4 Challenger Brand Food Trends Set to Shape 2021

Looking for our most current insights? Read Navigating the Crossroads: Technology, Authenticity, and the Future of Challenger Brands for thought provoking observations and questions for 2024.

How Winning Food Challenger Brands will Meet Consumer Demands this Year

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing the trends that are likely to shape a number of sectors in 2021. Where last week’s edition was all about healthcare (which you can read here), this edition is about food. As always, they’re trends led by another year’s experience building Challenger Brands and working with some of the world’s most exciting startups.

A rise in convenient healthy eating

In our healthcare trend round-up we talked about a rise in telemedicine, a solution to offer expert insight from the comfort of your home. When it comes to food, that focus will continue, with people embracing the idea that fast and healthy can be synonymous. As a result, brands like client Fresh N’ Lean will continue to boom. A delivery service for organic, ready-made meals, Fresh N’ Lean is a Challenger serving people who are in lockdown or working from home with convenience, and acts as an easy, hassle-free way to pursue your commitment to a Keto, Vegan, Paleo, Low Carb or High Protein diet, or simply an introduction to healthier eating.

A focus on transparency at every stage of the chain

Given the heightened awareness of what we’re putting into our bodies, and the impact that’s having on the planet, transparency will be a key consideration for consumers through 2021. When it comes to food, they’ll want to know where their food has come from, and how it ended up on their table. When it comes to packaging, they’ll want to know how sustainable their packaging is and, with delivery services rising, what they can reuse and recycle. A number of our clients have pivoted to respond to this. Fresh N’ Lean recently revamped their packaging to one that’s more eco-friendly. Mama Earth Organics drops off their deliveries in reusable bins that they pick up each week, and Village Juicery sanitizes and reuses all its glass bottles, composts all their waste, and uses it to help the farmers that supply them as part of a circular, zero-waste process.

An exploration of experimental eating

With people confined to their homes, unable to travel, and in close proximity to the fridge, there’s a growing interest in discovery and experimentation from home. At the start of lockdown, Airbnb’s virtual experiences boomed, with many focusing on food. Local hosts offered cookery classes from Lisbon, Florence, and New Mexico to name a few, with guests even being able to roll pasta with an Italian grandma. This desire to bring experimental eating into the home (particularly via the experiences and stories of local experts) will continue in 2021, with many looking to brands like Fruitstand to make it a reality. Working to make the local farmer’s market more accessible, and to connect consumers with the real people growing their produce, FruitStand offers boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables, boxed experiences and complementary recipes for those with adventurous palettes.

A greater fight against food waste

2021 will see us up the ante in our fight against food waste. Particularly with so many of us working from home and spending more time in the kitchen, we’ll look for ways we can cook with leftovers, or educate ourselves on the environmental and financial implications of waste. Grocery subscription service Imperfect Foods is one organization championing this. Spurred by the realization that $218bn in food is thrown out each year and 40% of food in the US goes uneaten, it delivers imperfect yet still great produce to your door. And, even outside of the kitchen, apps like Feedback, which connect you to local restaurants about to throw meals away, will grow in popularity. Plus, for every meal purchased, Feedback donates another to someone in need.

This is the second in a series of 5&Vine posts dedicated to looking at the trends that will shape 2021. Be sure to check out our round-up of trends that will change healthcare in the year to come here.


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