Mental and emotional wellbeing solutions will be key drivers for food and drink companies in 2021. It will be important for brands to deliver on these values while finding new ways to help consumers celebrate their unique identities and connect with others. Mintel identified three emerging trends that support these claims.

Feed the Mind – The COVID-19 pandemic has had a lasting impact on our mental and emotional health. As we enter 2021, consumers will focus on ways to reduce stress and improve wellbeing. Functional formulations that target a healthy diet will play a bigger role in shopping carts as we move into the new year. “Brands will also highlight nutrient density, a key concept of intuitive eating that focuses on food with a high ratio of beneficial nutrients compared to the number of calories,” reports Mintel.

However, consumers will expect proof that these health claims are effective. This desire will provide an opportunity for tech companies to step in and validate various health formulations. According to Mintel, “Companies can share proof from health experts or results from scientific research. Consumers and public health entities will use technology to track, validate and incentivize healthy eating.”

Quality Redefined – As consumers emerge from COVID-19 they will be faced with a busy schedule. After the uncertainty of 2020, it will be vital for brands to offer high-value food options that are focused on convenience and quality. Consumers will not only be interested in saving time at home with shorter meal prep times, they will want to do so with healthy ingredients, smart sustainability practices, and budget friendly price tags. “The focus on getting the best value for one’s money will motivate brands to be more transparent about product price by providing details about the ingredients, processes and people that are reflected in a product’s price,” states Mintel.

United by Food – Connection and support will be top-of-mind for consumers as they transition into 2021. Food and drink brands have a unique opportunity to bring individuals and communities together and help consumers return to their pre-pandemic lifestyles. Brands that promote consumer creativity and interactive ways for consumers to share their passions, recipes, and ideas with one another will have increased success. Interactive social commerce will be one of the new ways to replicate the in-person shopping experience and allow consumers to share and interact with friends as they shop; think apps designed to share CPG deals, recipe lists, etc.