algorithm uses those answers plus smart watch data to design a personalised subscription program of nutrition bars to tackle health issues and stress levels. I think we could all use some of that right now.


3. Mushroom/Mycelium everything

Food, packaging, apparel, you name it. From mushroom bacon and seafood to savoury snacks, like jerky and crisps.

🍄 From Atlast Food Co. who are developing structural ingredients for plant-based, whole cut meat products, to Meati's chunky chicken-like pieces or whatever this is from the team at Noma. The global fungi industry is forecast to exceed $86B by 2025, up from $53.7B in 2019 and the trend has already garnered 130k+ subreddit subscribers. Celebs are even getting in on the shrooms, backing Mycoworks who raised $45M series B funding in November to scale up production of its mycelium-based animal-free leather. In food, others to watch include Mycotechnology, a six-year-old Aurora, CO based startup with $82.6mm in funding and Prime Roots, using the Japanese fungus koji to make bacon strips, turkey and meaty-tasting meals.


4. Tech-enabled transparency

According to food trend specialist Innova Market Insights, transparency will be the number one food trend in the coming year, with six in 10 consumers interested in knowing where their food comes from. In 2021, consumers will demand more than ever to see packaging and labels that show the full product life cycle. Locally-sourced products? Cleaner ingredients? Natural alternatives? As much information as companies have, consumers want.

Brans utilising solutions with invisible barcodes, QR codes, near-field communication technology, and pairing these with creative, meaningful storytelling are likely to be more successful when it comes to appealing to the wider consumer market.


5. Algae's breakout year

One person added “2021 is the year of the Seaweed revolution! mark my words. The revolution was just postponed”, and we’re inclined to agree.

🌿 Seaweed, which requires no fresh water, no fertilizer and no arable land, is one of the world’s most sustainable and nutritious crops. It absorbs dissolved nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon dioxide directly from the sea, meaning its carbon footprint is negative. Irish brand Plantruption is making super-nutritious and delicious plant-based burgers from seaweed, with the added benefit of packaging which dissolves in the ocean in 12-14 weeks, and Amsterdam-based WaterFUL has developed a beverage brewed with microalgae, a rich and sustainable source of daily natural protein, antioxidants and immune boosting properties.


6. Functional food and drink

From supporting immunity, gut, brain health to energy and stress levels. ADM’s study revealed 50% of consumers prefer foods that naturally contain beneficial ingredients (like turmeric, Vitamin C, ginger, and spirulina), and that number will only go up as the market for nutrient-dense products continues to expand.

We like New York-based Coast’s natural detoxification shots, perfect for flushing out toxins, replenishing lost nutrients and repairing cells, or LA brand Kindroot’s Adaptogems, which are candy supplements made out of adaptogenic plants and aromatic flavours that help with everything from focus to a good night’s sleep.


7. Carbon-neutral snacks/foods will gain a loyal following

Demand for carbon-neutral food and drinks products is only likely to grow, as climate change moves further up the agenda of consumers and corporations alike. What was once a niche sector is gradually becoming part of the mainstream.

London brand Nibs etc makes sustainable snacks from food which would otherwise have been wasted, Rubies In The Rubble makes exceptional condiments from rescued produce, and Boston-based Impact Snacks has created 100% plant-based superfood snack bars which reclaim more carbon than they make and produce no plastic, enabling consumers to reduce their carbon footprint through their snack choice.


8. Frozen food disruption

Healthier, more nutritious, better branded. While frozen food has always been convenient, the big incumbent players have not catered to modern consumer desires for nutritious, flavourful meals.

❄️ There’s plenty of space in the market for startups to disrupt the status quo by focusing on the health, taste and ease their products bring. We took a look at why frozen could be the new fresh on FoodHack+ in November and we think this category will only continue to grow in the coming years. See companies like One Planet Pizza, All Plants, Daily Harvest,  even Nestle is getting in on the action with their frozen meals and snacks by Life Cuisine. 


9. Fermentation tech

David Bucca of Change Foods reminded us: “Fermentation foods and tech” will be one to watch this year. If the growth of the r/fermentation subreddit is any indicator - it's doubled in size last year surpassing 100k+ subscribers - we'd say David is onto something.

Fermentation tech is being used for everything from cultivating molecularly identical dairy products to harnessing the true aroma of truffles in a delicious oil, like this one from Swiss brand NBROSIA.


