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Top Food Trends for 2021

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Plant-based Eating


The biggest growing food trend is without a doubt plant-based eating. Vegans are rejoicing globally! Gone are the days when a vegetarian or vegan would go out to eat and be served a limp green salad or God-forbid another mushroom risotto! These days, the plethora of vegan and vegetarian choices are lush with vegans, vegetarians, pegans, flexitarians, pescatarians all spoiled for choice.

And it’s not just the vegans who are on-board, but the vast majority who are plant-curious or forward and just open to trying new things, and becoming more environmentally aware. A quick look at the shelves in your local supermarket will tell you that the 2020s trend toward food preferences is not diminished and in fact Australia is now the third-fastest growing market in the world for vegan food. Tied into this is the ongoing trend of buying locally grown produce, which has strengthened in 202i during Covid.

Consumers and venue owners are now more focused on #supportinglocal which is a message Impos have been very passionate about spreading throughout 2020/21 to support a hurting hospitality industry. The trend of embracing veganism and plant-based eating will continue to gain steam, fuelled by the undeniable influence of social media. People who are hungry for more on these matters can find plenty of information and inspiration on various digital platforms and find a tribe of others who share these same interests. This groundswell in online conversation and active interest in plant-based living has led to people being much savvier than ever before about what they eat.

Going Alcohol Free

Australia’s love of alcohol is well known. Still, it seems that this too is due for a change. 20 per cent of Deliveroo respondents in their Australians’ Eating Habits and Foodie Trends for 2021 said they planned to give non-alcoholic drinks a go.

Despite Australia’s often mentioned reliance on alcohol to get them through tough Covid times, this is another step forward from the 2020 trend of conscious drinking. We are now seeing non-alcoholic bars opening up, including Melbourne’s Brunswick Aces Botanical Distilleries. These guys promote moderation, not abstinence and breaking down the barriers of what it means to choose not to drink, without missing out on the taste experience.

They have Australia’s first non-alcoholic bar and bottle shop with over 100 non-alcoholic drinks on the bar menu to choose from including wine, beer and cocktails. While a lot of Australians maybe over-indulged throughout the harsh lockdowns, it has also allowed room for a lot of people to pause and reflect on their drinking habits, and now be more open to healthier non-alcoholic alternatives.

Deep Dive Tours into Australian Food

The idea of heading to one of Australia’s top food destinations for an indulgent getaway is nothing new. However, the latest trend is a longer, deep-dive drill down that takes you behind the scenes. Unless international borders open these holidays look set to be amongst the top 2021 Australian food trends.

Instead of exploring the tastes of Tuscany or wandering through Sicily with your mouth open, travellers are being enticed to explore homegrown delights. What is surprising many is how good they are.


ark/Ghost Kitchens and Temporary Pop-ups

Reduced seating and rolling lockdowns, mean restaurants recovering from the hard trading conditions of 2020 will have to find creative ways to unbundle and reframe the dining experience to ensure their existence.

Expect more off-premises kitchens, mobile pods, repurposed industrial sites and popups. Off-premises kitchens also are predicted to be part of restaurant business models going forward.

Conscious Consumption

The movement towards choosing your food carefully continues with nearly half of Deliveroo’s respondents opting for clean eating. A further 43 per cent opted for sustainable foods putting conscious consumption firmly amongst the top 2021 Australian food trends.

Clean eating means loading up on fruit and vegetables at the expense of processed foods. It’s whole grain, less meat, sugar and salt, all while considered the resources required to put food on the plate. Some call this ‘eating like a nana’ because it also involves growing your own and cooking from scratch.

Supporting local producers is a natural extension for conscious consumers because they finally know where their food is coming from. Whether they buy from farmers markets, food box delivery services, or their local greengrocer, one in five consumers plan to eat more locally produced and sourced dishes in the future.

Condiments and Comfort Food

Even the dullest meal can be livened up with the right condiment so expect so see more of these hitting the shelves. There will be modern twists on old favourites along with more preserving, pickling and fermenting.

The comfort food that brings warm memories of better times will be our touchstone for 2021 as we struggle to come to terms with the new world order. Comfort food done well is a salve to the soul and can also offer cost-effective dining. Restaurants will put elevated spins on old favourites while home cooks will seek to master everyday pleasure like the perfect scone.

That’s Not a Burger… THIS is a Burger

Burgers are old news and the resurgence of burgers joints is also nothing new. What’s new is the limitless add-ons and custom-made burgers; burgers bigger than your head – as well as incredible vegan and vegetarian burger options. It’s the ingredients that’s always evolving like with Impos venue His Boy Elroy in Wollongong, serving up humungous burgers like their Mrs Cackles with slow cooked pork belly, black garlic aioli, strips of crackling on a base of His Boy’s chikin-mu. Chips aren’t just a choice between chips and fries anymore, there’s the endless loaded fries options like His Boy’s cheeseburger loaded fried with chopped beef patty, fries, cheese, ketchup, mustard and diced onions.

Again, vegans and vegetarians no longer need to miss out on their burger fix with so many options like His Boy’s Flower Power Popcorn burger with bite-sized cauli soaked in coconut cream with a crispy fried layer. Beyond Meat patties are also a game-changer and used in many venues now, making it near impossible to tell the difference. Ziggy’s Eatery in Balaclava have become famous for their vegan and vegetarian burgers, like their vegan cheese-burger, or their halloumi burger with grilled haloumi and all the extras on a beetroot bun.