Food trends in 2021: from bee pollen to lab-grown meat

Food trends are always an interesting topic of discussion every January. Much like fashion, TV, movies and music, everyone wants to know what’s going to be in vogue for the coming year. We all want to be ahead of the game – no matter what game it is we play. We all want that inside information to stroke our ego with our friends (be they real or social media). 

In 2018, fermented foods like kimchi, miso and kefir were all the craze, as was timut pepper, matcha and sourdough bread. 2019 saw the rise of tofu, bone broth, pickled vegetables, and the popularity of nootropics, like turmeric and ginseng. 

In 2020, thanks to COVID lockdowns, we all spent much more time in our kitchens. Banana bread recipes went viral; some of us developed a penchant for home brewing beers, ales and wines; and plant-based meat substitutes, such as the impossible burger, became a sensation.

So what foods will you be eating over the following twelve months? 



The ultimate guide to food trends in 2021?



2020 was supposed to be the year of seaweed – then COVID happened. Remember when all your pretentious friends and colleagues started fawning over Kale a few years ago? Well seaweed will be the 2021 equivalent. The only real difference between the two is that seaweed is even better for you than kale – and far more versatile. 

Seaweed has been a popular food in Japan for centuries, with dried nori being used for sushi and onigiri, and kombu playing an essential part in many Japanese stocks and broths. In Ireland, as well, seaweed has long been part of our diet, as a core element of the traditional Irish dessert, carrageen

Seaweed is the ultimate superfood; it contains a rich supply of calcium, copper, iodine and iron, as well as protein, fibre, vitamin K and folic acid. The versatile sea vegetable helps with thyroid function, diabetes, gut health, and weight loss. 

Popular types of seaweed to look out for include kombu, nori, wakame, dulce, hijiki, Irish Moss, and my own personal favourite, mermaid’s pube’s – scientifically known as Wrack Syphon. 




Progressive countries such as the Netherlands and Canada have legalised recreational cannabis use and about half of all American states have followed their lead. One of the premier reasons for this legalisation is the many health benefits harnessed within the plant and the optimum way of obtaining these benefits are by eating the plant and its seeds. 

Hemp is one of the only plants to contain all 20 amino acids and is even rich in omega-3. The plant is so high in protein that it has become the go-to source of plant-based protein powder for weight lifters and vegan bodybuilders. 

Hemp seeds are high in fibre, reduce the risk of heart disease, benefit skin disorders, aid digestion, and reduce period pain. Hemp is a popular ingredient in smoothies, protein bars and puddings




Native to India and Nepal, Moringa has been used for centuries due to its medicinal properties and health benefits. The plant, affectionately known as “drumstick tree,” “miracle tree,” and “tree of life” also has antifungal, antiviral, antidepressant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Moringa is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Eating the plant has numerous health benefits, including:
– protect skin and hair;
– protect the liver;
– strengthen bones;
– treat diabetes, asthma and kidney disorders;
– treat inflammation and stomach issues;
– reduce high blood pressure;
– improve eye health;
– lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Moringa can be enjoyed in smoothies, salads, soups and stir fries.


Bee Pollen

bee pollen

For centuries, beekeepers discarded bee pollen, assuming it was inedible waste.Nothing could be further from the truth. Bee pollen is a mixture of flower pollen, nectar, enzymes, honey, wax, and bee secretions. The small, golden-brown pellets are formed when worker bees try to lick off the flower pollen which gathers on their legs and bodies; the nuggets eventually fall to the bottom of the hive. 

The benefits of this little superfood are too numerous to mention. Bee pollen contains every single nutrient needed to sustain human life, including iron, zinc, manganese, copper, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and anti-oxidants such as vitamin C, folic acid, polyunsaturated fatty acids, enzymes, and carotene. Eating the superfood can increase energy and libido, fight acne, assist depression and more. 

In addition, bee pollen benefits your body with a number of vital trace elements that it can’t manufacture, but needs in order to stay healthy. Those trace elements include  – all minerals that have proven health benefits.

There are many ways to enjoy the superfood (which incidentally tastes nothing like honey), such as acai bowls, granola, smoothies, or even in tea and coffee.


Goji Berries

goji berries ningxia 1kg 2

The prowess of goji berries has been well known for years, but prepare for the food to shoot to the fore in 2021. The plant is native to East Asia, specifically China and Japan, where the berries’ healing powers have been used for centuries. 

Food trends for 2021 will be all about health and sustainability and these magic little berries are about as healthy as they come. Goji berries contain a plethora of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, including vitamin A, vitamin C, zeaxanthin, and carotenoids

Health benefits include:
– protect against age-related eye diseases,
– protect against colon cancer,
– protect against liver disease,
– boost the immune system,
– fight against anxiety and depression,
– improve sleep quality, 

The powerful fruit is easy to incorporate into your diets, expect to see dried goji berries in cereal, granola, cookies, muffins, breads. Goji berry powders and juice blends are expected to gain prominence as our infatuation continues with juicing, shakes, and smoothies.


Lab-grown Meat


Lab-grown meat, also known as “cultured meat”, might not be the most popular of food trends in 2021, but you’re going to be hearing and seeing a lot more of it in the coming months – and beyond. It is called “cultured meat” because it is cultured from the stem cells of animals

Overconsumption of meat has the greatest negative impact on environmental and human health. The pressures on the world’s food system will increase exponentially in the coming decades as the worldwide population is set to rise to ten billion people by 2050. Meat overconsumption is detrimental to our environment in every way, harming our land, our waters and our air. Livestock farming generates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all cars, trucks and automobiles combined. 

While lab-grown meat will never replace traditional meat products, it could make a significant dent in the environmental harm done. Proponents of growing meat in the lab say it is the only way to meet such demand without further harming the environment. However, convincing people to eat cultured meat will be no mean feat. 




As food trends in 2021 go, this one is really thinking outside the box – but not as much you might think. Just as lab-grown meat will help to offset the environmental pestelance of traditional livestock farming, so too could the mass-scale consumption of insects. 

Already, two billion people around the world regularly eat insects; however, consumers in the West have never accepted them as a food source. Insects are high in protein and infinitely more sustainable to produce than traditional meats.

Cricket snacks are now available in Britain, mealworm burgers in Germany and insect protein powder in Canada. Until 2018 insects were not covered by any European Union regulation; however, by 2019, nine million people in the EU ate insect products. Although this is just 2% of the population, it is a great start. 


Will you be sampling insects, lab-grown meat or any of the other trends in 2021? Let us know in the comments. 

Mark Comerford
Mark Comerford

Mark is a chef and blogger putting a new spin on food journalism.
Follow his blog - No Eggs, No Milk, No Problem


  1. Well Mark , great article brought me back to some of our collage discussions, might be trying the ???? pollen and might leave the meat for the time being ????

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