The trends - curated by Kroger’s culinary experiences team and its private label product developers, chefs and innovators – include:
1. Futureproof Foods: "As futureproofing and biohacking trends continue to accelerate in 2021, shoppers can expect to see more foods with added benefits to support immune health, gut and brain health, energy levels and stress management."
2. Seeking Comfort: "Easy-to-prepare comfort foods are on the rise as consumers look to balance convenience and quick preparation times with flavorful meal options. To help cope with the added stress many faced in 2020, consumers are also increasingly turning to home baking as a mood booster and mental escape."
3. Ketotarian Foods: The 'ketotarian' diet is a plant-based spin on traditional keto (high fat, moderate protein, ultra low carb) guidelines, says Kroger. "Consumers can expect to find a growing selection of these plant-based, high-protein foods on grocery shelves in the year ahead."
4. Global Flavors and Restaurant Favorites Hit Home: According to 84.51°, Kroger's data and analytics subsidiary, more than 60% of Kroger shoppers are spending more time cooking at home, says the retailer. "This trend will only accelerate in 2021, as consumers spice up their weekly routines by experimenting with global flavors and recipes that recreate their favorite travel experiences or restaurant meals at home."
5. Mushroom Mania: 2021 will be a "breakout year for mushrooms," predicts Kroger. "The versatile vegetable is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and can easily elevate everyday recipes with its warm umami flavor. Consumers should expect to see mushrooms play a starring role in a variety of new products in 2021, including blended plant-based proteins, condiments, spices, seasonings and more."
6. For the Planet: "In the coming year, consumers will find a growing selection of eco-friendly products that reduce their carbon footprint, including plant-based and plant-blended meats, sustainably packaged products and more."
7. Fresh Innovation: "From no-cry onions to in-store hydroponic farms to plant-based coatings such as Apeel that extend the shelf life of produce, shoppers will see more innovative solutions launch in the coming year to help keep their favorite fruits and vegetables at the peak of freshness longer."
What were the hot trends of 2020?
Based on year-over-year sales growth across Kroger's business, including nearly 2,800 retail stores and pickup, delivery and ship, the trending foods and beverages of 2020 included:
- Zero-Calorie Soft Drinks
- Four-Cheese Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese
- Flavored Potato Chips (Hot & Spicy, Regional Flavors & Meal-Inspired Varieties)
- Sauvignon Blanc Wine
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Fresh Burger Patties
- Artisan Breads & Restaurant-Style Buns
- Bulk Individual Coffee Pods
- Party-Size Bags of Variety Chocolate
- Black Forest Ham
"The most-popular foods and beverages of 2020 underscore how our customers not only adapted to the challenges of this unique year but embraced cooking and eating at home as part of their new routine," said Stuart Aitken, Kroger's chief merchant.
"As many of our customers transitioned to working from home and virtual schoolrooms this year, coffee, fresh deli meat and artisan bread emerged as go-to staples for elevated breakfast and lunch routines, while zero-calorie soft drinks, unique potato chip flavors, wine and chocolate stood out as comfort-food favorites. Fresh ground beef, premium buns and shredded cheese also rose in popularity as our customers recreated their favorite restaurant-style burgers at home."