10. Rise in food as medicine products/services

Mighty Gum’s immunity gums are made with adaptogens, botanicals and vitamins that support the body’s natural ability to protect itself. Sweden-based Shewy has developed sugar-free gums infused with vitamins and ingredients to boost the immune system, energy and performance. New York brand Moment has created natural botanical beverages which let you ‘drink your meditation’, and LA Cold Press has a range of herbal tonics, health elixirs and superfood potions designed to support the immune system, brain health and mood enhancement.


11. Sustainable packaging choices (could) be the deciding factor for consumers

Plant-based meat company No Evil Foods became the world’s first plastic-negative vegan meat brand in November, which means that for every pound of plastic it generates from their packaging materials, it will fund the recovery and recycling of two pounds of plastic waste.

🥤Companies like Ecovative are working on compostable mycelium packaging, and many leading manufacturers – including Nestlé and Unilever – have made public commitments to develop more sustainable packaging - see Loop Industries, a leading technology company, which has partnered with PepsiCo and Danone to introduce more sustainable PET solutions across their supply chains. 


12. Non-alcoholic booze continues to grow in popularity

🍻 Concerned about the health risks of alcohol consumption, millennials are driving the $4.2 trillion global wellness market. Their preference for natural, low-sugar products has shaped innovation in cereals and sauces over the last few years - and this trend has now leaked over into beverages. Campaigns like Dry January have helped to redefine existing drinkers’ relationship with the hard stuff.

But consumers – especially millennials - remain hungry for experiences. They still want to hang out in cool bars and dance until the early hours. They want drinks that taste – and look - good. They’re just choosing to ditch the hangover. So there’s a huge opportunity for brands and venues that successfully play to the needs of the sober curious. Step in non-alcoholic versions of your favourite tipple, such as this booze-free gin by Berlin-based Laori, London brand Fungtn’s adaptogenic alcohol-free beer or Joybrau's non-alcoholic functional beers.

13. Cloud kitchens, everywhere. Big and small

There’s money pouring into these as consumers seek at-home delivery due to pandemic-related restrictions on eating out: Crave Hospitality Group raised $7.3M seed funding in December to ‘build pre-opening teams’ for its next four planned locations of its ghost kitchen/virtual restaurant facility; restaurant operation tech company Ordermark landed $120M series C funding in October to help more restaurants transition to online ordering, alongside the expansion of its own network of delivery-only brands, Nextbite, which its CEO calls a ‘decentralised ghost kitchen’; newly renamed Latin American cloud restaurant RobinFood secured $16M in debt funding in October to add to its $15M series B funding round from October 2019; Chipotle revealed its Digital Kitchen, a pickup and delivery-only restaurant, which launched in Highland Falls, New York in November. 


14. Convenience triumphs

Meal-kits, ordering in, ready-to-eat will continue to dominate as we stay in through lockdowns. Many business that successfully operated an e-comm or D2C model have seen business boom in 2020, and now consumers can't kick their convenience fix.. Expect new innovations in the convenience category, like Philadelphia-based Dineable’s concept: it’s coordinated catering for virtual events, so whether you’re holding a Facetime dinner party for four or a Zoom conference for 200, everyone can share the same food and connect over a meal.


15. Celebrities will get in on food

Whether launching their own brands, virtual restaurants or just backing their favourite companies. Last year we saw YouTubers and influencers launching celebrity-endorsed cloud kitchens, and tonnes of celebs are getting in on the plant-based action by founding companies, for health, wealth, and all kinds of other reasons.


Of course, we don’t have a crystal ball, but we feel pretty good about these predictions. Feel free to get in touch to let us know your thoughts or if we missed any, we’d be glad to add some more!


What would the new year be without a healthy dose of new predictions? We asked our team, and the wider FoodHack community to share with us their food & foodtech predictions for 2021, ranging from a rise of mushrooms to a continuation of convenience. 


1. More plant based everything

We’re especially bullish on dairy eggs & seafood this year. The options will continue to get tastier, healthier, and more price competitive to their non-plant counterparts.

🧀 For cheese lovers, see Grounded's range of cheese free cheese, Loca's mouth watering potato-based nacho sauce or Willicroft's This is not Parmesan, made from cashews through age old cheese-making techniques.

🍤 In seafood, checkout US-based Plant Based Sea Food Co who have a background in the traditional seafood industry, but are now using their knowledge to create deceivingly real plant-based alternatives, while Turkish brand Hyggefisk Caviar is making plant-based caviar from hemp-based protein.

