Food trends in 2021 for forward-thinking menus

Food trends in 2021 for forward-thinking menus

Jan 21, 2021

The hospitality and food service industry is constantly growing and changing. It’s crucial that chefs and venue owners meet the public’s shifting appetites to stay relevant and ahead of the competition.

Heading into 2021, getting on top of food trends and fine tuning your offering is more important than ever. After a year in and out of lockdowns that have severely impacted so many outstanding establishments, both customers and business owners are eager to get back to a normal dining experience. 

Our team of chefs and industry professionals outline the food trends that they’re expecting to grow in popularity throughout 2021.

1. Nostalgic dishes and comfort food

After a tough year, many of us are just craving those hearty meals that our ma or nonna used to make. Memories are powerful, and harnessing nostalgia is a smart choice in 2021 – even when it comes to the food that we serve. 

We also want to be taken back to a fonder time, when our palate was simpler and we indulged without thought for the consequences. 

Naturally, cheese shines in this trend. After all, who didn’t adore cheese as a child? Consider rich appetisers, like baked brie, or even a fettuccine main served inside a hollowed out wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano.


2. Meatless meals

With almost 15% of the population describing themselves as vegetarian and Australia becoming the third-fasting growing vegan market in the world, not having options on your menu in 2021 to cater to these dietary demands isn’t good business.

It’s no longer enough to simply have a meat-free option tucked away in the corner of your menu. You could be showcasing delicious vegetable-loaded meals that highlight your culinary diversity.

Aside from plant-based proteins, expect menus to prominently feature the humble mushroom – particularly variants with earthy and meaty flavour profiles, like porcini.


3. Delivery friendly menus

While restaurant-to-door delivery services have been incredibly popular for several years now, the industry is expected to grow in 2021 by over 12%. We’ve become very comfortable with ordering in from our favourite restaurants. Over four million Australians now use meal delivery services.

If you’re a food service venue that’s only paid lip service to this booming trend, it’s time to change that. We’re predicting that menus themselves will adapt to include more meals that retain their taste, texture and form over time and that won’t cause a mess during transit.

This could mean fewer fried items and cold desserts and more “home cooking” and street food-style food that also require less packaging – like bao buns and gnocchi.


4. Bar snacks

Social dining is back in 2021. This year will be all about in-venue experiences that are centred around conversation and food sharing. Restaurants will be taking cues from casual bar settings, offering more entrée-as-main options that encourage social interaction.

Any menu items that you can easily split or eat with your hands while holding conversation will be popular. Think woodfired pizza, arancini and dumplings. This ties in nicely with the growing demand for delivery, because most social food is also happy to travel!


5. Responsible food

For many customers in 2021, authentic dining is about more than just one facet of eco-friendliness or a “paddock-to-plate” mentality. We’re seeing a holistic focus on:

  • Local ingredients
  • Organic produce
  • Transparent sourcing
  • Sustainable farming
  • Minimising waste

Before they even order from your menu, your patrons want to know where their food comes from and to ensure that it was produced ethically – with the environment in mind.

Concerns over our impact on the planet are informing every choice that we make as consumers. If your business can commit to reducing your waste footprint and purchasing quality, trustworthy fine foods, you may discover a whole new customer base.

Looking to update your menu with ingredients to meet these changing consumer demands? Shop Visco’s wide selection of authentic fine foods.