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6. November 2020
CBD Food & Beverage Lifestyle News Trends & Insight

CBD Trends: Ingredient Trends for 2021 – CBD Remains a Hot Topic

The Specialty Food Association (SFA) Trendspotter Panel has released their top ingredient trends for 2021 and once again CBD is high on everyone’s list.

In a year of upheaval and unknowns, replicating restaurant and travel experience in the home kitchen; values-based shopping; and functional ingredients to support and maintain health top the list of 2021 trend predictions.

With the continuing coronavirus pandemic keeping record numbers of people close to home, growing social awareness affecting purchasing decisions, and a maturing Gen Z population, the growth of the $158.4 billion specialty food category is positioned to fill consumers’ needs.

Ingredient Trends for 2021 – CBD Remains a Hot Topic

COVID-19 has a massive impact on trend predictions heading into 2021, as consumers cook and eat at home more, turning to everyday meals and special treats to comfort and support their mental and physical well-being,” says Denise Purcell, director of content for the Specialty Food Association. “We’re seeing several trends around experimenting with flavors and ingredients, as well as turning to functional or plant-based foods and twists on classic products to avoid menu fatigue.”

The pandemic has put health concerns front and centre and consumers will seek functional ingredients and benefits in their foods and beverages. Products that boost immunity and manage stress will be particularly in demand.

CBD is huge – and deserves its own category!” says Andrew Freeman, founder of af&co./co-founder of Carbonate, and Leith Steel, account strategist and trendwatcher, Carbonate.

For companies, and brands, looking to capitalise on the the continuing demand for CBD as a functional ingredient in both food and beverage products, a number of the trends identified by the Trendspotter Panel will be of interest:

Eating and Cooking at Home

The reality of at-home meal preparation and consumption will stay with us in 2021 but has also brought about several sub-trends. “At-home eating will be the name of the game in 2021,” says Melanie Zanoza Bartelme, global food analyst at Mintel and member of the Trendspotter Panel. “We will see consumers looking to brighten and enliven the monotony of preparing so many meals in a row.”

Values-Based Buying

Consumers are becoming more conscious shoppers when choosing which brands to support with their food dollars. They are seeking out companies owned by women, Black people, people of color, B Corps, sustainability-focused brands, and those with ethical labor practices. “For me, 2020 highlighted topics amongst all brands: cultural appropriation, community impact, ethical practices. More than ever, brands are focused on these three categories and trying to align their messaging with this,” says Chef Tu David Phu, a Trendspotter Panel member. “Movements like #metoo and #blacklivesmatter have empowered consumers to voice their opinions on what they expect from their favorite brands. This pivot/shift is mainly due to Generation Z coming into the consumer marketplace as adults. Food brands need to shift now as this new demographic is taking over the marketplace.”

Plant-Based Continuing Revolution

More a movement than a trend, plant-based earns a spot on this year’s list for its burgeoning growth during COVID-19 and for new formats that continue to transform the food and beverage market. During surge shopping in the spring, plant-based enjoyed a boost in most categories, especially milk and other dairy and meat alternatives. According to the SFA State of the Specialty Food Industry report, 2020-2021 Edition, the segment has huge runway for growth, increasing 10-20 percent annually through 2024.

A number of companies are experimenting with plant-based hemp-derived alternatives to animal products, and it is likely that 2021 will see this trend grow accordingly.

The Specialty Food Association is the leading advocate for the $158.4 billion specialty food industry. Representing makers, importers, entrepreneurs, retailers, distributors, and others in the trade, the SFA aims to champion, nurture and connect its members to deliver traditional and innovative new products to consumers that expand consumption of specialty foods.

Author: Matthew Driver, Senior Analyst

Market Analysis | Insight & Trends