Drink Ripples

THE DEFINITIVE LIST OF 2021 FOOD & BEVERAGE TRENDS

We don’t know which is harder to believe: The fact that it’s been a year since the previous edition of this post was published or everything that has happened since then. Typically, annual trend lists struggle to find new and exciting shifts to discuss, but the past 12 months were so different from everything we’ve ever experienced that our main challenge was to focus on the most meaningful trends to help you prepare for the upcoming year.

Needless to say, the following list is heavily influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic that has turned our world and the Food and Beverage industry upside down. Social distancing regulations, supply chain changes, and accelerated digital transformations are responsible for many of the trends on our list. It’s safe to say that things are not the same.

On the move: F&B mobility

Indoor dining limitations, lockdowns, and quarantines made F&B providers realize they have to start moving to stay in business. In the past year, 92% of restaurants operated off-premise.

  • Food trucks: Food trucks, coffee trucks, and dedicated parks pop up like mushrooms after the rain. In Israel, the city of Haifa announced a special food truck initiative providing permits to local business owners. This is a safer way to serve customers that allows both mobile and stationary options.

What we can learn: Companies should learn how to extend their brand and create off-premise experiences.

Personal business: Personalized consumption experiences

Treating customers as individuals is always essential, but this year, personalization reached the next level.

What we can learn: Brands should offer a personal, customized experience for customers to participate in. Ripples’ Web App, which allows users to upload and print images on drinks is a good example.

Clean food: Health and wellness

No, we don’t mean the trending diet. This trend is all about the current critical focus on health, which is always important but is gaining momentum right now.

  • Caring for others: The crisis hurt some people’s income and nutrition on the one hand, and left farmers and retailers with unsold stock on the other. More than 20 initiatives connecting the two during the crisis try to save the day. Non-profits encourage food donations, deliveries to hospital staff, and support for F&B employees on unpaid leave.

What we can learn: F&B brands should offer customers an experience that puts their minds at ease and communicates messages of responsibility and care. They may use bev-top media to send customers encouraging messages and friendly reminders regarding social distancing.

Small world: The rise of small businesses

Whether it’s an act of solidarity or just the result of travel restrictions, local and small businesses are at the center.

What we can learn: F&B brands should find creative ways to build localized, unique, and original experiences.

Comfort food: F&B indulgence

They call it comfort food for a reason, and right now, we could all use some comfort.

What we can learn: F&B providers should develop original ideas to rise above the noise and offer a better product and experience in terms of taste, packaging, nutritional value, and more.

Food for thought: Final takeaways

  • More than food: From food trucks to contactless payments, the discussion revolves around the experiences surrounding F&B items.
  • Know who you are: Customers want to know who is behind F&B brands they interact with. They seek to communicate with the person or brand and form a dialogue.
  • Close enough: Brands have to find a way to communicate with audiences remotely and extend their brand beyond the physical premise.
  • Embracing change: Many of the points mentioned here are unique to this strange period. Some brands had to shift their entire messaging and operations during the pandemic. We realize the importance of adjustable branding tools.

Any exciting trends that didn’t make our list? Feel free to contact us and share your thoughts!

Whether you’re a global beverage brand, a national F&B chain, or a local café, Ripples helps you turn an ordinary drink into an extraordinary opportunity.