It’s interesting how many of us marked 2020 milestones in terms of the food that we made and ate. With the lack of social events to anchor our days, we turned to food as alternative diaries of sorts: early quarantine days meant dalgona coffee and sushi bake; as we gained more confidence in our cooking and baking skills, we turned to making sourdough and fancy focaccia to cover the gaps in our souls that only bread can fill. Remember when we worried that everything might just be cake?
Related: 9 umami comfort foods of the quarantine
While nobody saw what 2020 had in store for us, one thing’s for sure — food will always be a source of comfort, no matter what happens. It’s safe to say that we are all still cautious of what’s about to come, but cooking and eating food is one of the most creative ways to keep us occupied while we continue to stay indoors. And with more home-based cooks finding confidence in the kitchen, it’s easy to flex your culinary skills using store-bought ingredients. Institutions, such as the San Miguel Foods Culinary Center foresee that we will be seeing a number of trends in the food community, ones that range from the use of oft-ignored meats, the rise of ready-to-eat, and even ingredients that will be in the forefront.
Here are five food trends to watch out for in 2021.
The rise of plant-based dishes
Many of us have sought out healthier ways to eat last year. In 2021, San Miguel Foods Culinary Center foresees that more folks will be eating more plant-based food. While most people will consume meat products, many of them will likely be “flexitarian,” meaning they will significantly limit their meat consumption throughout the week. Actively eating more fruits, vegetables, and meatless protein is said to aid our health and help relieve stress. Vegetarian brands like Veega, which offers meatless versions of giniling, longganisa, and even chicken nuggets can be a great way to get creative with homemade dishes.
Upcycling to reduce waste
Food security in the world all over is a glaring issue all over the world, especially in the Philippines. The pandemic highlighted the importance of using every resource we have available, and so upcycling will become a more widespread practice in many households. Using items that would otherwise be food waste allows us to use resources wisely and also explore what other dishes we could actually make with these ingredients. San Miguel Foods Culinary Center was able to make minced meat empanada using Magnolia Chicken Station Innards and mushrooms as an extender.
Ready to cook, ready to eat
There’s always been a misconception that anything ready-to-eat is neither healthy or flavorful. With the rise of home deliveries and online food entrepreneurs last year, it’s clear that ready to cook and eat has evolved — and will continue to do so this year. While the outside dining experience has become more impersonal (acrylic barriers, social distancing, and contactless transactions), express food can still feel warm and inviting. San Miguel Foods Culinary Center made a piri piri style chicken with sauteed mushrooms and spinach pasta. Though made fresh, it could easily be frozen and simply boiled/microwaved once ready to eat — a restaurant-quality meal right at home.
The whole world in your kitchen
According to the San Miguel Foods Culinary Center, global food trends usually arrive in Philippine shores about two years later. But the pandemic has accelerated our adaptability to new drinks and dishes, and this year hints at an even wider Filipino palate. Global flavors will be present in more homemade dishes, such as Asian and African spices like garam masala, dukkah, za’atar, and sumac. To illustrate how well it works into our everyday dishes, the Culinary Center made bread flavored with these spices — their take on sugar beet milk bread and turmeric bread with a garam masala spread is subtly flavorful and aromatic.
Indulgent and functional
Social media has made us conscious of bringing our eating experience to everyone in our communities, no matter how far. That’s why food doesn’t just have to taste good, it has to look good too. But with more people choosing healthier food and drinks, indulging ourselves has to serve a specific function too. This year will see a rise in more adaptogenic food and drinks, or dishes that have healthy benefits. San Miguel Foods Culinary Center crafted mocha oat clusters, a high-fiber snack that uses aquafaba (chickpea water, another upcycling wonder!) and San Mig 3-in-1 Coffee Sugar-free. Imagine putting some of these healthy munchies in one of those ceramic bowls we’ve been buying on Instagram and taking a nice photo of it. Free serotonin.