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2021 Food Trend Predictions: At-Home Coffee, Personalized Tasting Menus, and Heritage Cooking

Plus, Japan has a cafe for pessimists, and more news to start your day

An overhead image of a round loaf of crusty sourdough bread, held by two hands in a tea towel Shutterstock
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food and Travel Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

This year upended the way a lot of us eat; what will 2021 bring?

Predicting food and dining trends is always a bit of a crapshoot (though I remain proud of accurately predicting cabbage), but truly, who last December could have forecasted our year of restaurants closing, food bank lines stretching for miles, and yeast shortages? We can’t predict the future, but that hasn’t stopped some outlets from trying.

Food & Wine asked a bunch of chefs what they think we’ll be cooking and eating next year, and the trends seem to be inspired by the big news stories of 2020 — the pandemic, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Chefs name “Black foodways” and “heritage cooking” as places of growth, as well as more virtual cooking classes, at-home dining experiences, and comfort food. When people do go out, however, they’ll want something celebratory, and a few chefs say there will be more opportunities for individualized tasting menus for small groups.

TODAY asked a dietician what 2021 will bring, and the trends are again influenced by the ongoing pandemic. There will be fancy coffee products and condiments because more people are working from home and are craving different flavors, more plant-based foods, ethically sourced spices, and “postbiotics,” which “can be found in some of the same foods that contain probiotics.” What biotics will they think of next?!

If we’ve learned anything this year, however, it’s that anything can happen. Here, our hopeful predictions are more along the lines of “eating inside a restaurant, maybe” and “sharing a dessert with someone not in my household and who has had the vaccine.”

And in other news...

  • There’s a cafe in Tokyo that is for grumpy people only, so they can enjoy “reassuringly cozy places of refuge from vaguely defined yet unpleasant things that negative-minded individuals can’t help thinking of.” [SoraNews24]
  • The internet loves to make eggs go viral. This time, it’s the perfectly spherical egg. [MEL]
  • If you dream of Disney’s beef bourguignon (???) here’s the recipe. [Delish]
  • The FDA has approved genetically altering pigs to make food and medicine safer. [STAT]
  • Vegan fast casual chain By Chloe has declared bankruptcy. [RB]
  • Eric Ripert put his name on a coffee blend. [NYTimes]
  • Americans are drinking more, so maybe it’s time for low-proof beer. [InsideHook]
  • West African farmers accuse Hershey of not holding up sustainability efforts. [NBC]
  • 2020 was a year of fried chicken sandwiches. [NRN]
  • If you thought the COVID-19 vaccines and Dippin’ Dots had nothing in common, you’d be wrong. [PopSci]

All AM Intel Coverage [E]