🍳For your brunch needs, India’s Evo Foods announced its first liquid egg alternative in October last year, and has plans for global expansion.

🥛We’d also expect to see more varied proteins used for plant-based milks, like US brand Patch Organicspumpkin seed milk, and from almonds and peas to hemp and bananas, someone’s milked it.


2. Improved personalised heath tracking and personalised nutrition solutions.

📈 The market for personalized nutrition is forecast to reach 11.5 billion by 2025 and last year alone, microbiome startups received a record $1.25bn in VC and PE funding.

At-home D2C microbiome testing is getting easier and more widely accessible and a number of companies, including Habit, Mixfit and Baze, have been developing their offers over the last five years to help consumers get personalised nutrition solutions at home.

Companies like Tel Aviv-based personalised nutrition startup myAir developed a range of plant-based nutrition bars it launched in October which it claims can reduce stress. Consumers complete an online questionnaire and myAir’s algorithm uses those answers plus smart watch data to design a personalised subscription program of nutrition bars to tackle health issues and stress levels. I think we could all use some of that right now.


3. Mushroom/Mycelium everything

Food, packaging, apparel, you name it. From mushroom bacon and seafood to savoury snacks, like jerky and crisps.

🍄 From Atlast Food Co. who are developing structural ingredients for plant-based, whole cut meat products, to Meati's chunky chicken-like pieces or whatever this is from the team at Noma. The global fungi industry is forecast to exceed $86B by 2025, up from $53.7B in 2019 and the trend has already garnered 130k+ subreddit subscribers. Celebs are even getting in on the shrooms, backing Mycoworks who raised $45M series B funding in November to scale up production of its mycelium-based animal-free leather. In food, others to watch include Mycotechnology, a six-year-old Aurora, CO based startup with $82.6mm in funding and Prime Roots, using the Japanese fungus koji to make bacon strips, turkey and meaty-tasting meals.


4. Tech-enabled transparency

According to food trend specialist Innova Market Insights, transparency will be the number one food trend in the coming year, with six in 10 consumers interested in knowing where their food comes from. In 2021, consumers will demand more than ever to see packaging and labels that show the full product life cycle. Locally-sourced products? Cleaner ingredients? Natural alternatives? As much information as companies have, consumers want.

Brans utilising solutions with invisible barcodes, QR codes, near-field communication technology, and pairing these with creative, meaningful storytelling are likely to be more successful when it comes to appealing to the wider consumer market.


5. Algae's breakout year

One person added “2021 is the year of the Seaweed revolution! mark my words. The revolution was just postponed”, and we’re inclined to agree.

🌿 Seaweed, which requires no fresh water, no fertilizer and no arable land, is one of the world’s most sustainable and nutritious crops. It absorbs dissolved nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon dioxide directly from the sea, meaning its carbon footprint is negative. Irish brand Plantruption is making super-nutritious and delicious plant-based burgers from seaweed, with the added benefit of packaging which dissolves in the ocean in 12-14 weeks, and Amsterdam-based WaterFUL has developed a beverage brewed with microalgae, a rich and sustainable source of daily natural protein, antioxidants and immune boosting properties.


6. Functional food and drink

From supporting immunity, gut, brain health to energy and stress levels. ADM’s study revealed 50% of consumers prefer foods that naturally contain beneficial ingredients (like turmeric, Vitamin C, ginger, and spirulina), and that number will only go up as the market for nutrient-dense products continues to expand.

We like New York-based Coast’s natural detoxification shots, perfect for flushing out toxins, replenishing lost nutrients and repairing cells, or LA brand Kindroot’s Adaptogems, which are candy supplements made out of adaptogenic plants and aromatic flavours that help with everything from focus to a good night’s sleep.


7. Carbon-neutral snacks/foods will gain a loyal following

Demand for carbon-neutral food and drinks products is only likely to grow, as climate change moves further up the agenda of consumers and corporations alike. What was once a niche sector is gradually becoming part of the mainstream.

London brand Nibs etc makes sustainable snacks from food which would otherwise have been wasted, Rubies In The Rubble makes exceptional condiments from rescued produce, and Boston-based Impact Snacks has created 100% plant-based superfood snack bars which reclaim more carbon than they make and produce no plastic, enabling consumers to reduce their carbon footprint through their snack choice.


8. Frozen food disruption

Healthier, more nutritious, better branded. While frozen food has always been convenient, the big incumbent players have not catered to modern consumer desires for nutritious, flavourful meals.

