Food marketing is continually evolving, and in 2021, there are a lot of restaurant food trends that we're predicting. While some of these trends may come and go depending on the market, others are likely to remain through the year.

If you're short on food marketing ideas, these marketing trends may be beneficial for you.

restaurant food trends

1. Promote Eco-friendly Steps

Consumers are growing increasingly concerned about their carbon footprints. In fact, nearly two-thirds of people want to cut back on their carbon usage. One way people are doing this is with their money.

Restaurants that are promoting how they're lowering their carbon footprint are seeing an increase in customers.

A few options are to:

  • Go eco-friendly
  • Post calculations next to nutritional information

For example, you can state that this meal reduces the carbon footprint by 20% compared to other restaurants. People want to make a difference, and you're helping them do so with your own business practices.

2. Transparency

Healthy food marketing is a good opportunity to gain trust and credibility from your customers. Transparency is the name of the game in 2021. In an effort to meet consumer demand, you should be listing:

  • All ingredients
  • Responsible ingredient sourcing information
  • Where the food comes from

Nearly 60% of people are interested in where their food is coming from. If you source from local suppliers, be sure to mention this information. Organic food marketing is huge this year, and it's a trend that isn't going away anytime soon.

P.S. If your restaurant doesn't add additives, be sure to mention this information.

food marketing strategies

3. Consumer On-Demand

Restaurants know that during the pandemic, consumers want to have the restaurant experience in the comfort of their own homes. Some food doesn't transport well. Fettuccine Alfredo, for example, often leaves behind moisture in the packaging, and the ingredients start to separate.

One way to avoid this, and it's something many restaurants are offering, is ready-to-cook options.

A lot of restaurants are offering to-go options that have:

  • All ingredients included
  • Cooking instructions

The consumer purchases the to-go option, and when it arrives at their house, they pop it in the oven or put it on the stove. It's a great way to offer the freshest possible dishes and cater to the consumer.

4. Immune Health Options

After 2020, people are gravitating towards food marketing ideas that involve immune-boosting properties. People want to be able to fight off the flu, viruses, and other health issues. One way to do this is to boost their immune system with the help of food rather than supplements.

Restaurants that include food labels are adding nutritional information that includes:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Other vitamins and minerals

You'll see a lot of restaurants starting to promote "immune-boosting" salads and other food items. If you're looking to add new dishes to your menu, consider promoting these items in their very own section.

Immune health is one of the most important aspects of today's consumer, and as more people flood restaurants in the latter quarters of the year, we'll see more focus shift to these health-boosting foods.

food marketing ideas

5. Food Mashups and "Something New"

How many times have you sat down at your favorite restaurant and scoured the menu for something new? Sure, you may have a favorite dish and primarily order the same restaurant food items, but research is showing that consumers want something different.

Food mashups are growing more important, as are new, unique foods.

There are cereals that taste like everyone's favorite drink - coffee. Ice cream pizzas are being offered for desserts. When creating new, unique menu items, try adding in items that offer new:

  • Aromas
  • Tastes
  • Textures

Team up with your chef to add in new food items that can attract new customers. It's a fun way to keep customers coming in to try something new. You can also offer these items as specials, or only offer them for a week or two to see how consumers react to them.

6. Plant-based Foods

A lot of people are interested in trying plant-based foods. Vegetarians, vegans, and the like are moving towards plant-based foods. You can offer a plant-based or bean burger that tastes almost like its ground beef counterpart.

It's expected that this market will continue to grow at a rate of 6% annually, as more people are searching for meat alternatives.

There are also plant-based dairy products that a lot of restaurant-goers are looking for on menus. Be sure to promote these items and add all of the appropriate labelings to your menus to make them stand out from the rest of your food options.

Plant-based is moving more and more towards the mainstream.

Offering these items now while others are still not on-board with the trend will help restaurants capture a larger share of the market early on.

restaurant food ideas

7. Global Flavors

Food marketing of global flavors is on the rise now. People have been stuck in their homes and unable to travel, and the trend has led to consumers wanting to experience the world in new ways.

Food is one way to taste the flavors of other countries right in a person's backyard.

A lot of restaurant food with exotic ingredients needs to be promoted as "taste true Italian, French, German, etc." cuisine. These global flavors will grab the attention of consumers and also tell a story.

It's expected that more consumers in the United States will be on the lookout for spicy foods.

Add global flavors to your menu or make it well-known that some of your menu items are traditional recipes from around the world.

Food marketing is going to focus more on the consumer in 2021 than in the past. People are looking for something different, and adding in sustainable packaging, local produce, and unique flavors is a good way to begin marketing.

And when you add in immune-boosting foods or plant-based options, you'll be hopping on a trend that is likely here to stay for years to come.