Focus will be on foods that boost mental well-being. Avocado, which is said to improve brain function, is one such example
Focus will be on foods that boost mental well-being. Avocado, which is said to improve brain function, is one such example

COVID-19 has changed everything, including the way we eat, process and source food. Naturally then as we ease into 2021, it is time to crystal gaze at the food trends for the new year.

Mental health ingredients

With an intense 2020 behind us, we begin to look ahead with optimism of putting the past behind. “Looking at 2021, we see food trends that promote mental health to fight depression, anxiety, memory loss and lack of concentration. Salmon contains high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids which have been linked to a reduction of mental disorders including depression. Filled with vitamin K, folate and lutein, avocado improves brain function, boosts memory and concentration. The active cultures in yogurt have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. In addition to probiotics, yogurt contains magnesium and potassium which helps oxygen travel to the brain faster and improves cognitive function. Dark Chocolate has high levels of flavonoids (an antioxidant) is shown to boost attention and memory and enhance your mood,” says Mariko Amekodommo, an international culinary expert.

Upcycled food

There will be an increased emphasis on food safety in terms of hygienic cooking processes and the kind of food that is consumed. While it is common to assume that salads are very safe, it might not be necessary since the water is also unsafe. “Hence, it would be highly advisable for people to consume cooked/ boiled food rather than uncooked/ raw food. Health will largely overrule taste as consumers are gradually realising that tasty food cooked under compromised conditions is extremely damaging to their health and can create problems beyond the joy of eating delicious food. We are also expecting an inclination towards vegetarianism given the concerns around consumption of chicken, the most widely consumed non-vegetarian food item in India,” says Sanjay Kumar, CEO & MD, Elior India.

Immunity-boosting food

People are consciously choosing to workout at home, meditating, exercising and are in turn choosing the right food, which will boost immunity. Renu Dalal, daughter of legendary chef Tarla Dalal and cookbook author says, “I always suggest the use of natural resources and choosing correct ingredients for meals. Veggies such as spinach, garlic, broccoli, avocado, turmeric, citrus fruits that have vitamin C are recommended to be consumed. A variety of delicious food dishes can be made from these healthy veggies.”

A healthy protein bowl
A healthy protein bowl
Pic courtesy: Elior India

Home-cooked food

Ever since the pandemic, people have started focusing more on health which has led them to switch from outside food to simple, nutritious and delicious home-cooked food. “2021 will witness a trend of home-cooked food or seeking outside meals that are cooked in a more satvik way. Fresh and seasonal local ingredients culminating into nutritious and tasty meals. While one prepares for their own meals, a natural shift to unconventional Indian food or Modern Indian food is expected,” says Chef Hemwant Rautela, Executive Sous Chef, Viveda Wellness Retreat.

Pre-prepped meal kits

Pre-prepped meal kits have picked up pace in the global market and are giving home chefs a real opportunity to further their culinary skills. “With COVID-19 changing a lot of eating habits and flashing concerns on health, hygiene, and increasing the number of social media trends, as well as quantum of home cooking, meal kits is a no-brainer for the same people to continue exploring their skills and put out restaurant style yet home-cooked meals even after they get back to their regular work schedules,” says Sarrah Kapasi, Founder and CEO at D-Alive Health Pvt. Ltd.

Mock meats

The growing consciousness of mindful consumption and healthy intake has prompted a change in the F&B landscape of the country in the last few years. “While ‘conscious eating’ and ‘sustainable food industry’ are still in their nascent stages, mock meat or plant-based meat has taken the forefront to become the new buzz word. As the demand for mock meat is ascending, it will only quadruple in the coming years. The alternate meat option will serve as a healthy choice to many and a fun new option for vegetarian consumers and people who have adapted veganism,” says Sairaj Dhond, Founder & CEO of Wakao Foods.

Mock meats are made from soya protein, wheat gluten or vegetable substitutes like jackfruit.
Mock meats are made from soya protein, wheat gluten or vegetable substitutes like jackfruit.

Return of the forgotten grain

Millet is making a comeback to plates. The grain is gaining popularity because its gluten-free, is high in protein, calcium and fibre, and contains antioxidants. Millet is also considered an ideal grain for diabetics.

And, to make them appealing to the younger generation, they are also getting a contemporary twist. Mahesh Basavanna, Founder & Director, KIRU by OrgTree says, “We wanted to bring back a grain that was once the staple food of our forefathers, which was soon forgotten, due to the popularity of wheat and rice. Our aim is to re-introduce millet in a fun and engaging way to not just the youth of today but consumers of all age groups as millet is rich in fibre, minerals and are naturally gluten-free. This perennial, drought-resistant grain needed a new twist.”

Fanciful desserts

The year 2021 will see a return of fanciful desserts. It is all about enjoying the luxury of pampering yourself with dessert that’s not just sinful and tastes great, but one that looks fabulous too.

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