❄️ There’s plenty of space in the market for startups to disrupt the status quo by focusing on the health, taste and ease their products bring. We took a look at why frozen could be the new fresh on FoodHack+ in November and we think this category will only continue to grow in the coming years. See companies like One Planet Pizza, All Plants, Daily Harvest,  even Nestle is getting in on the action with their frozen meals and snacks by Life Cuisine. 


9. Fermentation tech

David Bucca of Change Foods reminded us: “Fermentation foods and tech” will be one to watch this year. If the growth of the r/fermentation subreddit is any indicator - it's doubled in size last year surpassing 100k+ subscribers - we'd say David is onto something.

Fermentation tech is being used for everything from cultivating molecularly identical dairy products to harnessing the true aroma of truffles in a delicious oil, like this one from Swiss brand NBROSIA.


10. Rise in food as medicine products/services

Mighty Gum’s immunity gums are made with adaptogens, botanicals and vitamins that support the body’s natural ability to protect itself. Sweden-based Shewy has developed sugar-free gums infused with vitamins and ingredients to boost the immune system, energy and performance. New York brand Moment has created natural botanical beverages which let you ‘drink your meditation’, and LA Cold Press has a range of herbal tonics, health elixirs and superfood potions designed to support the immune system, brain health and mood enhancement.


11. Sustainable packaging choices (could) be the deciding factor for consumers

Plant-based meat company No Evil Foods became the world’s first plastic-negative vegan meat brand in November, which means that for every pound of plastic it generates from their packaging materials, it will fund the recovery and recycling of two pounds of plastic waste.

🥤Companies like Ecovative are working on compostable mycelium packaging, and many leading manufacturers – including Nestlé and Unilever – have made public commitments to develop more sustainable packaging - see Loop Industries, a leading technology company, which has partnered with PepsiCo and Danone to introduce more sustainable PET solutions across their supply chains. 


12. Non-alcoholic booze continues to grow in popularity

🍻 Concerned about the health risks of alcohol consumption, millennials are driving the $4.2 trillion global wellness market. Their preference for natural, low-sugar products has shaped innovation in cereals and sauces over the last few years - and this trend has now leaked over into beverages. Campaigns like Dry January have helped to redefine existing drinkers’ relationship with the hard stuff.

But consumers – especially millennials - remain hungry for experiences. They still want to hang out in cool bars and dance until the early hours. They want drinks that taste – and look - good. They’re just choosing to ditch the hangover. So there’s a huge opportunity for brands and venues that successfully play to the needs of the sober curious. Step in non-alcoholic versions of your favourite tipple, such as this booze-free gin by Berlin-based Laori, London brand Fungtn’s adaptogenic alcohol-free beer or Joybrau's non-alcoholic functional beers.

13. Cloud kitchens, everywhere. Big and small

There’s money pouring into these as consumers seek at-home delivery due to pandemic-related restrictions on eating out: Crave Hospitality Group raised $7.3M seed funding in December to ‘build pre-opening teams’ for its next four planned locations of its ghost kitchen/virtual restaurant facility; restaurant operation tech company Ordermark landed $120M series C funding in October to help more restaurants transition to online ordering, alongside the expansion of its own network of delivery-only brands, Nextbite, which its CEO calls a ‘decentralised ghost kitchen’; newly renamed Latin American cloud restaurant RobinFood secured $16M in debt funding in October to add to its $15M series B funding round from October 2019; Chipotle revealed its Digital Kitchen, a pickup and delivery-only restaurant, which launched in Highland Falls, New York in November. 


14. Convenience triumphs

Meal-kits, ordering in, ready-to-eat will continue to dominate as we stay in through lockdowns. Many business that successfully operated an e-comm or D2C model have seen business boom in 2020, and now consumers can't kick their convenience fix.. Expect new innovations in the convenience category, like Philadelphia-based Dineable’s concept: it’s coordinated catering for virtual events, so whether you’re holding a Facetime dinner party for four or a Zoom conference for 200, everyone can share the same food and connect over a meal.


15. Celebrities will get in on food

Whether launching their own brands, virtual restaurants or just backing their favourite companies. Last year we saw YouTubers and influencers launching celebrity-endorsed cloud kitchens, and tonnes of celebs are getting in on the plant-based action by founding companies, for health, wealth, and all kinds of other reasons.


Of course, we don’t have a crystal ball, but we feel pretty good about these predictions. Feel free to get in touch to let us know your thoughts or if we missed any, we’d be glad to add some more!