Festive food trends

Festive food trends

With Retail Week forecasting Christmas spending patterns to be more reflective of 2019, consumers will be looking to make the season extra special, with food and drink playing a big part in that. In this blog we look at the festive food trends for 2021.

Whether it’s chocolate coins, tree decorations or the age-old debate over the size of the selection box tin, confectionery comes into its own at Christmas and brings with it a flurry of new treats and trends. We are all familiar with Terry’s infamous Chocolate Orange, but throughout 2021 we have seen an increase in chocolate-orange products, with Christmas confectionery being no exception. Nestlé have introduced Quality Street Intrigue Orange Truffles, whilst Cadbury have launched their Dairy Milk Winter Orange bars, complete with orange nugget inclusions. And the flavoured chocolate does not stop there. Mint chocolate is not a new combination with Aero first launching in 1935 as a peppermint flavoured chocolate bar and After Eight mints being a firm favourite at the dinner table since 1962. Now, perhaps with a nod to past comforts, mint chocolate is seeing an influx of new product releases ahead of the festive season. The Maltesers Reindeer is back for 2021 with a peppermint twist, Cadbury have launched their chocolate buttons in a mint chocolate variation and Nestlé’s After Eight have a new mojito and mint flavour combination.

Orange and mint flavours continue from confectionery into cakes and desserts with Costa featuring a Terry’s Chocolate Orange Brownie as well as a Rocky Minty Aero Road on their festive menu. Chocolate-orange flavours can be found in tortes, tarts, cakes, sponges and biscuits with the trend found across a multitude of decadent desserts, and Aldi are launching a Before Nine Mint Bar combining chocolate mousse with dark chocolate mint flavours to create a dinner mint inspired dessert.

Over 2021 we saw an emerging trend for home comforts, the familiar and a return to traditional cooking. This trend has continued through to festive foods with brands putting their own twists on nostalgic flavours as well as featuring them in their traditional form. Inspired by the black forest gateaux, variations on the classic include mince pies, black forest Christmas pudding and black forest gateaux shortbreads to name a few. With traditional sweet treats still on the menu, there is an increasing trend for a mix-and-match of products and flavours, with orange, mint, black forest and gingerbread featuring highly. McVitie’s have launched mince pie milk chocolate digestives and Bidfood feature a gingerbread brownie – their take on the classic gingerbread biscuit.

Throughout 2021 we have seen an increased awareness of the impact of our food choices on the sustainability of our planet, with many choosing to embrace the vegan diet. This year more than ever, the array of vegan and vegetarian options available has stretched far beyond the simple (yet classic) nut roast. The beef wellington is another traditional dish that is being reintroduced with new variations including vegan beef and mushroom, brie and cranberry. Vegan chocolate and dessert options are plentiful and there is a wide array of Christmas sandwiches suitable for the vegan diet.

As decorations are put up and presents are given there is inevitably a lot of wastage that occurs over the festive period, with wrapping paper and crackers amongst those disposable items. This year, Bidfood have removed all single use plastic from their cracker range and are improving recyclability by replacing glittered papers with high shine and embossing. Items inside the crackers include wooden tree decorations or novelty items that are not made from single use plastic in a move to reduce waste.

November and December also see a great selection of British grown fruit and vegetables coming into season. The comfort cooking trend continues with apples, quince and rhubarb making perfect fillings for crumbles or pies. Festive favourites including brussels sprouts, cabbage, chestnuts, parsnips and carrots are all available from British farming ready for meals with family and friends.

As December approaches we can look forward to the coming festivities and the opportunity to enjoy the wide array of festive and seasonal produce on offer. A time for over-indulgence, the selection boxes can be opened and the new debate of orange or mint chocolate can commence!

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