What do food & beverage marketers need to know in 2021?

2020 was the year we rekindled our relationships with food and drink – eating and drinking relieved boredom, cooking was escapism, and restaurant-standard takeaways were exciting experiences. So in 2021 which trends will stay and which food and beverage marketing ideas can businesses really get their teeth into?

Planting the seed for plant-based

With veganism becoming more mainstream over the last few years, 2020 put a focus on healthier diets in general. Consumers had time to experiment with food choices during lockdown and are still hungry for food that boosts both the body and mind, including new ingredients like moringa and algae. In the US, Packaged Facts estimated plant-based dairy and egg sales would register at about $4.3 billion, and would continue to grow at an annual rate of 6%.

Putting culinary tourism on the map

With holidays cancelled, many of us travelled the world through cookery. We cooked our favourite holiday dishes and got a taste for going on new flavour adventures. Food & Beverage Insider predicts that “Brands will experiment with Mediterranean flavors like blood orange, orange blossom, bergamot, figs and dates. There will also be continued growth of flavors from Latin America like guava, chamoy and mango chili lime and flavors from Asia like yuzu, calamansi, tamarind and cardamom.”

Restaurant-standard at home

In our pursuit of novelty, interest and a night off cooking, many of us turned to takeaways and CGA says “The wave of lockdowns over the last year has engrained delivery into the everyday habits of consumers”.

Food & Beverage Insider said that while many consumers will become “more cost-conscious because of economic uncertainty which will drive demand for value” this will be balanced with little luxuries such as “premium bar options like ready-to-drink cocktails that offer an experience akin to hand-crafted varieties”. The same is true for food. “Consumers are looking to trade up on their at-home experiences, to replicate what they would usually get on-premise, with high-quality delivered food allowing this” said CGA.  

Cutting in-store browsing time

Last year, the in-store grocery shopping experience changed. As well as looking for ingredients inspiration, consumers were conscious of safety so “To minimise time spent browsing in-store, consumers are making decisions quickly and purposefully… we expect to see a shift towards simple, bold confidence in packaging design – particularly for weekly staples” STB Graphic Design told The Grocer.

Putting British on the menu

Brexit is also shaping consumer habits in 2021. We’re increasingly buying British and Booths told The Grocer “Customers are already really paying attention to how products are grown, prepared, reared and sourced, so local, artisan, craft and British are big themes.”

The pandemic, Brexit, and consumer desire to sample new in their glasses and on their plates, all make 2021 a hugely exciting time for the local industry. UK businesses need to up their food and beverage marketing strategies now! If you need help, just get in touch

Innovation is the biggest trend

Food and beverage has never been an industry that sits on its laurels, but now more than ever, innovation is the plat de jour. Whether it’s thinking outside the veg box for new DIY cooking kits, stirring up new flavour combos, revving up drinks delivery, putting tech at the front of your ordering system, or making your mark with packaging, innovation is going to be your key to success in 2021 and beyond.

No matter what the industry, the companies that drive innovation are those that are equipped to manage the flow of creative ideas, that enable employees to share their ideas, and that invest in the best ideas to get them to market. In short, they have a culture of innovation and an effective strategy to manage it.

Our team at ThinkOTB know that it’s not something you can implement overnight. We have worked with leading brands – many in the food and drinks industry – to share the secrets of the innovation process, train teams and support the senior team in embedding the innovation mindset. We’ve turned excess production line capacity into ice cream toppings, we’ve found new ways to get yogurt onto target audiences’ tables and talked to freezer manufacturers to make pizzas more enticing.

You can find out more about how we approach innovation at ThinkOTB here, or speak to Jo on 0113 216 2820. She won’t sell to you; she’ll just ask the right questions to create food and beverage marketing campaigns that really work.

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