The Fresh Market's top 10 specialty food trends to watch in 2021

Diversity, decadent snacks and plant-powered dairy are a few trends that will dominate in 2021, according to the specialty retailer.

December 9, 2020

6 Min Read
the fresh market 2021 food trends
The Fresh Market

The past year has certainly impacted the way we eat, with mandatory quarantines necessitating cooking from home more than ever before. This has also given rise to people becoming more confident in the kitchen and the desire to try new cuisines or put new twists on traditional favorites.

For those who may be weary of their pasta-filled pantry and are looking to try something new in 2021, The Fresh Market asked its curators to pick their top 10 innovative, delicious, must-try specialty foods based on the latest trends.

1. Easy meals for second-wind cooking.

Juggling working from home, virtual schooling and getting their families fed, offering busy families a way to put a restaurant quality meal on the table fast has led to the growth of The Fresh Market’s Market Meal Kits. The fully prepped kits serve two and are made fresh in-store with a protein, vegetable, starch and sauce, like Cherry Port Glazed Salmon with Fresh Brussels Sprouts and Rice Pilaf. Each kit can be whipped up in one pan and on the table in 20 minutes or less. New for 2021 are Market Meal Creations allowing guests to create their own meal kit by selecting their preferred components to mix-and-match.

Little Big Meals are more popular than ever, providing a great value for families of four and helping with weekday menu planning. The meal offerings change weekly and typically come with a main entrée, vegetables, a side dish or salad from the deli and dessert.

Also new for 2021 is a Little Big Meal Grain Bowls dinner where guests choose a protein (chicken or shrimp) and get a pouch of Kevin’s Paleo Keto Simmer Sauce to cook the protein in, along with a choice of edamame or chickpeas plus two pouches of Organic Seeds of Change Rice and a root medley veggie kit. The meal is offered for $20, which is a $15 savings versus buying these ingredients individually.

2. Conscious cuisine.

While being sustainably sourced or humanely raised is not a new trend, foods that are not only good for you but that give back too, are on the rise. Some examples of this trend to try are new Herban Fresh Soups that are hand crafted in Lowell, Massachusetts, and partners with Mill City Grows to support urban farming.

Endangered Species Oat Milk Chocolate Bars is a candy bar with a conscious because it is made with sustainably sourced oat milk, certified organic and vegan, with 10% of profits going to support wildlife conservation.

Yolele Fonio Pilaf is an ancient grain that is grown in small farming communities in Sahel Region of West Africa. The brand was founded by acclaimed Senegalese chef and cookbook author Pierre Thiam and is a great substitute for rice or couscous.

3. Getting to the root of inflammation.

Root vegetables like ginger and turmeric are culinary superheroes when it comes to fighting inflammation and boosting immunity. Whether you add them to your green juice, or use them in curries, stir-fries, soups or teas, this pair pack a powerful dose of antioxidants. 

4. Bubbles with benefits.

There is always lots of innovation happening in the beverage category. Here are two new ones to try that provide a new take on soda with an extra pop of benefits:

  • Booch Pop builds off the gut-health craze by blending Health Ade’s kombucha with belly-loving prebiotics, minerals, and real fruit. Available in Ginger Fizz, Lemon Lime, Pom Berry, Grape and Apple.

  • Olipop is making its east-coast debut at The Fresh Market. This better-for-you fizzy tonic combines plant fibers, prebiotics and botanicals that also support gut health. Available in Vintage Cola and Root Beer and Strawberry Vanilla.

5. Planting roots in dairy.

The dairy and freezer sections are making room for all of the plant-based innovation happening. Modern Pop’s is a mom-created line of lower sugar, nondairy, vegan ice cream bars that taste creamy and indulgent because they are made with avocados and come in classic flavors like Chocolate Oh Fudge, Cookies ‘n Cream and Mint Chip. Another brand going strong is Strong Roots, founded in Ireland with a strong sustainability mission. Products like Broccoli & Purple Carrot Bites is a colorful, flavorful and nutritious substitute for potato tots, and there is more innovation to come in 2021.

Another brand making its debut at The Fresh Market is Do Anything Foods’ line of veggie-packed sauces—available in Cauliflower Alfredo, Butternut Squash and Kale Pesto. Perfect over zoodles, pasta, eggs, or your favorite roasted vegetables.

6. Nut-novation.

Nuts are nature’s perfect snack—they are packed with protein, fiber, good-for-you fats and are heart healthy. The Fresh Market offers 35 different flavored nuts in the bulk section, with flavors like Everything Spice Cashews, Dark Coco Chili Almonds, Turmeric and Ginger Cashews, Buffalo Peanuts, Bourbon Pralines and Sea Salt & Apple Cider Vinegar Cashews. When it comes to nut innovation, the bolder, the better!

7. Bring on the heat.

Another hot trend is seasonings and spices. The Fresh Market has custom-made seasoning blends that not only add heat, but a whole new flavor dimension to meals. Nashville Hot Chicken starts out fiery but is tempered with some sweetness and a mustardy tang. It is great on chicken or pork, as well as roasted cauliflower. Other game changers are Chili Coffee rub, Korean Ginger Sesame, Citrus Mojo and Elote Mexican Street Corn Spice.

8. Uber-premium foods.

Travel bans that have put the kibosh on luxury travel has translated to guests splurging more on best-in-class foods. The Fresh Market is known for these highly curated items, like the No. 1 rated Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the world, Castillo de Canena, or getting in a highly allocated shipment of the World Cheese Awards champion Organic Rogue River Blue Cheese, to offering Ultimate Steakhouse Dinner Meals that include prime steaks, twice baked potatoes, asparagus, caprese salad and The Fresh Market’s signature fruit tart with one pound of fresh fruit.

9. Supporting diversity.

The Fresh Market has made a commitment to increase product offerings from black-owned companies. Some examples that are also on-trend include: Hella Bitter (all-natural bitters and soda), Partake (gluten and allergy-free cookies) and Pipcorn (better-for-you cheese balls and snack crackers made with heirloom corn).

10. Decadent snacking.

Inspired by their signature cake truffles, famed East Village NYC bakery Milk Bar is launching a line of refrigerated Truffle Crumb Cakes that are fudgy on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and come in a snack-size portion. Maddy & Maize small batch gourmet popcorn in flavors like Birthday Cake and seasonal offerings like Peppermint Fudge Sundae is another example of taking snacks up a notch. In frozen, Jeni’s ice cream continues to innovate for adult palettes with decadent flavors like Gooey Butter Cake, Sweet Cream Biscuits with Peach Jam or dairy-free Texas Sheet Cake.

Source: The Fresh Market

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