It’s safe to say we were all ready to bid farewell to 2020, but the ripple effect of the pandemic was profound, and we will continue to ride those waves into the New Year. Nothing was left untouched by COVID-19 shutdowns, even our food habits were swayed.
Here are some trends that will continue in 2021.
Easy & Affordable Options
We could all agree that having more time and money would be a huge help. Work-life balance has been disrupted by home offices and virtual schooling. Finding time to prepare a meal is difficult, and now that growing kids are home 24/7, snack foods are our saving grace!
Drinkable yogurts, cottage cheese cups with fun toppings, and conveniently packaged cheese snacks are rising in popularity. Dairy snacks are affordable, convenient, and offer a variety of essential nutrients like protein and calcium, helping active children build strong bones and muscles.
Prioritizing Health & Wellness
It’s no surprise that Americans had health at the front of their minds in 2020, with specific interest in what foods help enhance immunity. Functional foods, or foods with benefits beyond basic nutrition, will continue to gain traction with consumers.
Fermented foods are an excellent example, as research shows they may help enhance immunity, reduce heart disease risk, and aid digestion. Fermented dairy foods, like yogurt and kefir, are available in more indulgent flavors than ever before, making delicious and nutritious choices easier for everyone.
Sustainability & Ethics
Food production only accounts for 10% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, but Americans’ concern for climate change will continue to be reflected in their food choices. Plant-based diets are increasing in popularity but, surprisingly, consumption of fresh vegetables has not increased proportionately.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage consumers to focus on variety across all food groups to meet nutrient needs. Choosing a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables can prevent chronic disease, and research shows that including dairy foods in a plant-based diet helps close nutrient gaps. Pairing fruits and vegetables with milk, cheese, or yogurt, can provide all four nutrients most Americans are lacking – fiber, calcium, vitamin D, and potassium.
Who knows what will come our way in 2021, but reflecting on the past is a great way to gain insight into the future! Visit thedairyalliance.com for more information about dairy nutrition and farming practices.
A collection of stories related to my work as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with The Dairy Alliance.
Views are my own.