spreadable sauces on bread with wooden sandwich board

Spreadable Food: What's Ahead in 2021?

From peanut butter to cheese, spreadable food has been providing families with a convenient option for delicious nutrition long before the COVID lockdown. Here we explore some of the exciting spreadable food trends for 2021.

2021 Spreadable Food Trends

There’s no doubt that one of last year’s top food trends was convenience. With more people working from home and kids out of school due to the COVID lockdown, low-prep, ready-to-eat foods became a must for households across the country. One favorite has been spreadable food, most often to top toast or make a quick sandwich. 

The convenience of spreadable food, along with its ability to address emerging trends, means a good year ahead for this category. Check out 2021’s spreadable food trends:

1. Premium Cheese Spreads

With consumers’ favorite restaurants closed due to COVID, consumers are interested in more than just food that's convenient—they’re also looking for taste adventure. Premium cheese spreads are a perfect fit. In a survey of US dairy & dairy alternative consumers, tomato basil, barbeque, avocado & cucumber top the list of flavors tried and liked. Rosemary, caramelized onion and saffron top the list of flavors consumers haven’t tried but would be interested in.1
New premium cheese spread options range from regional specialties to flavorful, upscale ingredients like ghost pepper, truffles, and craft beer. Gourmet spreadable cheeses are also key to meeting the growing trend in at-home entertaining.

2. Coconut Oil Spread

The popularity of the keto diet put coconut oil in the spotlight due to its naturally high MCT content. Now, keto dieters can easily find coconut oil spread in the grocery store as major brands have tapped into this opportunity. Expect the keto diet to maintain popularity in 2021, as 57% of surveyed consumers indicate that they are dieting/will diet in the new year.2 Based on the uptick in online recipes, flavored coconut oil spreads may be launching next.

cocnut oil spread with bread

3. Guacamole

Guacamole is another spreadable food to watch in the new year. Despite last year’s demand fluctuations, sales were up for Chipotle, a fast food restaurant that features guacamole across its menu. This past year also saw spreadable food company Good Foods promoting its guacamole as a holiday spread (with new packaging and online recipe ideas) to show consumers how it can work for all occasions. In addition, recent research linking the regular consumption of avocados with improved gut microbiome diversity may give guacamole a boost in the new year.3

4. Peanut Butter Alternatives

Food trends in high protein products (especially plant proteins), allergen-free options, and new foods are all supporting the continued expansion of peanut butter alternatives. For nuts, we’re seeing a shift from almond and cashew butters to pistachio and walnut butters. Seed-based options now include watermelon seed butter, in addition to the sunflower seed butter so popular in schools. Be on the lookout for legume-based versions, as well, such as chickpea butter that looks, tastes, and spreads like peanut butter.
 

spreadable sauces on spoons

5. Plant-Based Cheeses

Another spreadable food trend is the growing variety of spreadable plant-based cheeses. According to product launch data gathered by Mintel, 44% of North American vegan cheese launches in the last year were spreadable cheese, the next highest was shredded at only 16%.4 

These range from cheddar-style spreads to plant-based cream cheeses and are made from cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, fava beans, and more. Some products use cultures and undergo a traditional fermentation process to taste more like cheese. Flavor innovation is particularly high for plant-based cream cheeses, which are available in options such as garlic chive, smoked, strawberry, and cinnamon.

Spreadable Foods Offer Convenience, Taste, and Healthy Nutrition

The future looks bright for the spreadable food category. Not only are consumers unlikely to give up the convenience these products offer any time soon, but innovations in the category also promise to keep consumers engaged. 

Here at Glanbia Nutritionals, we offer ingredients that can help you address the food trends of today. Contact us to learn about our wide variety of cheeses, plant protein ingredients, flavors and flavor maskers, and more!

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References

1. Mintel, A year of innovation in cheese – 2020, November 2020.
2. GN Proprietary Research, December 2020.
3. Thompson, et al., Avocado Consumption Alters Gastrointestinal Bacteria Abundance and Microbial Metabolite Concentrations among Adults with Overweight or Obesity: A Randomized Controlled Trial, The Journal of Nutrition, August 2020.
4. Mintel, A year of innovation in cheese – 2020, November 2020.

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