IFIC’s 2021 Food Trends

The Lempert Report
January 11, 2021

Besides our own Lempert Report Trend Forecast each year – I always look forward to those forecasts from the International Food Information Council.

According to their September and Year End Forecasts here’s what the food industry has to look forward to.

Joseph Clayton, IFIC’s chief executive officer said, “Drawing on IFIC’s expertise in nutrition, food safety, and consumer attitudes and behaviors, we believe the pandemic will continue to be the dominant force behind a wide array of food trends in the coming year.”

IFIC surveys in the past have shown little change in consumers’ biggest concerns about food safety, with foodborne illness from bacteria topping the list almost every year. That changed dramatically in 2020, when the risk to food handling and preparation related to COVID-19 was ranked the top food safety concern by more Americans than any other issue (24%), outpacing foodborne illness from bacteria (20%).  

September 2020 IFIC survey revealed that about half (49%) of Americans were concerned about the safety of food prepared at home. The same survey showed that coronavirus exposure and food contamination remain among the most common food safety worries. More recently, 39% of respondents in the 2020 Year-End Survey said the risk of COVID-19 when shopping for food or dining out was their top food-related concern.

In 2021, IFIC predicts that this trend will be reflected in technologies and innovations to make greater use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to meet customer needs and expectations around food safety.

According to IFIC’s 2020 Year-End Survey, when American shoppers  were asked how their cooking habits had changed over the past year, 36% reported cooking more simple foods, ranking ahead of trying new recipes (30%) or new cooking techniques (19%). At a more concerning level, nearly three in 10 (28%) said they are worried about being able to afford food for their household in 2021.

In the new year, we can expect to see simpler, more “semi-homemade” meals that incorporate affordable options like canned or frozen foods, along with convenient staples such as rice and pasta that can be quickly assembled for a well-balanced and budget-conscious meal.

For more survey findings visit https://ific.org/.