Vegan fish and gourmet cheeses top Whole Foods’s 2021 plant-based trends

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In its first-ever plant-based trend predictions, Whole Foods Market said vegan banana blossom fish and artisan plant-based cheese will go big in 2021.

Vegan fish made from banana blossom and legumes, gourmet black truffle and dill Havarti cheeses and cashew-based dips will be the biggest plant-based trends of 2021, according to Whole Foods Market’s new predictions.

Releasing the Plant Based Trends 2021, its first predictions for vegan products, Whole Foods’s Trends Council collected industry members’ knowledge, product-sourcing expertise and firsthand work with plant-forward companies to come up with the trends.

Parker Brody, senior global category merchant for plant-based at Whole Foods, said plant-based is the category to watch in the grocery sector right now: “Brands continue to innovate by using new ingredients and processes that make plant-based products exciting for shoppers.”

He added: “In the laid-back days of summer, we find that customers are breaking out of their routines and are more open to trying something new, whether they’re longtime vegans or just starting to experiment with plant-based eating. So, expect to see gourmet plant-based cheese alternative spreads at picnics and fish alternatives made from banana blossoms on the grill this season.”

The first of the five predicted vegan trends is gourmet cheese. The retailer explains that while nut milk-based cheeses with flavours like black garlic truffle, dill Havarti and chive are unique, vegan cheesemakers are replicating methods used with traditional dairy cheeses to achieve more authentic flavours and textures.

Vegan seafood is already touted to be the next big plant-based trend, and Whole Foods’s prediction is in line with that. The alternative seafood market raised more than $80 million in invested capital in 2020, which is four times higher than the previous year. The grocer’s trends report predicts that legumes and banana blossom are ingredients that will take the vegan fish industry forward with products like fish sticks, tuna sandwiches and scallops.

Barbecue will go past corn ribs and vegan burgers, with plant-based hot dogs, Italian-style sausages and BBQ jackfruit all garnering interest. Ingreidnets like algae-based casing and hickory smoke concentrate make these alternatives unique and a favourite for both vegans and meat-eaters alike.

Vegan kids food is also on the rise. Plant-forward options to provide optimum nutrition for children are becoming more widely available in the form of nuggets, yoghurt tubes and ice pops.

Finally, Whole Foods predicts that dairy-free dips will be another market-leading plant-based trend in 2021. These include dips and cream-cheese alternatives highlighting traditional dairy-associated flavours like French onion, ranch and queso.

Anay Mridul
Anay Mridul
Anay is journalism graduate from City, University of London, he was a barista for three years, and never shuts up about coffee. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford Comma. Originally from India, he went vegan in 2020, after attempting (and failing) Veganuary. He believes being environmentally conscious is a basic responsibility, and veganism is the best thing you can do to battle climate change. He gets lost at Whole Foods sometimes.