Food for Thought: Spartans Predict Upcoming Trends in the Culinary Universe


Body and Soul

What will 2021 cook up this year?

  From big breakfasts to ghost kitchens, 2021 is radicalizing the way people are eating and receiving their food. Many individuals are finding themselves with extra time on their hands, and are using food as a vessel to express themselves.

  Out of the 10 students interviewed, 90% have found themselves experimenting with food over the past year, whether it be cooking, baking, or becoming more conscious of the food they put into their bodies. Throughout the surveys, eight upcoming trends have been pinpointed by the students.


  • Ghost Kitchens

  One of the most notable trends expected to make a place for itself this year is the utilization of ghost kitchens by commercial businesses. Ghost kitchens provide an alternative, semi-permanent, professional kitchen to individuals not seeking a traditional storefront or restaurant. Many businesses that operate from ghost kitchens run their commerce through online delivery services, such as GrubHub or UberEats. 

  “Ghost kitchens give food businesses a turnkey solution to quickly establish a foothold in a new market and generate revenue without opening their own brick-and-mortar storefront,” explicates Camilla Opperman, Co-Founder and CEO of a New York City ghost kitchen, Nimbus, “I run a premium and flexible commercial kitchen called Nimbus. We have one location in New York City, where we have over 30 food businesses preparing food from.”  


  • Mindful Eating

  With mental health awareness increasing by the day, people are becoming more conscious of what they consume. Foods that are healthy to the mind and body are anticipated to be on the rise this year. However, with a rise in body positivity, toxic “trendy” diets are on the outs. Harmful diets have been replaced with increased consumption of superfoods, as well as incorporating dietary supplements into meals, vital to health-conscious eating. Out of the students surveyed, 80% claim they “try their best” when it comes to healthy eating.

  Environmentally friendly packaging, ethical sourcing, and transparency in food production are also becoming paramount to consumers. With increased access to the internet, it is easier for the average individual to research the brands of food they purchase. 80% of students say they are interested in where their food comes from, and if it is ethically produced. 

  “I think a lot of people are becoming more aware of what they eat,” shares Spartan Samantha Roberts, “More and more plant-based and cruelty-free brands are popping up, and I think that’s great. I do wish that companies were more trustworthy, though, because so many of them make misleading claims.”


  • Social Media Driven Trends

  Social media provides a platform for people from all backgrounds to share their thoughts, as well as their recipes. Last year, TikTok users saw trends like whipped coffee, cloud bread, and feta pasta take over their feeds. Social media makes it easy for food trends to spread like wildfire, but some can be misleading. 

  “Social media gets people to try a lot of new food and gets people to experiment more,” muses sophomore Nancy Garcia-Guzman, “A trend I tried was the TikTok [folded] quesadilla. Honestly, it wasn’t as good as I expected it to be.” What trends will social media cook up this year?


  • Celebrating Cuisines of other Cultures

  Food is a vessel to bring people together. By putting effort into understanding, appreciating and exploring different cuisines, one can become more educated and diverse in their world knowledge. In 2021, it is expected to see a lot of fusion restaurants open their doors, whether it be Mexican-Korean fusion, Californian-French fusion, or even Tex-Mex.

  “It’s important to learn about other cultures and expand your knowledge, and you can do that through food,” notes sophomore Sarah Jaber, when interviewed about the importance of expanding your culinary–and worldly– horizons.


  • Plant-Based Alternatives

  When surveyed, only 5 out of 10 students said they would be willing to incorporate plant-based alternatives into their lifestyles. However, with an increased awareness of nutrition and environmental effects, “flexitarianism” and Meatless Mondays are predicted to make a comeback this year. With more and more food production companies and restaurants beginning to offer vegetarian and vegan products, hopefully, plant-based alternatives will become the norm in 2021.


  • Pickup, Delivery, and Digital Grocery Services

  Hungry Americans find themselves scrolling through meal delivery services in the past year more than ever, prompting the surfacing of non-traditional dining solutions. Ghost kitchens, personal chefs, and commission businesses are now at an advantage, with 50% of students admitting to not feeling comfortable dining in at a sit-down restaurant. Perhaps 2020 changed meal service for the better, with creative restaurant alternatives surfacing every day, proving that dining does not have to look like a traditional, sit-down restaurant.

  Grocery stores are continuing to offer online shopping services, with the safety of high-risk folks in mind. These services can occasionally be more pricey but are a consistent favorite among groups of people who don’t feel comfortable shopping in a traditional grocery store.

  Click here to read more about the surge in food delivery services and other similar trends. 


  • Big Breakfasts

  6 out of 10 students agree that their breakfast schedules have improved during the past year. Factors like having more time to start their day, and more time to focus on their personal well-being are influencing the trend of larger and better-prepared breakfasts. Families also find themselves eating breakfast together in the mornings more than they did in 2019. Stacks of whole-grain pancakes and fruit will dominate America’s breakfast tables in 2021.


  • Individual Portions

  The humble cupcake makes itself known once again in 2021, with individual portions, or “mini” foods at the forefront of 2021 celebrations and gatherings. Mason jar meals and desserts could also be a favorite this year, along with four inch pies, mini frittatas, and personal pizzas.

  “I think cupcakes are a really delicious, classic dessert that can still be enjoyed during COVID, because of the individual servings,” remarks freshman Madison Gould, “Some other desserts are not able to be made into individual servings as easily as cupcakes are, so they could easily gain popularity during 2021.”