Los Alamitos, CA – (December 2020) – While past food predictions may have highlighted adventurous eating and culinary feats, this year’s pandemic has firmly put the focus back on classic comfort … with a twist. The tastemakers at Frieda’s Specialty Produce, known for spotting food trends with longevity, have some interesting predictions up their sleeves to help retailers make room for an exciting 2021.
“The pandemic has shifted the focus from macro trends such as travel, celebrity chefs and molecular gastronomy, to the realities of everyday living. Quarantining, social distancing, and continued sheltering in-place means that 2021 will be primarily influenced by what’s directly around us, with an emphasis on health, wellness and that feel-good factor we so desperately need,” says Cindy Sherman, director of marketing, insights & innovation at Frieda’s Specialty Produce.
So, what does this mean for shoppers? Here’s what you can expect in 2021:
Whether it’s kombucha or sparkling water with outrageous flavor combinations, effervescence is exploding! These fizzy tonics combine the benefits of prebiotics and probiotics, plant fiber, and functional herbs and botanicals to deliver flavor and fitness. We love mixing aperol with muddled rambutan and a splash of grapefruit juice for a fun, fruity spritz!
Down Home Comfort
Cooking fatigue is real. Bread has been baked, spirits have been distilled and soufflés have risen. Help shoppers hang on a little longer by inspiring them to elevate their at-home game. Incorporate Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes into sweet treats like babka or homemade ice cream.
Cereal for dinner and mac & cheese for breakfast? After a year of extremes, the focus is on what’s best for YOU! Bored with the same old Zoom routine? Play a rousing game of spice roulette with shishito peppers, or spice up your charcuterie boards with offbeat options like dragon fruit and rambutan. It’s time to bend the rules.
Hold the Bread…
…and the meat, but not the flavor! Shoppers are being spoiled for choice with alternatives that pair better-for-you ingredients with classic comfort. Hearts of palm pasta, cricket-flour cookies, and so much more. Going paleo? No problem! Try Stokes Purple® sweet potato crostinis, or crispy jicama taco shells filled with meaty—but meatless—pulled jackfruit!
After a gloomy year, it’s time for bold graphics, pigmented palettes and foods in saturated hues. Paint your plate with beet-dyed noodles, rosy watermelon radish with pesto hummus, or a sprinkle of vibrant blue spirulina powder. Bright and oh-so-satisfying!
With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, you’re probably wondering what the holidays will look like this year—so are we! Celebrating the holidays may look quite a bit different, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be just as special—in fact, there has never been a better time to throw out the old (traditions) and ring in the new! Read on to find bold, stress-free, and responsible ways to add your own unique spin to the holidays.
See You on the Other Side (of the Screen)
If there’s one thing we’ve embraced this year, it’s simplicity. While nothing compares to seeing your friends’ smiling faces in person, a virtual Thanksgiving may just be the next best thing. Not only do you get to invite as many people you want, but it’s also the perfect way to catch up with people who you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to see over the holidays … minus all the stress!
Invite your friends, pick a date, choose your favorite virtual platform, set up an online doc with a meal plan and grocery list for everyone to see, and then on the chosen day, prep and cook together, if you have the time, or set a time for everyone to log in and enjoy together (virtually, of course). A great way to get ahead of menu planning is by researching what’s local and seasonal and take it from there. This year, the rules just don’t count.
We recommend shaking up the classics and giving them a vibrant upgrade, like this Hearty Stokes Purple® sweet potato and cipolline onion breadless stuffing, or a Creamy Stokes Purple® sweet potato soup which not only keeps the menu light and easy, but is also bright and festive!
And what are the holidays without a little liquid celebration? Try a citrusy Kumquat Ginger Smash or the heady Passion Fruit Mojito, and the fortifying Rainbow Carrot, Turmeric, Ginger, and Blood Orange Juice—delicious with or without alcohol!
(Socially Distanced) Sugar Rush
If a full menu sounds like too much, why not keep it simple and skip straight to dessert? Host your very own virtual bake off, and while there may not be any Great British Bake Off grand-prize winner, where there’s pie, everyone’s a winner. We highly recommend the no-sweat, easy-peasy Frieda’s Stokes Purple® sweet potato pie with fluffy maple whipped cream for a fun, modern twist on a classic Thanksgiving favorite.
Not a pie person? Try these Stokes Purple® sweet potato dark chocolate coconut cups, which are a great way to exercise portion control and restraint (even though you may not want to!). Plus, they pack a nutritional punch with Vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants, which is something we all could use right about now. Not convinced? Read all about the nutritional punch these purple sweet potatoes pack here.
The Great Friendsgiving Drop-Off
Still want a big meal without all the leftovers and hard work? A door drop-off is just what you need. Divide up the menu and have all your friends cook one (or several) of their favorite dishes, divide up the portions, and drop them off at each other’s door—the perfect way to get your fill of sweet, savory, and of course easy!
Looking for inspiration? Try these Hasselback Stokes purple® sweet potato with ginger turmeric glaze, easy to make and transport! Pro tip: Make a double batch of the glaze and save the leftover for spreading on toast or adding zippy flavor to roasted vegetables. If you’re looking for something a little more comforting, try making a batch of these Stokes Purple® sweet potato biscuits with maple butter glaze, a deliciously cozy and easily transportable dish to drop off to friends and family. They’re perfect to pair with your Thanksgiving spread or enjoy in the morning before the big feast begins.
Would it even be 2020 if we didn’t mention the year’s biggest vegetarian food trend … the cauliflower? This multicolored cruciferous veggie is not only delicious, but also extremely versatile and easy to cook, especially our Whole roasted colored cauliflower with salsa verde or the incredibly breathtaking (tasting?) Whole roasted purple cauliflower with a romesco sauce…*chefs kiss*
Pro tip: If you decide to make the turkey, make sure you take into account food allergies and restrictions.
Charcuterie Board Banksy
Kick your virtual happy hour up a notch and add an element of creativity with a fun charcuterie board contest. A charcuterie board is typically filled with cured meats, cheeses, veggies, dried fruit, nuts, and crackers, but since we’ve done away with the rules, add whatever you want!
Start by defining a theme—rainbows, desserts or good old Thanksgiving foods are a few easy options- appoint a judge (preferably one who can’t be bought with yummy treats) and then get ready to get competitive! If you’ve got your eye on the prize, then amp up the drama with fresh dragon fruit, kiwi berries, finger limes, kumquats, rambutan and watermelon radishes to not only set your board apart, but also add bright and festive pops of color.
So Close, But Just Far Enough
If nothing can replace the feeling of actually being together, host a small and socially distanced gathering in your backyard with a potluck style spread. Set up an outdoor projector, watch some movies and have a small fire going, and let your guests graze on hummus and crudités, assorted skewers, Stokes Purple® sweet potato crostini with goat cheese, slices of our Winter Citrus Tart that hits all the right notes of sweet and tart, and cozy up with a mug of Golden Milk Turmeric Chai, or a nourishing Ginger and Turmeric Sipping Broth that feels like a hug in a mug.
Sure, this might not feel like your typical Friendsgiving dinner, sharing drinks and dishes—and the occasional drama—but it’s still worth celebrating. The celebrations may require putting in a little more effort than years past, but don’t let that stop you from reaching out—whether that’s 6 feet or 600 miles apart.
Wishing you all a safe, yummy, and inspiring Holiday season!