Godrej Food Trends Report 2021 tracks the biggest developments in the Indian food industry

The latest edition of the Godrej Food Trends Report is out. An annual exercise, this report provides a comprehensive analysis of the Indian food industry as it evolves. Inputs are provided by a variety of industry professionals including chefs, food writers, restaurateurs, and thought leaders on the trends they foresee for the coming year. Of course, this year’s report comes at an exceptional time, and also sees its scope extended through collaboration with smaller markets and inclusion of new voices.

Among the more than 200 experts who contributed their thoughts and observations, there was widespread resonance on the fact that most trends that were observed arising across the last year are only going to be amplified in 2021.

Here’s a look at some of the trends that were highlighted in the Godrej Food Trends Report 2021.

Himalayan cuisine edited
The home kitchen is going to remain in sharp focus in 2021. But safe alternatives such as trusted home chef kitchens, DIY meal kits and recipe boxes and delivery from trusted restaurants or cloud kitchens will also grow.

Dining in

With WFH becoming the new norm, the home kitchen has come into sharp focus. This trend is only likely to continue as the demand for safe, nutritious and home-cooked food rises. However, not everyone will be able to dedicate as much time to preparing meals and alternatives have already become popular. Food delivery from trusted home chef kitchens, DIY meal kits and recipe boxes and delivery from restaurants or cloud kitchens are likely to see strongest demand, according to the experts.

With respect to cuisine, the panel sees people explore family, community and regional cuisine along with some experimentation with food from both other parts of the country and the world. Studies, classes and workshops are also likely to fuel food exploration.

Naturally, with health and wellness high on the priority list, there is growing awareness about ingredients. The forecast in this regard is deeper exploration of indigenous Indian ingredients, including superfoods and regional produce. This focus is expected to extend to use of cooking mediums such as cold pressed unrefined oils, gourmet ghee varieties as well as coconut oils.

Drinking out food trends 2021
Innovations and hygiene measures by restaurants are likely to see a rise in private groups dining out in 2021.

Eating out

Although dining out is expected to recover, given the prevailing conditions, it is likely to happen at a slower than usual pace. But happen it will, given the human need for social interaction and experience, in tandem with improved safety standards and innovative measures by the industry. Cuisine exploration, owing to logistical challenges brought on by the pandemic, is likely to be more centred around Indian food. However, local production of global ingredients is also allowing for creative addressal of requirements.

Among the cuisines expected to be in focus, Southeast Asian ranks high among the international options while an increased focus on our own backyard is also likely to see mountain cuisines of India and micro-cuisines of northeast India get a lot of attention.

With business affected, restaurant menus are expected to be redesigned accordingly, with focus on culinary heritage or home-style cooking, along with immunity boosting ingredients and foods that have a story associated with them, for bragging rights on social media.

Of course, given the restaurant industry’s integral value of staying abreast trends, there are already new and unique restaurant concepts that have cropped up. In 2021, the experts see a rise in affordable gourmet food experiences delivered home, regional cuisine-based menus and a further strengthening of the cloud kitchen segment.

Another function of logistical complexities arising from the pandemic, is the interest generated in indigenous ingredients. Local produce, whether from artisanal brands, or wellness-focused ones, are expected to find many more takers this year.

Regional ingredients
Local produce is expected to substitute global ingredients in international cuisine, allowing for greater experimentation with food this year.

Aside from the aforementioned trends in dining in and out, the panel also predicted patterns in the beverages, desserts, health and lifestyle, and kitchen design segments – from Indian-made spirits and other beverages, innovative packaging for home delivery of beverages, and DIY cocktail mixes, to healthy desserts, home baking and gourmet mithai.

The Godrej Food Trends Report 2021 is extremely comprehensive, and provides invaluable insight into India’s food industry at a time when it isn’t just facing extraordinary circumstances but also, consequently, undergoing a revolutionary transformation.

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